Cuba 2006

By | December 6, 2021


State of insular Central America. According to a 2005 estimate (the last census dates back to 1981) the population amounts to 11. 346. 700 residents. The average annual rate of growth in the early 21st century. It is decidedly modest, amounting to about 0, 3 %, a very low value, especially when compared with that of most other countries Caribbean peoples, and determined only by the reduction in the birth rate (12 ‰ in 2005), from the large clandestine emigration flow largely directed to the United States. The undeniable improvement in health conditions is at the origin of the decrease in the mortality rate (7, 1 ‰ in 2005), which however shows a very slight upward trend due to the increase in the number of elderly people, and the drastic reduction in the rate perinatal and infant mortality, which fell to 6.3 and 6% respectively.

The population is spread across the country without major territorial imbalances, despite the fact that two areas of strong concentration persist, one in the north-western part of the island, centered on the area of ​​the capital Havana, and the other in the south-eastern part. . The urban population exceeds 75 %; Havana remains by far the main city, without the possibility of comparison with the others for demographic dimensions and for economic and cultural importance, as well as political, as well as a tourist destination (its historic center has been included by UNESCO in the list of the places considered ‘heritage of humanity’).

As far as the economy is concerned, after a difficult period, the first signs of recovery began to emerge from 2003, and in 2004 the GDP growth was 3 %. Tourism in particular contributed to this good trend, which, together with remittances from emigrants and trade, is one of the main sources of income (alone it forms 12 % of GDP and 40 % of foreign currency revenues): after a setback because of the terrorist attacks carried out in the US market in September 2001, visitors have returned numerous Cuba (over 1. 900. 000 in2003). Since 2002 Cuba has been using the euro instead of the dollar in international trade, and the use of the European currency is also permitted in tourism.

Agriculture, on the other hand, is unable to overcome the crisis in which it has been facing for many years, both due to the continuous passage of hurricanes (three between 2001 and 2003, and one in October 2005), and for structural reasons: it still remains dominated by the monoculture of sugar cane. The dissolution of the Soviet Union (which involved the loss of the country’s largest, and in some period almost exclusive, trading partner, which bought almost all of Cuban sugar), the fall in international sugar prices, the scarcity of fertilizers, insufficient investments, the conflicting relationship with the United States are the main causes of the low yields of this sector and the decline in its production, as well as the difficulties in placing its export products.

The oil and gas sector, penalized by the lack of funding, barely meets half the energy needs (in 2003 were extracted 3, 7 million tonnes of oil and 350 million m 3 of natural gas). As for nickel, given the strong performance of its price on the international markets Cuba, which is one of the world’s largest producers (75. 000 t extracted in 2004), is looking to further improve its extraction capacity through the modernization of its facilities. On the other hand, other mineral resources, which would offer valid prospects for development, do not seem to constitute one of the priorities of the government, which is nevertheless looking for ways to accelerate the modernization of the country and diversify its economy. Furthermore, the lack of structural reforms in trade and finance continues to hold back foreign investment. For Cuba 2015, please check


The political life of the country, monopolized by the Communist Party and its historical leader F. Castro, continued to revolve, at the beginning of the 2000s, on the issues that had always been the main challenges of the regime: the overcoming of international isolation, the relaunch of economy, which was weighed down by the embargo imposed by the United States, and relations with the internal opposition, which, despite the repression, managed to mobilize part of national public opinion. The end of the nineties had been characterized by a relaxation of relations with Washington, and the first years of the new century had confirmed this trend: in October 2000 the US Senate had voted in favor of lifting the embargo on the sale of medicines and foodstuffs, and in the following July GW Bush announced a new postponement of the promulgation of the Helms-Burton law (passed in 1996), which established a tightening of sanctions, including their extension to countries that traded with the island. The US agro-food industries, particularly interested in the prospects offered by the Cuban market, were also pushing towards a relaxation of the restrictive rules. The visit to Cuba of former US President J. Carter in May 2002, and in July the Senate’s new assent to an easing of sanctions, were hailed as further signs of relaxation in relations between the two states. In the face of the improvement in international relations, on the domestic level there was instead a worsening of the social situation, which was negatively affected by the economic reforms introduced during the 1990s. The liberalization of some productive activities and the double dollar-peso circulation, in addition to increasing crime and the black market, had in fact favored only some sectors of the population, while the majority had continued to remain excluded from the possibility of undertaking private commercial activities due to permanent restrictions and high taxation. To take advantage of the new economic prospects were above all the high exponents of the party and the army, to whom, among other things, the management of the tourism sector, one of the most profitable, was reserved. The strengthening of the apparatus went hand in hand with a tightening of the repression, which was accentuated in February 2002 from the ban on owning a personal computer without direct authorization from the Ministry of the Interior: extreme attempt to prohibit access to information guaranteed by the Internet.

However, the accentuation of censorship did not succeed in stopping the mobilization of internal dissidents, whose pressure continued to grow. In May 2002 it was introduced in Castro a petition (the first of its kind) signed by 11 thousand signatories (one thousand more than required by law) and known as ‘Varela’ project, which had among its promoters O. Paya, leader of the Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación. The document called for the introduction of economic and political reforms which, by re-establishing multi-partyism and the guarantees for the right to private property and freedom of enterprise, would lead the country towards democracy. Emphasized by the US and international press, the petition was harshly received by the regime which, in response, launched a ‘counter-information’ campaign by mobilizing thousands of citizens in street demonstrations, and in June introduced a constitutional amendment that defined socialism in Cuba ” permanent “and” irrevocable “. In the following months the internal situation remained difficult, and worsened in March 2003 when, following contacts with the US diplomatic representative in Cuba J. Cason, 75dissidents (including independent journalists, human rights activists and Varela project signatories) were arrested on charges of conspiring against the regime and sentenced to heavy prison terms the following month after a summary trial. Also in April, the summary execution of three men who had hijacked a ferry and tried to reach the US coast was also decided. Condemned by humanitarian organizations, the authoritarian turn of the regime provoked a firm reaction from the international community and undermined relations between Cuba and the European Union, which in June decided to impose diplomatic sanctions on the island and to postpone the signing of new trade agreements.. Only in November 2004, after the release of 14 gods75 detainees arrested in March 2003, the tension eased, and in January 2005 the sanctions were lifted. Relations with Washington also deteriorated from the beginning of 2003, despite experiencing an improvement in the latter part of the year, when both the US Senate and the US House voted (Sept.-Oct.) In favor of an easing of the trade bloc. confirming the line already adopted in previous years. Opposed by Bush, this policy of openness was partially contradicted during 2004, when some restrictive measures were reintroduced, against which Castro decided in October to go back to prohibiting the circulation of the dollar in internal commercial transactions. At the same time, a squeeze was made on private economic activities, again subjected to severe controls by the state, and the market liberalization plan that the reforms of the 1990s had hinted at. New impetus was instead given in recent years to relations with Latin American countries, in particular with Mexico and Venezuela, with which economic and commercial cooperation agreements were signed.

Cuba 2006