Cuba

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 11.4
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 76%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.3%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 110,860


Population origin

The majority of the Cuban population is native European (about 65 %). More than 10 % of the population of the island is native of Africa, 1 % of China and 22 % is half-caste.



Main Cities Population
La Habana 2 201 610
Santiago de Cuba 423 392
Camagüey 301 574
Holguín 269 618
Santa Clara 210 220
Guantánamo 208 145



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Havana (GMT-5 in winter, GMT-4 in summer).
It is  %T:%M %A  in Santiago de Cuba (GMT-5 ).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: Spanish is both the official and the business language.

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free English-Spanish-English translation of texts and web pages

Systran
Free French-Spanish-French translation of texts and web pages

Dictionarios.com
Free Spanish-Catalan-English-French Dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : 85 % of Cubans were Catholic before the revolution. In 1959,


Political context

The Republic of Cuba (which is also Cuba’s official name) is a socialist-communist state based on Marxist-Leninist theory and controlled completely by its President.
President is both the chief of the state and the head of the government and is elected by the National Assembly for a term of five years. President has the executive powers and is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He controls most aspects of Cuban life through Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). The Council of Ministers is proposed by the President but appointed by the National Assembly. The Ministry of Interior is the principal organ of state security and control.
The legislature is unicameral. It consists of National Assembly of People's Power; its members are approved by a public referendum to serve five-year terms. Nominees to the National Assembly are chosen at local gatherings from multiple candidates before gaining approval from election committees. People of Cuba enjoy very limited political rights.
Judiciary is not independent in Cuba. The Council of State (which is a 31 member body elected by the National Assembly of People’s Power with President as its chairman) serves as a de facto judiciary and controls both the courts and the judicial process as a whole. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1976 (amended in 1992 and 2002), originating from the Spanish and American laws with large elements of Communist legal theory. Cuba has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial language in Cuba is Spanish.
Cuba is not ruled by law.The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights violations.Foreigners cannot expect a fair justice from the local courts. A high degree of corruption exists in the country with corruption in government remaining a serious problem.


Major political parties

Only one party exists in the country i.e. Cuban Communist Party (PCC).


Major political leaders

President: Fidel CASTRO Ruz (served as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 when office was abolished; President since December 1976, latest re-election in March 2003) - PCC
First deputy Prime Minister: Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since December 1976, latest re-election in March 2003) – PCC


Next political election dates

Presidential: Year 2008
National Assembly: Year 2008




Climate

 

 

The pleasant subtropical climate of Cuba is coming from the sweetness of the Northeast winds. The thermometer almost does not change during the year and only two seasons are noticeable. The "summer" is humid and lasts from May to October. The "Winter" is drier and lasts from November to April. The average temperatures are between 22°C (February) and 27°C (July and August). The Eastern part of the island is slightly warmer than the Western. September and October hold shower records and correspond to the cyclone season peak; It's best avoiding travelling there at that period of the year.

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Cuba 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 2,017 2,261 2,150
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Havana: neuralgic centre of the island, Havana is the biggest city of the Carribbean islands. Havana did not suffer very much from the wars and revolutions of the last two centuries, and it is certainly the most beautiful Spanish colonial town on the New Continent. Havana's charm owes a lot to its facades cracked by time and to the humming engine of the " beautiful Americans " from the 50's and the 60's that cross its calles.
Trinidad is now a real museum-city registered in the world patrimony of Unesco, with its baroque churches, its Carrara marble grounds, its paved streets, its decorated ferroneries and red tiled roofs. The hinterland of Trinidad abounds in sites to be discovered and some of the most beautiful beaches of the island extend close by.
Isla of Juventud: second island of Cuba by the surface, " La Isla " is the favourite destination for scuba-diving amateurs. As for the islands surrounding it, they are an exceptional sanctuary of turtles, iguanas and pelicans.



Food


Traditional dishes
The food served in Cuba mainly depends on the daily supplies (unless you have a package that includes meals). Pork, rice, beans, eggs, tomatoes, manioc (yuca) and salad constitute the basic food. The Spanish influence can be tasted in the way those ingredients are prepared. Fresh vegetables and fish are almost not eaten on the island. The most common dishes are the carne asada (roasted meat), the picadillo (chopped beef), the arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). The ajiaco is a meat and vegetables stew flavoured with garlic, whereas the moros y cristianos blends rice black beans. Meats are often served with fufú, boiled green bananas, mashed and salted. The frituras de maíz (corn fritters) are delicious, quite as much as icecreams (helados), unfortunately, those are rare because of the chronic scarcity of milk.


Last modified on December 2006

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