Demographics. Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 90 miles south of Florida. Cuba’s population is 11,096,395 (July 1999 est.). Cuba’s capitol is Havana, and Spanish is the language spoken there. Cuba’s population is 51% mulatto, 37% white, 11% black and 1% Chinese.
Economics. The economy in Cuba is dependant on the state, which controls virtually all foreign trade. Tourism is a major factor in Cuba’s economy. Cuba’s export commodities include sugar, nickel, tobacco, shellfish, citrus, medical products and coffee. Cuba’s import commodities include petroleum, food, machinery, and chemicals.
History: The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA had planned an invasion of Cuba while Eisenhower was in office, and the plan was carried out while newly inaugurated President JFK was in office. On April 17, 1961, Cuban exiles, using U.S. equipment, landed at the Bay of Pigs on the coast of Cuba. By April 19th, Castro’s troops had overpowered and captured the majority of the invasion force. This unsuccessful invasion was crucial in the development of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962 the Soviet Union worked secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. When President Kennedy found out, he placed a naval blockade on Cuba to stop more Soviet shipments. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev finally agreed to return the missiles to the Soviet Union in exchange for a commitment that the U.S. would never invade Cuba. This is the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war.
Foreign Relations. A trade embargo against Cuba that was imposed by the U.S. in 1960 is still in place today. The U.S. does not import any Cuban products, nor does it allow any American medical supplies, capitol or people to enter Cuba. This embargo was meant to paralyze Cuba’s economy and remove Castro from power, but all it has done is deepen the suffering of the poverty stricken Cuban population. This suffering has consequently affected the U.S. in the rising number of illegal refugees who immigrate to the U.S. each year. There is much debate among the citizens of the United States as to whether the blockade should be broken or not, and the U.S. is the only country to uphold this trade embargo against Cuba.
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