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17 December 2014


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William R. Cumming

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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Cuba (disambiguation).

Republic of Cuba

República de Cuba (Spanish)

Five horizontal stripes: three blue and two white. A red equilateral triangle at the left of the flag, partly covering the stripes, with a white five pointed star in the centre of the triangle. A shield in front of a fasces crowned by the Phrygian Cap, all supported by an oak branch and a laurel wreath
Flag Coat of arms

Motto: "¡Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!" (Spanish)
"Homeland or Death, we shall overcome!"[1]
Anthem: La Bayamesa
Bayamo Song [2]

Location of Cuba (green)

and largest city Havana
23°8′N 82°23′W

Official languages
Ethnic groups (2012[3])
64.1% White
26.6% Mulatto / Mestizo
9.3% Black


Marxist-Leninist single-party state
- President Raúl Castro
- First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel[4]
President of the
National Assembly
Esteban Lazo Hernández

National Assembly

Independence from Spain

- War of Independence February 24, 1895
- Recognized December 10, 1898
- Republic declared May 20, 1902
- Cuban Revolution July 26, 1953 - January 1, 1959
- Current constitution February 24, 1976


- Total 109,884 km2 (106th)
42,426 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible[5]


- 2012 census 11,167,325[6]
- Density 102/km2 (106th)
264.0/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $212 billion[7] (58th)
- Per capita $18,796 (2011)[8] (60th)
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
- Total $71.017 billion[9] (68th)
- Per capita $6,301[10] (90th)
Gini (2000) 38.0[11]
HDI (2013) Steady 0.815[12]
very high · 44th


Peso (CUP)
Convertible pesoa

Time zone
- Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−4)

Drives on the

Calling code

ISO 3166 code

Internet TLD
a. From 1993 to 2004, the United States dollar was used alongside the peso until the dollar was replaced by the convertible peso.

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba (Listeni/ˈkjuːbə/; Spanish: República de Cuba, pronounced: [reˈpuβlika ðe ˈkuβa] ( listen)), is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba comprises the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud and several archipelagos. Havana is the capital of Cuba and its largest city. The second-largest city is Santiago de Cuba.[13][14][15] To the north of Cuba lies the United States (150 km or 93 mi away), the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are to the northeast, Mexico is to the west (210 km or 130 mi away), the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.

The island of Cuba was inhabited by numerous Mesoamerican tribes prior to the landing of explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492, who claimed it for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, after which it was briefly administered by the United States until gaining nominal independence in 1902. The fragile republic endured increasingly radical politics and social strife, and despite efforts to strengthen its democratic system, Cuba came under the dictatorship of former president Fulgencio Batista in 1952.[16][17][18] Growing unrest and instability led to Batista's ousting in January 1959 by the July 26 movement, which afterwards established a government under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965 the country has been governed as a single-party state by the Communist Party.

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and with over 11 million inhabitants, is the second-most populous after Hispaniola, albeit with a much lower population density than most nations in the region. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, a close relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and proximity to the United States.

William R. Cumming

Who will get the Havana and Santiago MLB teams?


Peace would be a good thing......as in "Peace On Earth".....the "Good Will...." part might be difficult but is easier to achieve in the absence of armed threat.

Merry Christmas......Happy Holidays.....and I will drink to the possibility of a New Year with just a tad more sanity.


Amen- talk about the tail wagging the dog in regard to Cuban-American pols and Cuba.



I found Obama's reference to colonialism to be amusing. Spain created Cuber. There was nothing much there before the 16th Century. We fought Spain mostly to free Cuber from Spanish rule. the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and the rest were incidental to the main deal in Cuber. We occupied the "country" for two years, then left, having inserted the Platt Amendment into their new constitution. This would allow us to intervene in the country if we felt like it. FDR rescinded our right to do that. Cuber then relapsed into 3rd World caudillismo and continues in that mode until now. Colonialism? pl

Charles I

Interesting that it comes just as Jeb Bush is going more public with his musings as he needs to announce to start fundraising.

From up here north of the 49th, where we have enjoyed Cuban beaches, cigars and other delights for decades, it sounds and seems like Cubans and Florida always play a disproportionate, at the very least in terms of noise, role in U.S presidential politics.

Will this undercut Jeb's run for POTUS?


Looks like it will be an "interesting" lameduckhood. I think Obama is just getting started on his end of term agenda.


