Cuba the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet, it is east of the Yucatán Peninsula, south of both the U. S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is capital; the area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres. The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres, the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants; the territory, now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba; the country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of few Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America, it is a multiethnic country whose people and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Cuba is a sovereign state and a founding member of the United Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African and Pacific Group of States, ALBA and Organization of American States. The country is a middle power in world affairs, it has one of the world's only planned economies, its economy is dominated by the exports of sugar, tobacco and skilled labor. According to the Human Development Index, Cuba has high human development and is ranked the eighth highest in North America, though 67th in the world, it ranks in some metrics of national performance, including health care and education. It is the only country in the world to meet the conditions of sustainable development put forth by the WWF. Historians believe the name Cuba comes from the Taíno language, however "its exact derivation unknown"; the exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as'where fertile land is abundant', or'great place'. Fringe theory writers who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cuba was inhabited by three distinct tribes of indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Taíno, the Guanahatabey and the Ciboney people; the ancestors of the Ciboney migrated from the mainland of South America, with the earliest sites dated to 5,000 BP. The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A. D; when Columbus arrived they were the dominant culture in Cuba, having an estimated population of 150,000. The Taíno were farmers, while the Ciboney were farmers as well as hunter-gatherers. After first landing on an island called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast on 28 October 1492. Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which became the capital.
The native Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. Within a century the indigenous people were wiped out due to multiple factors Eurasian infectious diseases, to which they had no natural resistance, aggravated by harsh conditions of the repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had survived smallpox. On 18 May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto departed from Havana at the head of some 600 followers into a vast expedition through the Southeastern United States, starting at La Florida, in search of gold, treasure and power. On 1 September 1548, Dr. Gonzalo Perez de Angulo was appointed governor of Cuba, he arrived in Santiago, Cuba on 4 November 1549 and declared the liberty of all natives. He became Cuba's first permanent governor to reside in Havana instead of Santiago, he built Havana's first church made of maso
Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces
The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces consist of ground forces, naval forces and air defence forces, other paramilitary bodies including the Territorial Troops Militia, Youth Labor Army, the Defense and Production Brigades, plus the Civil Defense Organization and the National Reserves Institution. The armed forces has long been the most powerful institution in Cuba; the military manages many enterprises in key economic sectors representing about 4% of the Cuban economy. The military has served as Raúl Castro's base. In numerous speeches, Raúl Castro emphasized the military's role as a people's partner. From 1966 until the late 1980s, Soviet Government military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities to number one in Latin America and project power abroad; the first Cuban military mission in Africa was established in Ghana in 1961. Cuba's military forces appeared in Algeria, in 1963, when a military medical brigade came over from Havana to support the regime. Since the 1960s, Cuba sent military forces to African and Arab countries – Syria in 1973, Ethiopia in 1978, the Cuban intervention in Angola from 1975 to 1989, Nicaragua and El Salvador during the 1980s.
The Soviet Union gave both financial aid to the Cubans. The tonnage of Soviet military deliveries to Cuba throughout most of the 1980s exceeded deliveries in any year since the military build-up during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1989 the government instituted a cleanup of the armed forces and the Ministry of Interior, convicting army Major General and Hero of the Republic of Cuba Arnaldo Ochoa, Ministry of Interior Colonel Antonio de la Guardia, Ministry of Interior Brigadier General Patricio de la Guardia on charges of corruption and drug trafficking; this judgment is known in Cuba as "Causa 1". Ochoa and Antonio de la Guardia were executed. Following the executions, the Army was drastically downsized, the Ministry of Interior was moved under the informal control of Revolutionary Armed Forces chief General Raúl Castro, large numbers of army officers were moved into the Ministry of Interior. Cuban military power has been reduced by the loss of Soviet subsidies. Today, the Revolutionary Armed Forces number 39,000 regular troops.
The DIA reported in 1998 that the country's paramilitary organizations, the Territorial Militia Troops, the Youth Labor Army, the Naval Militia had suffered considerable morale and training degradation over the previous seven years but still retained the potential to "make an enemy invasion costly." Cuba adopted a "war of the people" strategy that highlights the defensive nature of its capabilities. On September 14, 2012, a Cuban senior general agreed to further deepen military cooperation with China during a visit to Beijing, he said that Cuba was willing to enhance exchanges with the Chinese military and strengthen bilateral cooperation in personnel training and other areas. In 1984, according to Jane's Military Review, there were three major geographical commands, Western and Eastern. There were a reported 130,000 all ranks, each command was garrisoned by an army comprising a single armoured division, a mechanised division, a corps of three infantry divisions, though the Eastern Command had two corps totalling six divisions.
