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currency: Cuban Peso (CUP)
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Cuba profile
largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles
Cuba history
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 eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. 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 faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US's southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard interdicted 1,275 Cuban nationals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2012.
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Conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
Conventional short form: Cuba
Local long form: Republica de Cuba
Local short form: Cuba
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Cuba's capital city is Havana
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Cuba Constitution:

24 February 1976;
amended July 1992 and June 2002
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Cuba population growth rate: -0.115%
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Cuba highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m
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Cuba lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
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About 28% of Cuba's land is arable.
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Río Cauto is the Longest River in Cuba
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Cuba birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
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Cuba infant mortality rate is 5 deaths/1,000 live births
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Cuba fertility rate is 1.46 children born/woman
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Cuba climate:

tropical;
moderated by trade winds;
dry season (November to April);
rainy season (May to October)
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Top 10 cities of Cuba with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Havana: 2,201,610
2. Santiago de Cuba: 423,392
3. Camagüey: 301,574
4. Holguín: 269,618
5. Santa Clara: 210,220
6. Guantánamo: 208,145
7. Bayamo: 144,664
8. Victoria de Las Tunas: 143,582
9. Cienfuegos: 140,734
10. Manzanillo: 132,789
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Cuba ethnic groups:

white - 65.1%
mulatto and mestizo - 24.8%
black - 10.1%
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Cuba Exports:

petroleum, nickel, medical products, sugar, tobacco, fish, citrus, coffee
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Cuba Imports:

petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
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unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (number of seats in the National Assembly is based on population; 614 seats; members elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions to serve five-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
15 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia)

1. Artemisa
2. Camaguey
3. Ciego de Avila
4. Cienfuegos
5. Granma
6. Guantanamo
7. Holguin
8. La Habana
9. Las Tunas
10. Matanzas
11. Mayabeque
12. Pinar del Rio
13. Sancti Spiritus
14. Santiago de Cuba
15. Villa Clara

and 1 special municipality (municipio especial):

Isla de la Juventud
Political parties and leaders:
Cuban Communist Party (PCC) - Raul CASTRO Ruz, first secretary