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The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted some 1,000 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2011.


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Military

Military branches
Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR): Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario, ER, includes Territorial Militia Troops (Milicia de Tropas de Territoriales, MTT)); Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, MGR, includes Marine Corps); Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Forces (Defensas Anti-Aereas y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria, DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT) (2011)

Military service age and obligation
17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2006)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 2,998,201
Females age 16-49 2,919,107 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 2,446,131
Females age 16-49 2,375,590 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 72,823
Female 69,108 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 29
3.8% of GDP (2006 est.)

Military - note
The collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the Cuban military of its major economic and logistic support and had a significant impact on the state of Cuban equipment; the army remains well trained and professional in nature; while the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment has increasingly affected operational capabilities, Cuba remains able to offer considerable resistance to any regional power (2010)


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  Cuba (Havana):


  GPS points from Cuba (Havana)

Congojas Provincia De Cienfuegos

Cubanacan Provincia De Camaguey

Corojo Provincia De Cienfuegos

Cayo Palmar Provincia De Matanzas

San Ramon Provincia De Matanzas

Triunfana Provincia De Matanzas

Arroyo Araujo Provincia De Villa Clara

Milagro Provincia De Matanzas




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