Cuba is best known for its politics. Whether that is a good or bad thing is certainly up for debate. Cuba is an Independent Socialist Republic with only one political party, the Cuban Communist Party. Here’s some interesting facts about Cuba’s politics.
1. Fidel Castro was the longest serving head of government, serving from 1976 up until he became ill and stepped down in 2008, a total of 49 years of power.
2. The current head of government is former vice president, Raúl Castro, who also happens to be the younger brother of former head of government, Fidel Castro.
3. Cuba does not just have a single vice president, there are 5 serving vice presidents.
4. In 2008 elections, both Fidel and Raúl Castro were reelected along with 614 unopposed candidates.
5. The Ministry of Armed Forces (MINFAR) is almost completely self-supported because the government hasn’t been able to fund it since before the 1980s. MINFAR has an agricultural project to grow its own food. They also started a tourism company to help raise funds.
6. The Cuban economy is largely state controlled, 75% of the labor force is employed by the government.
7. Up until October 2012, all Cuban residents needed an exit visa to leave the country. President Raúl Castro changed that requirement and now allows Cuban citizens to stay abroad for up to 2 years without losing citizenship.
8. The government outlines strict policies for internet usage within Cuban. Not everyone is given permission to use the internet and offenders are subject to a 5-year term in jail.
9. Cuba does not have diplomatic relations with the United States, Czech Republic, South Korea, Costa Rica, El Salvador, or Israel.
10. The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a “socialist republic” was thrown out and replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is “guided by the ideas of José Martí, and the political and social ideas fo Marx, Engels, and Lenin.” It also states that the Cuban Communist Party can be the only political party within Cuba.
Cuba is certainly full of unique politics. The US and Cuba have had many issues in the past, both over travel between the two countries, weapon development, and disagreements in political policies. While things seem to be easing up just a little bit in Cuba, the country seems a long way off from a freer society with more political options.
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