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Island in the Caribbean Sea, ruled since 1959 by the República de Cuba

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, (Spanish: República de Cuba) is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (109,884 square kilometers without the territorial waters). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers, and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Geographical type: Island Group

Latitude: 22° N — Longitude: 80° W

Area: 109,884 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: CU

Measures of Freedom

Cuba | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2022
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 15, Political Rights: 7, Civil Liberties: 6
In July 2015, Cuba and the United States reopened embassies in one another's capitals, officially reestablishing diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of cut ties. By January 2015, the government had freed all of the 53 political prisoners whose release the United States had requested in prior negotiations. Two dissidents were allowed to run as candidates in April elections to Cuba's municipal councils, though neither was successful.


An Anti-Democracy Foreign Policy: Guatemala, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 11 Feb 2005
Describes the 1954 CIA-engineered coup d'état in Guatemala and the subsequent military regimes, also touching on the attempts to seek regime change in Cuba and the 1973 CIA-supported ouster of Allende in Chile
The CIA's easy "success" in Iran and Guatemala then drove it to seek regime change in Cuba, where President Fidel Castro's steadfast refusal to do the bidding of U.S. officials led not only to the Bay of Pigs disaster but also to the U.S. government's 45-year obsession with ousting Castro from power. (While Castro is an unelected communist dictator, it has never been a lack of democracy in Cuba that has driven the U.S. government's obsession with ousting him from power. Instead, [it] is rooted in Castro's longtime, steadfast commitment to keeping Cuba independent of U.S. government control ...)
Capitalism Should Be Our Weapon of Choice in Cuba, by Rand Paul, 20 Jun 2017
Argues that instead of tightening the embargo and severing relations with Cuba, the United States government should allow free trade with and travel with the island
Engagement or embargo? That is the question ... Which will have more impact? For over half a century, we have had an embargo with Cuba. Not only did the Castros survive it, but they milked it for everything it was worth. As the only source of information on the island for decades, they stoked the nationalism of those Cubans who remained in Cuba to blame America for any of their shortages, instead of the true culprit: socialism. The embargo did nothing to defeat Castro—absolutely nothing. It is possible it kept him in power longer because of the ability the embargo gave him to further control his people.
Related Topic: Capitalism
Castro Gets Stoned, by Emiliano Antunez, Strike The Root, 5 Apr 2004
About the HBO documentary Looking for Fidel, directed by Oliver Stone.
Che at the Marches, by Humberto Fontova, 29 May 2006
The result was ... an economy formerly stronger than half of Europe's nations, crumpled into a smoldering ash heap. ... The Soviets ended up pumping the equivalent of eight Marshall Plans into Cuba. And Cuba was not a war-ravaged continent of 300 million in 1960. It was a nation of 6.5 million [whose] citizens formerly earned more than Taiwan's, Japan's and Spain's.
How to Hurt Castro, by Jeff Flake, The New York Times, 12 May 2003
A genuine get-tough policy with Cuba would export something Americans know a little about: freedom. Let's get rid of travel license applications altogether. ... We should heed this advice and end the American policy of Soviet-style travel controls. All Americans should be free to go to Cuba without government interference.
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
Since the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, the CIA has engaged in similar disguised assaults on the governments of Guatemala (1954); the Congo (1960); Cuba (1961); Brazil (1964); Indonesia (1965); Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-73); Greece (1967); Chile (1973); Afghanistan (1979 to the present); El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s); and Iraq (1991 to the present) -- to name only the most obvious cases.
A Libertarian Visits Cuba, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, May 1999
Reviews Cuban history from their independence war, through the Batista regime, the Castro revolution, the Bay of Pigs invasion and more current events, leading up to a week's visit to Cuba to study their socialist system
In the late 1800s, the Cuban people revolted against Spanish rule and for many years were engaged in a brutal war for independence ... The father of Cuban independence, José Martí, who was killed in the war, had warned the Cubans to beware of U.S. government "assistance" ... Throughout much of the 20th century, Cuban presidents were often simply puppets whose strings were pulled by Washington ... [I]n 1952 ... Fulgencio Batista reassumed the presidency ... In July 1953, Castro began the Cuban revolution with an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, but he was captured and put on trial.
A Libertarian Visits Cuba, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jul 1999
Describes the meetings Hornberger had while conducting an informal study of socialism in Cuba, with "hard-liners" and reformers at research centers as well as people on the street
It is a serious criminal offense in Cuba for anyone to question the Cuban revolution—which entails both Fidel Castro's assumption of power and Cuba's socialist economic system ... The advocates of reform have to be extremely careful to phrase their proposals ... [O]ne research-center person explained that black-market cooperation is the way that many Cubans are surviving. (The average salary is about $7-$10 a month in Cuban pesos.) He said that people in neighborhoods are illegally entering into joint ventures in such things as home-repair businesses, room rentals, home restaurants, and the like.
A Libertarian Visits Cuba, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Aug 1999
Describes how, when asked to explain libertarianism, Hornberger highlighted American socialist programs, challenged by libertarians but similar to those in Cuba, and then various conversations he had with ordinary Cubans
One afternoon, I began conversing with a man who was riding his bicycle. He asked me what I thought about Che Guevara (Fidel Castro's fellow revolutionary ... whose photograph appears throughout Cuba). Carefully choosing my words, I said that I prefered José Martí (the father of Cuban independence ...). He smiled, and I asked him how life was for him. He explained that he did not have enough money to purchase shoes for his children. I asked him, "What do you think of a system in which the state owns everything and everyone works for the state?" He looked around and whispered, "¡Mierda!"
Movie Critics Aghast at Andy Garcia's The Lost City, by Humberto Fontova, 2 May 2006
