World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Cuba Travelling Guide
Cuba Travelling Guide

General background: Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the country together since. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic recession in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Havana portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, or falsified visas - is a continuing problem. Some 3,000 Cubans attempted the crossing of the Straits of Florida in 2001; the US Coast Guard interdicted only about 25% of these.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Climate: Tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)

Terrain: Mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast

Population: 11,224,321 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Mulatto 51%, White 37%, Black 11%, Chinese 1%

Religions: Nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented

Language: Spanish

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Havana

Legal system: Based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a concern for firm political control. It has undertaken limited reforms in recent years to stem excess liquidity, increase enterprise efficiency, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services, but is unlikely to implement extensive changes. A major feature of the economy is the dichotomy between relatively efficient export enclaves and inefficient domestic sectors. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the severe economic depression of the early 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. High oil prices, recessions in key export markets, and damage from Hurricane Michelle hampered growth in 2001. Cuba paid high prices for oil imports in the face of slumping prices in the key sugar and nickel industries and suffered a slowdown in tourist arrivals following September 11. The government subsequently depreciated the peso by approximately 30% and now aims for 3% growth in 2002.

Communication/Telephone system: Principal trunk system, end to end of country, is coaxial cable; fiber-optic distribution in Havana and on Isla de la Juventud; 2 microwave radio relay installations (one is old, US-built; the other newer, built during the period of Soviet support); both analog and digital mobile cellular service established.

Places of interest: Excellent fishing waters.

Travel tips: Cuba's backcountry and beaches are perfect chill out destinations for hikers, swimmers, spelunkers or those who just want to smoke a fine cigar under a palm tree.