Lo Que Sea, Cuando Sea, Donde Sea


America offers normalized relations, after Russia writes off $29B of Cuba's $32B debt:


"A senior military official in Moscow said two years ago that Russia was in talks to set up resupply bases in Cuba after undertaking its biggest military overhaul since the Soviet era."

Sadly, this seems to be all about Russia, and has nothing to do with commerce / humanitarian relations, IMHO.


My wife's last name is Serra. Her great grandfather immigrated from Havana to Brooklyn. She has been waiting for this for her entire adult life. We got to visit her ancestral home in Barcelona a few years back. It would be nice to complete that journey of discovery.


One of my brothers-in-law is Cuban-American. He supported Castro for a bit, fled to the US in a boat shortly after he came to power, trained for the Bay-of-Pigs until he became suspicious of the fellow organizing it. He became suspicious when the fellow organizing the crew was not going to be part of the invasion team. He was naturalized in 64 and married one of my wife's sisters in 68. We used to send small care packages to his family from Portugal 20 years ago; only about half of them reached their destination. I welcome this change for his and his family's sake.


Charles I,

Probably not. He'll let Rubio bloviate awhile longer then make a nice speech about freedom, truth, justice and the American way. The smart old money has already planned on where and what to invest in.

Charlie Wilson

My Cuber brothers and sisters: Welcome to cheeseburgers, fries and coke. You have no idear what you have missed.

r whitman

At the time we broke relations with Cuba, I was doing some product development for a major oil well drilling mud company. We had a mining contract with a company in Oriente province for barite ore, which, when ground up is used as a weight material in drilling fluids. We had 8000 tons of raw mined ore on the dock ready to ship. Perhaps its still there and we can go and recover it. I am probably the only one alive that still remembers it.

robt willmann


Now maybe people in the U.S. can get more acquainted with the fabulous Cuban jazz music, and learn how to dance again. Here is the great Arturo Sandoval and his band playing "Mambo Caliente"--


Sandoval was born and grew up in Cuba. He was trained in classical music and then learned to play jazz; he performs both. He played with Dizzy Gillespie from time to time. Nobody played with the old top level black jazz musicians if there was the slightest bit of slop in their playing.

The Big Five jazz trumpeters when I was growing up were: Doc Severinsen (the Johnny Carson Tonight Show Band), Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval, and Miles Davis.

Sandoval defected to the U.S. when he was around 40 years old. His website is here--


He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, which was an appropriate selection, unlike some of the scoundrels who have been given that medal over the last 15 years or so--


Here is Sandoval playing with Dizzy Gillespie in Havana in 1985, performing a modern version of Gillespie's composition, "Night in Tunisia". Notice the cap worn by the saxophone / clarinet /woodwinds player--


The sax player? He is Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr, formerly Russell Thomas. He converted to Islam about 40 years ago. Oh no! Quick, call Senator Lindsey Graham, Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the Department of Homeland Stasi Security! We have a data point here....




Well said...


robt willman

I like your choice of jazz trumpeters but would add Chet Baker, though his honey smooth voice was half of his sound.


It seems like we embargo or sanction half the world. It's about time we normalize relations with Cuba, but will Congress comply by lifting the embargo, which is a law?


" .. 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Obama said in a televised, midday address. “It’s time for a new approach.”

So how much longer for sanctions on Iran?

The Beaver


Will we see another Havana mob with their hotels and casinos?
Who will be the next Meyer Lansky


It is so long overdue it's almost anti-climactic. Almost. 2 years in Havana made a lifelong impression on this son of a USAF officer attached to the Mission. The exciting & exotic, the privilege & danger. The kind people, but the "house" down the street Mom forbade we go near & our neighbor's home ransacked at Christmastime. Forever after suspicious, and once grown, cynical about expressions of righteousness & certainty. Whatever it means in the Big Picture, for me a long cycle finished. Yes, one of Mom's old records, maybe fix a Libre, then I'll toss the Cuban Dice... they're here somewhere.


WRC, ha! Thank you for the early Christmas gift.


I think Cubans should be very careful. Even if Obama is sincere, that does not mean a future government will not engineer a coup against the Cuban government.


Well said, Col. And thank God you did not have to hit the North Shore or parachute into harm's way on a fools errand.

After over five decades of unsuccessful policy, the times, they are finally a'chang'n. Wow!

William R. Cumming

Will this undercut Jeb's run for POTUS? YES IMO!

William R. Cumming

Your welcome!

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