Is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Government and politics
The Republic of Cuba is one of the world's last remaining socialist countries following the Marxist–Leninist ideology. The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is "guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin."The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the "leading force of society and of the state".After Fidel Castro died on 25 November 2016, the Cuban government declared a nine-day mourning period. During the morning period Cuban citizens were prohibited from playing loud music, partying, and drinking alcohol.
Full independence from Spain was the goal of a rebellion in 1868 led by planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. De Céspedes, a sugar planter, freed his slaves to fight with him for an independent Cuba. On 27 December 1868, he issued a decree condemning slavery in theory but accepting it in practice and declaring free any slaves whose masters present them for military service. The 1868 rebellion resulted in a prolonged conflict known as the Ten Years' War. Two thousand Cuban Chinese joined the rebels. Chinese had been imported as indentured laborers. A monument in Havana honours the Cuban Chinese who fell in the war.Over the previous decades, five U.S. presidents—Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, Grant, and McKinley—had tried to buy the island of Cuba from Spain.
The Cuban state claims to adhere to socialist principles in organizing its largely state-controlled planned economy. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government and most of the labor force is employed by the state. Recent years have seen a trend toward more private sector employment. By 2006, public sector employment was 78% and private sector 22%, compared to 91.8% to 8.2% in 1981. Government spending is 78.1% of GDP. Any firm that hires a Cuban must pay the Cuban government, which in turn pays the employee in Cuban pesos. The average monthly wage as of July 2013 is 466 Cuban pesos—about US$19.
Tourism was initially restricted to enclave resorts where tourists would be segregated from Cuban society, referred to as "enclave tourism" and "tourism apartheid". Contact between foreign visitors and ordinary Cubans were de facto illegal between 1992 and 1997. The rapid growth of tourism during the Special Period had widespread social and economic repercussions in Cuba, and led to speculation about the emergence of a two-tier economy.Some tourist facilities were extensively damaged on 8 September 2017 when Hurricane Irma hit the island. The storm made landfall in the Camagüey Archipelago; the worst damage was in the keys north of the main island, however, and not in the most significant tourist areas.
The official language of Cuba is Spanish and the vast majority of Cubans speak it. Spanish as spoken in Cuba is known as Cuban Spanish and is a form of Caribbean Spanish. Lucumí, a dialect of the West African language Yoruba, is also used as a liturgical language by practitioners of Santería,and so only as a second language. Haitian Creole is the second most spoken language in Cuba, and is spoken by Haitian immigrants and their descendants. Other languages spoken by immigrants include Galician and Corsican.
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