There was an independent military region, with a single infantry division, which garrisoned the Isle of Youth. A U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment in the first half of 1998 said that the army's armour and artillery units were at low readiness levels due to'severely reduced' training incapable of mounting effective operations above the battalion level, that equipment was in storage and unavailable at short notice; the same report said that Cuban special operations forces continue to train but on a smaller scale than beforehand, that while the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment and the current severe shortage of fuel were affecting operational capabilities, Cuba remained able to offer considerable resistance to any regional power. In 1999 the Revolutionary Army represented 70 percent of Cuba's regular military manpower. According to the IISS, the army's estimated 45,000 troops including 6,000 active and 39,000 members of the Ready Reserves who were completing the forty-five days of annual active-duty service necessary for maintaining their status, as well as conscripts who were fulfilling their military service requirement.
The IISS reported in 1999 that the army's troop formations consisted of four to five armored brigades. In addition, there is a surface-to-air missile brigade; each of the three territorial armies is believed to be assigned at least one armored brigade-usually attached to the army's headquarters-as well as a mechanized infantry brigade. As well, it is known that the Border Brigade in Guantanamo and at least one ground artillery regiment, based in Las Tunas, are under the Eastern Army's command. In 1996, according to Jane's Information Group, the army was organized into three Territorial Military Commands with three Armies, one army for each command. At the time, there were an estimated 38,000 army personnel. Revolutionary Army Command: Airborne brigade consisting of 2 battalions Artillery division (at Havana and its immediate environ
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician, serving as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most senior position in the socialist state, succeeding his brother Fidel Castro in April 2011. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba, the highest decision-making body since 1975. In February 2008, he was appointed the President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers, he stepped down as President on 19 April 2018, but remains the first secretary of the Communist Party, holding ultimate power and authority over state and government. Previous to being appointed acting President of Cuba in July 2006, he served as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces from 1959 to 2008, his ministerial tenure made him the longest serving minister of the armed forces. Because of his predecessor's illness, Castro was designated the President of the Council of State in a temporary transfer of power. Castro was made President by the National Assembly on 24 February 2008, after Fidel Castro, still ailing, announced on 19 February 2008 that he would not stand for President again.
Castro was re-elected President on 24 February 2013. Shortly thereafter, Castro announced that his second term would be his final term, that he would not seek re-election in 2018, he announced on state television on 21 December 2017 that he would step down as Cuban president on 19 April 2018 after his successor is elected by the National Assembly following parliamentary elections. However, he retains his position as First Secretary of the Communist Party, Cuba's ruling party, is head of the constitutional reform commission, continues to have a seat representing Santiago de Cuba's Segundo Frente municipality in the National Assembly. Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz was born in Birán, the son of a Spanish immigrant father, Ángel Castro, a Cuban-born mother of Canarian parentage, Lina Ruz. Raúl is the youngest of three brothers: Fidel and himself, he has four sisters: Angela, Juanita and Agustina. Ángel Castro's first wife, Maria Argota raised five half-siblings of Raúl: Pedro Emilio, Maria Lidia, Manuel and Georgina.
As children, the Castro brothers were expelled from the first school. Like Fidel, Raúl attended the Jesuit School of Colegio Dolores in Santiago and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Havana. Raúl, as an undergraduate, studied social sciences. Whereas Fidel excelled as a student, Raúl turned in mediocre performances. Raúl became a committed socialist and joined the Socialist Youth, an affiliate of the Soviet-oriented Cuban Communist Party, Partido Socialista Popular; the brothers participated in sometimes violent student actions. Raúl Castro's travels and contact with Soviet KGB agent Nikolai Leonov — whom he met in 1953 during a trip to the Soviet-bloc nations and again in 1955 during his exile in Mexico City — facilitated Cuba's close ties with the Soviets after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Leonov would become the USSR's KGB agent in Havana. In 1953, Raúl served as a member of the 26th of July Movement group that attacked the Moncada Barracks. During his exile in Mexico, he participated in the preparations for the expedition of the boat Granma to Cuba.
