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The subsequent Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence, which was granted in 1902 after a three-year transition period. 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 favour 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 is now slowly recovering from a severe economic downturn in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US – using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border – is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,864 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2006.
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 3,947,047/female 3,932,128)
65 years and over: 11.7% (male 583,757/female 708,624) (2011 est.)
conventional short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
local short form: Cuba
geographic coordinates: 23 07 N, 82 21 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 27 (2012)
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban’s standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies.
Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies about 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 20,000 medical professionals. In 2007, high metals prices continued to boost Cuban earnings from nickel and cobalt production. Havana continued to invest in the country’s energy sector to mitigate electrical blackouts that had plagued the country since 2004.
tier rating: Tier 3 – Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so
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