NATIONS OF THE AMERICAS: A COUNTRY REPORTDiana BruceHistory 141November 13, 2011Assignment 6: Part 1
CUBA: GEOGRAPHY• Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and the 16th largest island in the world by land area, equal in area to Pennsylvania. This unique country is made up of the island of Cuba, the island of Youth and numerous islets and reefs.• Cuba consists mostly of flat rolling plains, with flat wetlands and undulating valleys to pristine beaches and rugged mountain ranges. The Sierra Maestra mountains are in the southeast, its highest point is Pico Turquino (6,480 ft).• The Cauto River or Río Cauto, located in southeast Cuba, is the longest river of Cuba. It is one of the two navigable rivers in Cuba. The other one is called Sagua la Grande.• Laguna de Leche ( “Milk Lake”) is the largest natural lake. The white color is caused by the lakes limestone bed.
CUBA: GEOGRAPHY• The climate of Cuba is tropical, with northeasterly trade winds that blow year-round. The drier season is from November to April and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 69.8 in January and 80.6 in July. Hurricanes are most common in September and October.• Havana is the capital and largest city, with a population of 2,686,000. Other large cities are Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Holguin, Guantanamo and Santa Clara.• Cuba has 11 main ports capable of handling general export and import cargoes, which include major deep water ports at Cienfuegos, Havana, Mariel (the Free Trade Zone), Matanzas, Nipe, Nuevitas and Santiago de Cuba.
CUBA: GEOGRAPHY• Havana is the country’s largest and most frequently accessed port.• During the 1990s a new pier for cruise ships was built. In 2001, cruise ships from British, Canadian, Italian, and Spanish companies began to make Havana a port of call.• Number one in sugar exports, the port of Cienfuegos is capable of handling one-third of Cuba’s sugar production through its bulk sugar terminal. Its pier for handling oil and oil byproducts allows the berthing of ships up to 50,000 tons.
CUBA: PEOPLE• According to Cuban census of 2002, the population was 11,177,743, including 5,597,233 men and 5,580,510 women.• A multiracial society, Cuba has a population of mainly Spanish and African origins; a majority of inhabitants, 51 percent, are mulatto or mestizo; 37 percent, white; and 11 percent, black. A small Chinese minority constitutes less than 1 percent of the total population.• Cuba has two languages. Spanish (Español) is the official and dominant language. Lucumí is an ethnic language with Niger–Congo, Atlantic–Congo, Volta– Congo, Benue–Congo, Defoid, Yoruboid, and Edekiri roots.
CUBA: PEOPLE• Immigration and emigration have played a prominent part in the demographic profile of Cuba during the 20th century.• During the 18th, 19th, and the early part of the 20th century large waves of Canarian, Catalan, Andalusian, Galician, and other Spanish people immigrated to Cuba.• Afro-Cubans are descended primarily from the Kongo people, as well as the Sahrawi Arabs of Western Sahara under Moroccan occupation since 1976.
CUBA: PEOPLE• In 1992 Cuba amended its constitution to characterize the state as secular instead of atheist.• Roman Catholicism was brought to the island by the Spanish and remains the dominant faith. Catholicism is often practiced in tandem with Santeria, a mixture of Catholicism and other , mainly African, faiths that include a number of cults.• Pentecostalism has grown rapidly in recent years. Cuba has small communities of Jews, Muslims and members of the Bahai Faith.
CUBA: HISTORY• Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba’s northeastern coast near what is now Baracoa on October 27, 1492.• In 1511 the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velazquez de Cuellar at Baracoa. Cuba remained a Spanish possession for almost 400 years (1511-1898).• Independence from Spain was the motive for a rebellion in 1868 led by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. De Cespedes, a sugar planter, freed his slaves to fight with him for a free Cuba. This rebellion resulted in a conflict known as the Ten Years’ War.• Prosperous sugar industry employed chattel slavery until the third of the 19th century. In 1868 more than forty percent of cane sugar reached the world market. Slavery was abolished in 1886.
CUBA: HISTORY• In 1895, the poet Jose Marti led the struggle that finally ended Spanish rule, thanks largely to U.S. intervention in 1898 after the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor.• After the Spanish-American war, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris (1898) by which Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. for $20 million. Spain relinquished all claim of foreign sovereignty over Cuba.• The U.S. occupation ended in 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt abandoned the Treaty of Paris and the Republic of Cuba was declared.• A constitutional government was maintained until 1930 when Gerardo Machado y Morales suspended the constitution.
CUBA: HISTORY• Senior elements of the Cuban Army forced Machado into exile. In 1934 after several puppet presidents subordinate to the army were ousted, Fulgencio Batista was democratically elected President in 1940.• Batista’s regime was weakened by a U.S. arms embargo imposed on March 14, 1958. Fidel Castro and his rebels captured Santa Clara and Batista fled to Havana in 1959 to exile in Portugal. Castro became prime minister under president Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado.• By 1963, Cuba was moving towards a Communist system. The U.S. imposed complete diplomatic and commercial embargo on Cuba. In 1965 Fidel Castro merged his revolutionary organizations with the Communist Party, while Raul Castro became Defense Minister and second in power to his brother Fidel Castro.• With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has found a new source of aid and support in China, Venezuela, and Bolivia. In 2008, Fidel Castro resigned and Raul Castro was elected as the new president.
SOURCESLibrary of Congress - www.loc.gov. 2011. Federal Research Division. Country Profile: Cuba, September2006.Wikipedia - www.en.wikipedia.org. 2011. Cuba