Population. – In July 1974, according to an estimate, 9,090,000 residents were exceeded. The last census, in November 1970, had ascertained a population of 8,533,404 residents, With a density of 75 residents per km 2. The growth coefficient in the last decade has averaged 2% per year. The demographic dynamics have undergone substantial changes in recent years; the birth rate, just under 30%, is quite high, while the mortality rate, which does not reach 8%, is similar to that of the more advanced countries. But what is remarkable is the strong progress recorded in infant mortality, which has dropped to levels below 35%, which does not reach half of what is recorded in countries such as Mexico or Chile, considered the most advanced in Latin America. The distribution on the national territory has seen an increase in the relative importance of the province of Oriente, where 35% of the island’s population currently resides; the province of Havana also recorded a slight increase (from 26 to 27% of the total); the remaining four provinces therefore recorded a slight relative decrease: in conclusion, there were no notable movements after the regime change. The urban population has not had a great increase, and currently comprises about 55% of the total. The capital Havana has exceeded one million residents, with an increase of about 12,000 people a year, but a strong increase has had the area of Great Havana, which in 10 years has gone from 1,200,000 to 1,600,000 residents. Santiago de Cuba, which rose from 225,000 to 276,000 residents, is today the second city of the island, in place of Camaguey. This, as well as the other provincial capitals, has indeed registered a decrease in population. Government action has contributed a lot to this, aimed at disseminating education and health assistance to the maximum in the countryside and also at organizing new forms of business management to keep farmers in contact with the soil. Thanks to the work of volunteers who moved for long periods in the countryside, it was possible in two years to bring the illiteracy rate to values below 4%, similar to those of the more advanced countries. For Cuba 2013, please check physicscat.com.
Agriculture. – At first the new government aimed to diversify production, then the sugar cane cultivation was favored again. The large estates were nationalized in the first years following the revolution, setting up large companies to which an attempt was made to encourage membership even by small peasant ownership. In the so-called granjas del pueblo you had the certainty of finding mechanical means, selected seeds, technical assistance, etc. The government was importing tractors at a rate more than three times the pre-revolution rate. In the national totals of agricultural production, the data relating to the still existing small properties are not counted; in this way many figures, especially relating to food production, are very low. Instead, and albeit at the cost of very strict and rigorously enforced rationing, malnutrition has been eliminated (e.g., since 1968, one liter of milk per day has been guaranteed for every child; remember that the infant mortality rate is today more of a European type than from the Third World). The effort in the cultivation of sugar cane reached its peak in 1970, when the target to produce 10 million tonnes of sugar. 1.7 million ha were planted (500,000 more than in other years), but the result was not equal to expectations; however, the 8.5 million obtained were no longer even approached later. Instead, the focus was still on a more differentiated production, bringing the interest back to coffee (about 340,000 q) and tobacco (540,000 q). In the food sector, rice is the most widespread cereal (3.5 million q), followed by corn (1.4). Tubers are also of fundamental importance, such as potatoes (1 million q), sweet potatoes (2.6), cassava (2.2). Strong development has been given to vegetables (about 500,000 q of tomatoes) and fruit: bananas (500,000 q), pineapples, and above all citrus fruits (1.3 million q of oranges, 180,000 q of grapefruits, etc.). The zootechnical patrimony is very large and well cared for but mostly destined for the export of meat (milk and derivatives are instead consumed inside). There are nearly 7.5 million cattle, 1.5 million pigs, over 13.5 farmyard animals. To complete the food sector, it is worth mentioning fishing which, poorly cared for before the revolution, currently produces over 140,000 tons of annual production.
Mining production. – The country, after the departure of most of the technicians following the revolution, remained with the awareness of possessing mineral resources, but without the ability to exploit them adequately. The metal most mined is nickel (almost 37,000 t in 1973), of which very large reserves have been ascertained in the Sierra del Cristal area; the Moa refinery was added to the Nicaro refinery. In importance follows the manganese (about 28,000 t), extracted in El Cristo, province of the Orient. The productions of chromium, copper, cobalt and sulfur (from pyrites) are much lower. The lack of coal and hydroelectric possibilities has led to careful searches for hydrocarbons; only limited deposits were found in the provinces of Matanzas and Las Villas (about 200,000 t). Instead, the presence of numerous iron deposits has been ascertained,
Industries. – This is certainly the economic sector that has suffered the most from the negative repercussions of the departure of the technicians. Furthermore, at the time of the revolution, modern industry was lacking, and everything was limited to the refining of sugar and the processing of tobacco. These still remain the most developed industries. The first is widespread throughout the island and the large refining and storage complex built in Cienfuegos, with a considerable installation for loading the product, should be noted. Tobacco grown in the western regions has the largest processing center in the capital. Several modern production plants have sprung up near it (which justifies the large increase in population in Grande Havana): the first steel plant on the island (140,000 t in 1972), a petrochemical refinery (a ‘ another is in Santiago), a tire factory (over 200,000), breweries (over 1 million hl). Matanzas is the largest textile center, where in addition to cotton, locally produced artificial fibers (rayon) are also used. The shoe factory was developed, as well as the production of cement, with installations in various parts of the island. In the most wooded regions (provinces of Pinar del Rio and Oriente, Isola dei Pini) the production of wood has been stimulated (almost 2 million m3) and paper mills have sprung up.