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Cities in CUBA



State structure

Cuba has been a socialist republic since 1959. In 1976, a new constitution came into force, replacing the one of 1940. This constitution, with a clear socialist character, laid down the forms of government that had been experimented with since 1970. An important element were the organs of popular power (Poder Popular) that were established to guarantee the participation of the population at the different levels of government. Provincial and national People's Power Assemblies are constituted by means of staggered elections and representation. Due to international isolation and in the face of a dramatic economic crisis, 76 of the 141 articles of the 1976 Constitution were amended in 1992. Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular has 589 members, who are elected in direct elections for a period of five years.

All Cubans aged 16 and over have the right to vote; those aged 18 and over have the right to stand for election. The Council of State (31 members) is elected by parliament and serves as the highest state organ. The Council of Ministers, as the highest executive power, is chaired by the president of the Council of State. The power of the president, the head of state, is very great.

Administrative division

Cuba is administratively divided into 16 provinces and 169 municipalities.

International politics

Cuba's international policy has gone through several phases. At first, it tried to export the revolution to other Latin American countries; in the process, Che Guevara was murdered as a guerrillero in Bolivia on Oct. 8, 1967. When Cuba began to act more moderately, economic and diplomatic relations with other Latin American countries were restored. The economic boycott of Cuba by the Organisation of American States, instituted in 1964, was lifted in 1975. Relations with the United States improved during Jimmy Carter's presidency (1976-1980), but diplomatic ties were not restored or the trade boycott lifted.

Within the framework of 'international solidarity', Cuba supported the MPLA liberation movement in Angola from 1975 onwards. Moreover, Cuban soldiers reinforced the Ethiopian army in the fight against Somalia (1978). At the end of 1978, there were an estimated 40,000 Cubans in these countries. In the 1980s, Cuba started to withdraw, first of all from Ethiopia. In 1989, the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola began. Active support was also given to revolutions and revolutionary movements in the region (Nicaragua, Grenada and El Salvador).

During Ronald Reagan's presidency of the United States (1980-1988), relations with this country deteriorated sharply. Relations with Western Europe were clearly better. The distance that developed between Cuba and Russia became visible when the latter country started to reduce its subsidised supplies of, among other things, oil to Cuba from 1990 onwards, while at the same time, the purchase of sugar at prices above the world market price was also reduced. In 1992, the energy shortage became so great that only limited use could be made of agricultural machinery. As a result, Cuba produced only 7 million tonnes of sugar in 1992, one of the worst results of the last 15 years. In July 1992, the phrase 'fraternal friendship with the Soviet Union' and the phrase 'Cuba is part of the world socialist community' disappeared from the Constitution. In June 1993, the last 300 Russian troops left after 30 years of presence.

The previously indirectly elected people's representatives were able to be directly elected for the first time on 25 February 1993. Officially, 99, 6% of the voters voted. To 'save the revolution', limited liberalisation took place. In July 1993, the ban on owning foreign currency was lifted, while at the same time making it easier for Cubans living abroad to return. Two months later certain one-man businesses (taxi drivers, hairdressers) were officially allowed.

The current political situation is described in the history section.


Baijer,M / Cuba

Cuba : a short history
Cambridge University Press

Encarta Encyclopedie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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