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Cuba

Cuba is a totalitarian police state which relies on repressive methods to maintain control. These methods, including intense physical and electronic surveillance of Cubans, are also extended to foreign travelers. Americans visiting Cuba should be aware that any encounter with a Cuban could be subject to surreptitious scrutiny by the Castro regime's secret police, the General Directorate for State Security (DGSE). Also, any interactions with average Cubans, regardless of how well intentioned the American may be, can subject that Cuban to harassment. The regime is strongly anti-American, yet desperate for U.S. dollars to prop itself up. The United States does not have full diplomatic relations with Cuba, but provides consular and other services through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. The U.S.Interests Section operates under the legal protection of the Swiss government but is not co-located with the Swiss Embassy. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Cuba for additional information.

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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Cuba
Continent: Caribbean
Capital City: Havana
Boundary Countries:
Recommended Hospitals in Capital: Cienfuegos: Hospital Clinico Quirlurgico
Main Cities: Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo, Manzanillo, Las Tunas, Nuevitas, Santa Clara, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Bayamo
Country Size: 110,860 sq km
Population: 11,394,043

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Spanish

Currency: Cuban Peso (CUP) and Convertible Peso (CUC); note- Cuba has three currencies in circulation: the Cuban peso (CUP), the convertible peso (CUC), and the US Dollar (USD)
Predominant Religions:

nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented

National Holidays: Triumph of the Revolution, 1 January (1959)
Economic Status:

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s.

Security:

Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR): Revolutionary Army (ER), Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, MGR), Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (EJT)

US Presence:

none; note- the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Michael E. Parmley. The Interests Section is located in Havana at Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado; telephone (537) 833-3551 through 833-3559. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:00a to 4:30p, and Friday, 8:00a to 3:30p. For emergency assistance after hours and on weekends, individuals should call (537) 833-3026 and request to speak with the duty officer.

Document Requirements:

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS /TRAVEL TRANSACTION LIMITATIONS:  The Cuban Assets Control Regulations are enforced by the U.S. Treasury Department and affect all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically located in the United States, and all branches and subsidiaries of U.S. organizations throughout the world. The regulations require that persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction be licensed in order to engage in any travel-related transactions pursuant to travel to, from, and within Cuba. Transactions related to tourist travel are not licensable. This restriction includes tourist travel to Cuba from or through a third country such as Mexico or Canada. U.S. law enforcement authorities have increased enforcement of these regulations at U.S. airports and pre-clearance facilities in third countries. Travelers who fail to comply with Department of Treasury regulations could face civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return to the United States. For the latest information on travel to Cuba and to view the most accurate and updated travel restrictions information, please see: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/cuba/cuba.shtml.

The Department of State has a lengthy description of the various visas and circumstances pertaining specifically to Cuba, so it is advisable to review the Department of State information for travel to Cuba at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1097.html.

Major Airports:

Airports:  170,  Airports with paved runways:  78

La Havana- Jose Marti International Airport (HAV/MUHA)
Havana Airport, Cuba, Rancho Boyeros, Havana, CUBA
Tel: +53 (0)6 497 063
Fax: +53 (0)6 495 723
E-mail: aijm@hav.ecasa.avianet.cu
Website: www.airportcuba.com/?Action=Airport_JM
Customs, hours: 24 hours

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

In the opening months of 2003, there were numerous attempts to hijack aircraft and ocean-going vessels by Cubans seeking to depart from Cuba. Accordingly, U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling by public transportation within Cuba.The waters around Cuba can be dangerous to navigation.

Cuba is a totalitarian police state, which relies on repressive methods to maintain control.These methods,including intense physical and electronic surveillance of Cubans, are also extended to foreign travelers.Americans visiting Cuba should be aware that any encounter with a Cuban could be subject to surreptitious scrutiny by the Castro regime's secret police, the General Directorate for State Security (DGSE).Also, any interactions with average Cubans, regardless how well intentioned the American is,can subject that Cuban to harassment and/or detention, and other forms of repressive actions, by state security elements. The regime is strongly anti-American yet desperate for U.S. dollars to prop itself up.

Cuba is a hurricane prone country.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 6.04 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 77.08 years (male 74.85/female 79.43)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, Rabies
Boosters: MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes in this region. Cutaneous larval migrans is a risk for travelers with exposures on beaches and leptospirosis is present. There remains very limited risk of schistosomiasis in few areas. Other hazards for travelers include toxic fish poisoning.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical care does not meet U.S. standards. While medical professionals are generally competent, many health facilities face shortages of medical supplies and bed space. Travelers to the Havana area should be aware that U.S.and other foreign visitors are limited to using only the “tourist” Cira Garcia Hospital located in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana. Treatment at Cira Garcia and any other medical consultation would require that U.S. travelers pay in cash. No medical facility in Cuba will accept U.S. issued insurance cards and medical services will need to be paid for in cash.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 16
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Cutaneous larval migrans is a risk for travelers with exposures on beaches and leptospirosis is common in many areas and poses a risk to travelers engaged in recreational freshwater activities.  Such activities may include whitewater rafting, kayaking, adventure racing, or hiking. Endemic leptospirosis is reported in Jamaica. Travelers to regions in Jamaica can reduce their risk to leptospirosis by avoiding activities which expose them to contaminated fresh surface water. Outbreaks of ciguatera poisoning, which results from eating toxin-containing reef fish, have occurred on many islands.Endemic foci of histoplasmosis are found on many Caribbean islands, and outbreaks have occurred in travelers.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +53
Internet Country Code:  .cu

 



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