When the Granma landing failed and the 82 expeditionaries were detected by government troops soon after, Raúl was one of only 12 fighters who managed to reach a safe haven in the Sierra Maestra mountains, forming the core of the nascent rebel army. As Fidel's brother and trusted right-hand man, given his proven leadership abilities during and after the Moncada attack, he was given progressively bigger commands. On 27 February 1958 Raúl was made comandante and assigned the mission to cross the old province of Oriente leading a column of guerrillas to open, to the northeast of that territory, the "Frank País Eastern Front"; as a result of Raúl's "Eastern Front" operations, he was not involved in the pivotal Operation Verano, but Raúl's forces remained active and grew over time. On 26 June 1958, Raúl Castro's rebels kidnapped ten Americans and two Canadians from the property of Moa Bay Mining Company on the north coast of Oriente Province; the next day rebels took hostage 24 US servicemen on leave from the United States naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
This incident brought total kidnapped hostages to 36. US Ambassador Smith and his staff determined the kidnappings had the following objectives: Obtain worldwide publicity, regain M-26-7 prestige lost by general strike call failure, force Batista's Air Force to stop bombing rebel holds, gain public recognition from the US. Two tactical objectives the kidnapping achieved for Castro forces can be discerned from contemporaneous reporting in Time: Batista declaring a ceasefire for negotiations, forcing a reduction in Operation Verano air raids; the hostage-taking caused significant US backlash, including unfavorable public reaction, US consideration to re-establishing military support to Batista and deploying US forces to free the hostages. The hostages were released in small groups, extracting the maximum press attention. After their release, the hostages said they were treated well with some claiming to support the rebel cause. By October 1958, after reinforcement by Fidel, the brothers had about 2,000 fighters and were operating throughout Oriente province.
In December, while Che Guevara and Camilo Cien
Cuban passports are issued to citizens of Cuba to facilitate international travel. They have to be extended every 2 years; the cost of issue of this passport is about US$400 and US$200 for every two years if one person lives in the United States. Until January 14, 2013, the Cuban government required that all Cuban citizens and foreigners such as foreign students that live in Cuba desiring to leave the country would have to obtain an exit permit; the abolition of the controversial requirement led to long lines at passport offices filled with citizens desiring to travel abroad. Now the passport is the only document required to leave the country, apart from a visa from the destination country; the cost of a passport, exit permit, associated paperwork added up to around US$300, the equivalent of 15 months of average state salary. Passports of many countries contain a message, nominally from the official, in charge of passport issuance, addressed to authorities of other countries; the message identifies the bearer as a citizen of the issuing country, requests that he or she be allowed to enter and pass through the other country, requests further that, when necessary, he or she be given help consistent with international norms.
In Cuban passports, the message is in Spanish and English. The message is: in Spanish: La autoridad que expide el presente pasaporte en nombre del Gobierno de la República de Cuba, certifica que el Titular es ciudadano cubano y en tal virtud solicita a las autoridades civiles y militares de los países por donde transite le presten la asistencia y protección necesarias.in French: L'autorité qui émet le présent passeport au nom du Gouvernment de la République de Cuba certifie que son titulaire est citoyen cubain et, en foi de quoi, prie les autorités civiles et militaires des pays où voyage le porteur de bien vouloir lui prêter l'assistance et la protection nécessaire.and in English: The authority issuing the present passport on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Cuba certifies that the bearer is a Cuban citizen and, in virtue of this, requests the civil and military authorities of the countries through which he travels to provide him with whatever protection and assistance he needs.
In addition to colored fibers in all common pages, Cuban passports feature a UV-reaction-based mark of the Cuban flag and the words República de Cuba on the front endpaper. As of 1 January 2017, Cuban citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 60 countries and territories, ranking the Cuban passport 76th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley visa restrictions index. Visa requirements for Cuban citizens
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba is the highest office within the Communist Party of Cuba and is ranked first in the Politburo, the highest decision-making body in Cuba, which makes the office holder the most powerful person in Cuban government. In Communist states the First or General Secretary of the Communist Party is the de facto leader of the country and a more powerful position than state offices such as President or Prime Minister, when those positions are held by different individuals. From 1961 until 2011, the position of First Secretary was held by Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba and, until 2008, President of the Council of State; the current first secretary is his brother, Raúl Castro, President and Prime Minister of Cuba from 2008 until 2018. The post was named in imitation of the office of First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, staffed by Leonid Brezhnev at the time. List of political parties in Cuba Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba President of Cuba Prime Minister of Cuba Cuba under Fidel Castro
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Cuba)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba is a cabinet minister in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, responsible for conducting foreign relations of the country. The following is a list of foreign ministers of Cuba since 1933: Cabinet of Cuba List of current foreign ministers List of current Permanent Representatives to the United Nations
Vice President of Cuba
Vice Presidents of Cuba called from 1976 Vice President of the Council of State, is the second highest political position obtainable in Council of State of Cuba. There is a provision for several Vice Presidents, who are elected in the same manner as the President of Cuba. Vice President of Cuba was elected in the same ticket with the President; the position has been in use 1902–1928, 1936, 1940–1958, since 1976. Vice-Presidents elected by the National Assembly on 19 April 2018: First Vice-President: Salvador Valdés Mesa Vice-President: Ramiro Valdes Menendez Vice-President: Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda Vice-President: Gladys Maria Bejerano Portela Vice-President: Ines Maria Chapman Vice-President: Beatriz Johnson President of Cuba List of current Vice Presidents