Mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Population: 11,047,251 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Spanish (official)
Nominally Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish, Santeria — Note: Prior to Castro assuming power
The government continues to balance the need for loosening its socialist economic system against a desire for firm political control. The government in April 2011 held the first Cuban Communist Party Congress in almost 13 years, during which leaders approved a plan for wide-ranging economic changes. Since then, the Cuban government has slowly and incrementally implemented limited economic reforms, including allowing Cubans to buy electronic appliances and cell phones, and stay in hotels.
The Soviet Union sent aid to the island nation of Cuba. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba has gone through what it calls the "Special Period"—a mandatory belt-tightening, or cutting back on its standard of living. Energy consumption has been drastically reduced, food rations are low, and people get around on bicycles. Patients must bring their own bed-sheets to the hospital, and surgeons are given one bar of soap per month with which to wash their hands.
US Military Presence/Support