The Anti-Batista rebellion was led and staffed overwhelmingly by Cuba's middle - and especially, upper - class. To wit: in August of 1957 Castro's rebel movement called for a 'National Strike' against the Batista dictatorship - and threatened to shoot workers who reported to work. The 'National Strike' was completely ignored.
The Ominous Republican Hold on Congress, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Jan 2015
Comments on what may be expected with respect to war and foreign intervention from the Republican-controlled Senate in 2015, considering also the inconsistent policy stances of Barack Obama
Barack Obama has gone back to war ... while ... maintaining the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ... The congressional Republicans can also be expected to block Obama's proposal to normalize relations with Cuba. Republicans like to portray themselves as advocates of strictly limited government, but somehow those limits include the power to reform the Cuban government. How can that be? If they believe this is a matter of national security, as Ted Cruz says, then it shows how ridiculous his party is. How exactly does Cuba pose a threat to the American people — if indeed that's what "national security" is supposed to mean.
The Sanctity of Private Property, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Jan 1991
Contrasts the attitudes of 20th century American citizens towards international trade and the oil business to citizens in communist countries, the former believing they live under a "private property" system which is not socialistic in nature
In Cuba, a nation guided by the principles of free public housing, free medical care, free public schooling, and subsidized food for the populace, people are not permitted to sell goods and services to others around the world without the permission of their government officials. The government takes the position that all property ultimately belongs to "the people" and ... subject to political control ... [U.S.] officials justify [the trade] prohibition on the basis that the Cuban ruler, Fidel Castro, is a bad communist (as compared to the apparently "good" communists of Red China ...).
The Secret State, by Carl Oglesby, 19 Dec 1991
Details various events from the dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro, which Oglesby said are reason to be worried about "a secret and invisible state within the public state"
1960–61: Operation Zapata
Castro warned that the United States was preparing an invasion of Cuba, but this was 1960 and we all laughed ...
1960–63: Task Force W
Only because someone still anonymous inside the CIA decided to talk about it to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, we discovered that the CIA's operations directorate decided in September 1960: (a) that it would be good thing to murder Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders, (b) that it would be appropriate to hire the Mafia to carry these assassinations out, and (c) that there would be no need to tell the President ...
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 1, by Joseph R. Stromberg, Freedom Daily, Dec 1998
Describes the political and other forces that led to the Spanish-American War, the military actions in Cuba and the Philippines and the immediate aftermath
As it took office, the new [McKinley] administration confronted the popular Cuban revolution against Spanish rule, which had broken out in 1895. This rebellion disrupted trade and threatened American investments (and even lives) in Cuba. ... Spanish forces in Cuba resorted to counterinsurgency warfare in an attempt to retain control, herding the civil population into centers of reconcentración to keep them from supporting the rebels. Thousands died. Cuban propagandists understandably exploited real Spanish atrocities while “yellow journalists” in the American press made others up.
Totalitarian Busybodies: The horrors of the Stasi's East Germany, by Glenn Garvin, Reason, Jan 2006
Review of Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder and After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life That Came Next by Jana Hensel
In ... Cuba ..., the [government] created watch committees on every block ... called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution ... They encouraged neighbors to engage in 'revolutionary vigilance'—that is, to rat out one another for anything ... that seemed suspicious or contrary to the regime's moral and political orthodoxies.
Related Topics: Germany, Nicaragua
The U.S. Government Still Tries to Subvert Cuba, by Sheldon Richman, 6 Aug 2014
Comments on the 2014 disclosure that operatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development attempted to incite opposition to the Cuban government
The AP concludes, "There's no evidence that the program advanced the mission to create a pro-democracy movement against the government of Raul Castro." That makes the U.S. government's 53-year-long campaign for regime change in Cuba a perfect failure. Repeated efforts to spark an anti-Castro revolution or to kill the revolutionary-turned-dictator did nothing but strengthen the government's power. The embargo that the U.S. government imposed on Cuba in 1960, and which remains in force today, has given the Castros an excuse for the chronic hardship that Cubans suffer and has brought the people no closer to freedom.
Related Topics: John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama
U.S. Hypocrisy in Cuba, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 26 May 2006
Comments on a propaganda billboard posted by the U.S. Special Interest Section in Havana for Cubans to read, one of its messages stating "In a free country you don’t need permission to leave the country. Is Cuba a free country?"
[E]very U.S. official—and especially those working in Cuba—knows that if a Cuban leaves ... to come to the United States, U.S. officials will attack the immigrant on the high seas and, in cooperation with Castro's gendarmes, forcibly repatriate him (or her) to Cuban communist tyranny ... [W]hile Cubans need permission to leave Cuba, they also need permission from U.S. officials to enter the United States, and if they don't secure [it] U.S. officials forcibly return them to Cuba. But the hypocrisy is even worse ... [G]uess what Americans need in order to travel to Cuba? Permission—from U.S. officials!
Related Topics: Socialism, United States
The "Value" of Public Schooling, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines public schooling, first comparing it to military boot camp and the draft, then discussing indoctrination in "officially approved" ideas via approved textbooks, and imagining a teacher going against the established doctrines
[T]hat's ... how things work in Cuba, where public schooling is one of Fidel Castro's proudest accomplishments (along with government-provided health care). It's illegal for any public-school teacher in Cuba to challenge the Cuban system. But as long as arguments are couched in terms of "improving the Revolution," teachers have some degree of flexibility ... Do you recall the big battle of Elián, the young boy whose mother died while trying to escape Cuba and make it to the United States? ... Today, Elián praises Fidel Castro and the Cuban system[, which] involves free education and free health care.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cuba" as of 30 Sep 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.