Cuba

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is an island country, comprising the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, archipelagos, 4,195 islands and cays surrounding the main island. Cuba is located where the northern Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean meet. Cuba is located east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the American state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), and north of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital. Cuba is the third-most populous country in the Caribbean after Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with about 11 million inhabitants. It is the largest country in the Caribbean by area. The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited as early as the 4th millennium BC, with the Guanahatabey and Taíno peoples inhabiting the area at the time of Spanish colonization in the 15th century. It was then a colony of Spain, and slavery was abolished in 1886, remaining a colony until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained independence in 1902. In 1940, Cuba implemented a new constitution, but mounting political unrest culminated in the 1952 Cuban coup d'état and the subsequent dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The Batista government was overthrown in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement during the Cuban Revolution. That revolution established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba faced a severe economic downturn in the 1990s, known as the Special Period. In 2008, Fidel Castro retired after 49 years; Raúl Castro was elected his successor. Raúl Castro retired as president in 2018 and Miguel Díaz-Canel was elected president by the National Assembly following parliamentary elections. Raúl Castro retired as First Secretary of the Communist Party in 2021 and Díaz-Canel was elected. Cuba is a socialist state, in which the role of the Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Cuba has an authoritarian government where political opposition is not permitted. Censorship is extensive and independent journalism is repressed; Reporters Without Borders has characterized Cuba as one of the worst countries for press freedom. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the Taíno Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of enslaved Africans and a close relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Cuba is a founding member of the United Nations, G77, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, ALBA, and Organization of American States. It has one of the world's few planned economies, and its economy is dominated by tourism and the exports of skilled labor, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Cuba has historically—before and during communist rule—performed better than other countries in the region on several socioeconomic indicators, such as literacy, infant mortality and life expectancy. Cuba has a universal health care system which provides free medical treatment to all Cuban citizens, although challenges include low salaries for doctors, poor facilities, poor provision of equipment, and the frequent absence of essential drugs. A 2023 study by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), estimated 88% of the population is living in extreme poverty. The traditional diet is of international concern due to micronutrient deficiencies and lack of diversity. As highlighted by the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, rationed food meets only a fraction of daily nutritional needs for many Cubans, leading to health issues.


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