Cuba
Cuba
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BACKGROUND

Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, Cuba soon became a Spanish colony for the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were bought to Cuba to work the coffee and sugar plantations. Spanish rule was harsh and eventually provoked an independence movement. The United States helped the Cubans to rid themselves of Spain during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902.

As an independent country, Cuba experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel Castro led a rebel army to victory in 1959 and gained power over the nation which he would maintain for the next five decades installing a socialist economic system. Click Socialism to find out what it means. Fidel Castro 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 severe economic trouble in 1990 following the withdrawal of money from Russia worth $4 billion to $6 billion
annually.

GEOGRAPHY

Cuba is a Caribbean Island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is located 150 km south of Key West, Florida. Cuba is the 112th biggest country in the world. It occupies 110,860 squar kilometers of space. Cuba has a predominantly tropical climate, windy at times, and interrupted by a dry season from November to April. Cuba's land is mostly flat with mountains and hills only in the southeast.

POPULATION

In terms of population, Cuba is the 73rd most populous country in the world with a population of 11,451,652 inhabitants.

ETHNIC GROUPS / LANGUAGE / RELIGION

According to a 2002 census, Cuba's population is white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1%.
The spoken language of Cuba is Spanish. Roman Catholicism is the primary religion practiced in Cuba accounting for 85% of the population. Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented

LITERACY

By definition literacy means that you are able to read and write once you are the age of 15. If you can't you are illiterate. Cuba's literacy rate is 99.8%. This is a very high literacy rate.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Officially, The Republic of Cuba, has 14 provinces, which are like states. The capital city, Havana, is also one of the provinces.

INDEPENDENCE

After freeing Cuba from Spanih rule in 1898, The United States government administered over Cuba until May 20, 1902 when Cuba became an independent nation. Still, the Cuban government today, does not recognize this day as a day of independence and it is not celebrated as a national holiday.


CONSTITUTION

The constitution was completed on February 24, 1976 and amended in both July 1992 and June 2002.

The amendments in 1992 allowed for the existence of non-socialist property, which meant corporations could exist. More importantly, these amendments allowed for direct elections for the national and the provincial levels of government. (source2)

The amendments in 2002 made the socialist system of government permanent. (source2)

SOURCE2 -- wikipedia

SUFFRAGE

In Cuba, you must be 16 years of age to vote.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Chief of State and President Raul Castro is also the head of government and leader of the Council of Ministers who are in charge of various departments of the Cuban government. external image raul-castro-ruz_300.jpg

Vice President, Jose Ramon Machado

Members of the Council of Ministers are appointed by the president.

Members of the National Assembly elect a president and vice-president to serve in office for a term of five years.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The National Assembly - These legislators are determined by their provinces population. There are 614 National Assembly members and they serve five-year terms. Cuba's Communist Party is the only legal political party to which a candidate may belong.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

The name of Cuba's judicial branch is the People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular. It's members are the president, vice president, and other judges that are elected by the National Assembly.

PROBLEMS

Cuba has had many problems over the years. Due to its socialist, communist government in the 1960s, the United States placed an embargo on Cuba in 1961 which still exists today. Using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border many Cubans attempt to migrate to the United States illegally. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,656 individuals attempting to make it into Florida in 2007.

NOW THAT YOU HAVE FINISHED READING THE WIKI --- DO THE FOLLOWING -->

Go to the wiki page for Libya and read about the executive branch. On the back of one of your worksheet pages, make a venn diagram for the similarities and differences of the Cuban and Libyan executive branches.

Go to the Reference section of the upstairs library and look for the book with the call number:

REF
910
GEO

Use the table of contents to find the page about Cuba. Read this page and compare the information with the Wiki. Find something interesting from the book to add. For example, what is the name of the Cuban currency (money)? Then, ask your teacher how to add information to the Wiki from the book.

Additional resource: Social Studies -- Western Hemisphere and Europe -- Houghton / Mifflin