CUBA INFORMATION

The culture of Cuba is a complex mixture of different, often contradicting, factors and influences. Cuba is a meeting point of African, European cultures.

State and Government
The supreme organ of power is the People's Power National Assembly, which has constitutional and legislatives authority. It is elected by free, direct and secret vote. It holds two ordinary sessions and meets extraordinarily when requested by more than 50 percent of deputies. The People's Power National Assembly appoints the Council of State, which is the organ that represents it between sessions, has a collegiate nature and, for national and international purposes, is the maximum representative of the State. The president of the Council of State is the president of the Republic.
The State's executive function is performed through the Council of Ministers, which is the maximum executive and administrative organ, and makes up the Government of the Republic. Its members are appointed by the People's Power National Assembly at the proposal of the Council of State.
The People's Supreme Court and the other tribunals exercise the judicial function. The tribunals make up a system of state organs that are structured with functional independence from any other and are hierarchically subordinated to the People's Power National Assembly and to the Council of State.

Political geographical division
Administratively, Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and one special municipality not included in any province. The last modification was approved in August 2010 (by the Cuban National Assembly), splitting Havana province into two new provinces: Artemisa (which incorporates the three eastern municipalities of the neighbour Pinar del Río) and Mayabeque. The new provinces started functioning from January 1, 2011. Havana City Province (Ciudad de La Habana) recovered its original name: La Habana (Havana in English).

The new division is a follow:
• Pinar del Río
• Artemisa
• La Habana
• Mayabeque
• Matanzas
• Cienfuegos
• Villa Clara
• Sancti Spíritus
• Ciego de Ávila
• Camagüey
• Las Tunas
• Granma
• Holguín
• Santiago de Cuba
• Guantánamo
• Isla de la Juventud is a "special municipality". Isla de la Juventud ("Island of Youth") was known until the 1970s as the Isla de Pinos ("Isle of Pines").

The criteria for the creation of the new limits between provinces consisted of the similarity in the characteristics of fundamental indicators, like extension, population and economic conditions.

Main Cities
The City of Havana, capital of the Republic of Cuba, it has almost 3 million inhabitants and covers and area of 739 km2. This city is located on the north coast of the western region of Cuba, facing the Florida Straight. There are other important cities considering their economic development and density of population, as it is the case of: Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Ciego de Avila, Bayamo y Guantánamo.

Population
The total population of Cuba accounts for more than 11 million people, in a peculiar mixture of Spaniards, Africans and Asians.

Climate
Moderate subtropical. The Cuban territory grazes the Tropic of Cancer, and due to its long and narrow configuration, on an east-west axis, it receives the refreshing action of the trade winds and the sea breezes. During the short winter, it is cooled by masses of cold air from the North; those cold fronts do not last long. The day and night temperatures differ less in the coastal regions than inland. The eastern part of the country has a warmer climate than the western part.

Temperature
Average temperature 24,6º C (76,3º F) Summer average 25º C (77º F) Winter average 22º C (71,6º F)

Seasons
There are two, clearly defined: the dry season, from November through April; and the rainy season, from May through October. The average annual precipitation is 1 375 mm.

Economy
The tourism is the main line. Other important industries are the sugar cane, tobacco, nickel, rum, coffee, and since a few years ago, the pharmaceutic and biotechnological lines.

Education
Education is free and obligatory until the ninth grade. In 1961, illiteracy was eradicated and today the population has a high instruction level. Cuba's national system of education comprehends from day care centers for working mothers' children to universities disseminated throughout the whole country.

Culture
A country prodigal in artistic and creative manifestations. It has made contributions to international culture with important names of writers, thinkers, dancers, musicians, painters, poets and singers. Cuban craftwork is interesting, with outstanding works in leather, vegetable fibers, wood, stone, metal and sea products. Cuba's cultural infrastructure consists of theaters, museums, art galleries and cinemas, where not only samples of the national wealth of all times are shown, but also of world art. It is the seat of important international events such as the Ballet Festival, the biennial of visual arts, popular music festivals and the Festival of the New Latin American Cinema, among others.

Health
Cuba's health system is said to have one of the world's most complete programs of primary attention, the lowest of infantile mortality rate in Latin América and free services for all the people.

Sports
Excellent olympic results, a highlighted place in world sports and the massive and free practice in the country make Cuba proud and are counted among the achievements of the people in the past 40 years.

Religion
Lay country with freedom of cults. Catholic and Afro-Cuban religions prevail, although other tendencies also exist.

Official Commemorations
Although they are not holidays, they are also considered important dates: January 28: Anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Cuba's National Hero, in 1853. February 24: Anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence, in 1895. March 8: International Woman's Day. March 13: Anniversary of the attack to the Presidential Palace of Havana, by a group of revolutionary youths that sought to execute the tyrant Fulgencio Batista, in 1957. April 19: Anniversary of the defeat of the mercenary attack at the Bay of Pigs, in 1961. July 30: Day of the Martyrs of the Revolution. October 8: Anniversary of the death of Major Ernesto Ché Guevara, in 1967. October 28: Anniversary of Major Camilo Cienfuegos’ death, in 1959. November 27: Commemoration of the execution of eight students of Medicine, by the Spanish colonial government, in 1871. December 7: Anniversary of Antonio Maceo's death in combat in 1896, an outstanding figure in Cuba’s War of Independence against the Spanish colonial rule.