Brief look at Cuba’s people, government, economy

Mar 26, 2012, 6:01 AM

(AP) – A brief look at Cuba:

___

LAND _ Largest island in Caribbean, covering 44,344 square miles (110,922 square kilometers), about size of Pennsylvania (Bulgaria). Rugged Sierra Maestra mountains at eastern end, but mostly flat or slightly rolling countryside.

___

PEOPLE _ Population more than 11 million. About half mixed-race, 35 percent white, 15 percent black, with scattering of people descended from Chinese, other non-European immigrants. Parts of population have traces of original Indian peoples, but indigenous cultures died out long ago. Life expectancy of nearly 78 years and infant mortality of about 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, lowest in Latin America.

___

RELIGION _ Church-state relations extremely strained for decades after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution as government embraced Marxist anti-religious principles. Authorities closed parochial schools in 1962 and clerics were harassed and sent to work camps. After fall of Soviet Union, new constitution did away with officially enshrined atheism, and Communist Party membership became available to religious believers. Today practicing Catholics number less than 10 percent of population. Estimated 600,000 Cubans, 5 percent, belong to evangelical Christian denominations. Jewish community numbers about 1,500. Far more Cubans observe Santeria or another syncretic Afro-Cuban faith.

___

GOVERNMENT _ Head of government and state is president of Council of State and Council of Ministers, positions Fidel Castro held until he resigned in February 2008. Castro’s younger brother, Raul, elected by National Assembly to replace him on Feb. 24, 2008.

___

ECONOMY _ Still recovering from economic crisis that began in 1990 after losing Soviet aid and trade, Cuba posted steady growth since late 1990s. Cuba blames economic problems on U.S. trade embargo; detractors blame inefficient centralized planning. After modest economic reforms in mid-1990s, government reasserted more centralized control beginning in 2004. In 2010, Raul Castro began reopening economy to limited free-market reforms and announced plans to lay off many state workers. Important sources of income include health services exported to Venezuela, tourism, sugar, nickel, tobacco, citrus, coffee, pharmaceuticals, remittances.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Brief look at Cuba’s people, government, economy