Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Cuba

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The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule, marked initially by neglect, became increasingly repressive, provoking an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. It was US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 that finally overthrew Spanish rule. The subsequent Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence, which was granted in 1902 after a three-year transition period. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic downturn in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,864 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2006. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. it has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. the average cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. since late 2000, venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies about 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of cuban personnel in venezuela, including some 20,000 medical professionals. in 2007, high metals prices continued to boost cuban earnings from nickel and cobalt production. havana continued to invest in the country's energy sector to mitigate electrical blackouts that had plagued the country since 2004.

Environmental Issues

Air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation

Government Type

Communist state


11,423,952 (july 2008 est.)


Caribbean, island between the caribbean sea and the north atlantic ocean, 150 km south of key west, florida


Total: 110,860 sq km land: 110,860 sq km water: 0 sq km

Slightly smaller than pennsylvania

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of cuba conventional short form: cuba local long form: republica de cuba local short form: cuba


Name: havana geographic coordinates: 23 07 n, 82 21 w time difference: utc-5 (same time as washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in march; ends last sunday in october

Military Service

17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2006)

International Disputes

Us naval base at guantanamo bay is leased to us and only mutual agreement or us abandonment of the facility can terminate the lease

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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