Cuba

The Salvation Army started working in Cuba in 1918. Cuba is part of the Latin America North Territory.

General

Capital city: Havana

Surface area: 109.884 km²

Number of inhabitants: 11.480.000

Language: Spanish

Religion: Roman Catholic

Currency: Cuban Peso

Form of government: communist state 

Development

Cuba has a score of 0.777 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers related to life expectancy, education and income per capita. This number is used to rank countries into four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Cuba ranks number 73 out of the 186 countries worldwide. (source: UNDP)

History and Politics

Little is known about the history of Cuba before the 15th century, except that it was inhabited by Indians. In 1942, Christopher Columbus set foot on the island and in 1512, Cuba became a Spanish colony. Havana, now the capital of Cuba, became an important port from where gold and silver was shipped to Spain. Towards the end of the 19th century the Cubans revolted against the Spaniards in which they were supported by the United States. In 1890 the US conquered the island and gave it formal independence in 1902. Although Cuba was independent, the US remained involved for a long time, so Fidel Castro started a revolution in 1952. He only took over power in Cuba in 1959. Fidel Castro's regime was based on communism. As a result, Cuba was regularly in conflict with the capitalistic US. Cuba sought support from the Soviet Union, which led to the Cuba crisis in 1962. After the Soviet Empire fell apart, Cuba’s economy collapsed. Since 2008, Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel, has been the president of Cuba. He also practices a communistic regime. (source: landenweb) 

Economy

Before the US announced a trade embargo in 1960, they were by far the most important trading partner of Cuba. After that it was mainly the Soviet Union. In recent years, the Cuban regime has further liberalized the economic model by allowing more and more private property and foreign companies to invest in the Cuban economy. Since 2016, economic growth has been tempered by problems with the supply of oil products from Venezuela. Since 2000, Venezuela has been an important supplier of oil and Cuba, in turn, paid Cuban employees. In addition to oil products, Cuba also supplies sugar, rum, coffee, tobacco, tea and cocoa.

Culture

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island. More than half of the population lives in the big cities, the capital Havana being the most densely populated. Cuba was originally inhabited by Indians, but over the years West Africans, Chinese, Spaniards and Jamaicans have settled on the island. For years it was forbidden for Cubans to practice religions in public, because this was against the regime of Fidel Castro. The majority of Cubans are Catholic, but Santeria (a mixture of African religions and Catholicism) also has many supporters. (source: tour)