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Where Is Cuba and What
Fishing boats in the bay of Havana with El Morro in the background.
The Republic of Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city. To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico is to the west, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus found and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained territory of Spain until the Spanish American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902. Between 1953-1959 the Cuban Revolution occurred, removing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and installing a government led by Fidel Castro.
Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean. Its people, culture, and customs draw from diverse sources, such as the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and its proximity to the United States.
Cuba has a 100% literacy rate, has an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and has an average age expectancy of 77.64. Cuba is the only nation in the world which meets the WWF's definition of sustainable development, having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index over 0.8.
Cuba is a totalitarian police state which relies on repressive methods to maintain control. These methods include intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists in 2008 (the People's Republic of China was first) according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international NGO. As a result of ownership bans, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest. The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected people and they are monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.
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