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Cuba
Cuba, the biggest island in the Caribbean, is located at the entrance to 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. Formed by around 4 195 smaller keys, cays and islets, it covers a surface of 110 922 square kilometers and1 200 kilometers of extension, on a mostly karstic and flat territory. Its nature, diverse and prodigal, shows wide variety of plants, animals and more than 280 beaches, virgin islands, grottos, caves, mountains, forests, savannas and marshes.

Map of Cuba
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Map of Cuba

Main article: Geography of Cuba


The elongated island of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is bounded to the north by the Straits of Florida and the greater North Atlantic Ocean, to the northwest by the Gulf of Mexico, to the west by the Yucatan Channel, to the south by the Caribbean Sea, and to the east by the Windward Passage. The Republic comprises the entire island, including many outlying islands such as the Isle of Youth, previously known as the Isle of Pine, with the exception of Guantanamo Bay, a naval base that has been leased by the United States since 1903. The mainland is the world's 16th largest island.

The island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains, with more rugged hills and mountains primarily in the southeast and the highest point is the Pico Real del Turquino at 2,005 m. The local climate is tropical, though moderated by trade winds. There is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October.

Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. Some of the well-known smaller towns are Baracoa which was the first Spanish settlement on Cuba, as well as Trinidad and Bayamo.

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Economy

Main article: Economy of Cuba

The economy of Cuba is based on state ownership with some small scale private enterprise existing at the fringes. Tourism has become one of the largest sources of income for Cuba, and in 1993 the U.S. dollar was made legal tender (the country operated under a dual-currency system); this arrangement was, however, revoked on 25 October 2004.

The Cuban economy was hit hard in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Comecon economic bloc, with which it had traded predominantly. More recent problems include high oil prices, recessions in key export markets such as sugar and nickel, damage from hurricanes (most recently an estimated 1 billion dollars economic damage from hurricane Charley), depressed tourism, and faltering world economic conditions. In late 2003, and early 2004, both tourism levels and nickel prices increased. One other factor in the recovery of the Cuban economy is the remittances of Cuban-Americans (which constitute almost 3% of the Cuban Economy, by some estimates). Cuba currently trades with almost every nation in the world (including the U.S.). However, Cuba owes billions in Paris Club debt to nations such as France, Japan and Germany.

Cuba is notable for its national organic agriculture initiative, undertaken in order to feed a population faced with starvation. In the early 1990s, post-Soviet Union, Cuba lost over 70% of agricultural chemical imports, over 50% of food imports, and an equally significant amount of oil. Its agricultural sector, built on a large-scale, mechanized, chemical-based model, was instantly crippled. By restructuring its agricultural industry, and focusing scientific efforts on organic solutions, Cuba managed to rapidly and successfully convert the country to entirely organic production. Currently, only organic agriculture is permitted by law.

Cuba

Carib News Now is dedicated to providing news and daily updates to its customers. Now, Caribbean people where ever you maybe have an opportunity to let your voices be heard as well as share your experiences with the world. E-Mail: editor@caribnewsnow.com
NB: No part of the content on this site should be used without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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