CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has
held the country together since then. 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 2,600 Cubans attempted
the crossing of the Straits of Florida in 2001; the US Coast
Guard apprehended only about 35% of the individuals.
between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km
south of Key West, Florida
by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May
||US Naval Base
at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of
the biggest island in the Caribbean, is located at the entrance
the Gulf of México. Cuba's nearest neighbors
are: to the East, Haití (77 kilometers), to the West, the
Yucatan Peninsula (210 kilometers), to the North, Florida Peninsula
(180 kilometers) and to the South, Jamaica (140 kilometers).
The Bahamas are very near, toward the Northwest of the eastern
end of Cuba.
Cuba is an archipelago consisting of the main island, the Isle of Youth and
about 4,195 keys and islets. Its elongated and narrow shape allows
circulation of trade
winds from the Atlantic, which cool its tropical, humid climate.