Government, Legal System and Economy

    ECONOMY

    Since 1961, when Fidel Castro formal announced that Cuba was a “socialist” country, Cuba’s economy policy has been loosely-based on the concept of state collective ideals. However, in recent years, following the collapse of many of Cuba’s traditional allies and trading partners within the former Eastern block, the government of Cuba has undertaken reforms to increase individual capitalist policies.

     

    The average Cuba currently earns (relatively speaking), due to rampant declines in the economy, less than used to be the case. However, slowly but surely Cuba is now moving away from its old communist ideals and is starting to embrace more freely the free-market economy ideals of the Western nations.

     

    Currency: Cuban Peso

    GDP: US$20 billion

    Annual Growth Rate: 2.5 percent

    Exports: 1.8 billion

    Major Exports: Sugar, minerals, tobacco, agriculture, medicine and tourism

    Major Trading Nations: Western Europe, Latin America, Russia, China and North Korea

    POLITICAL SYSTEM:

    As a communist state, Cuba is a republic (as opposed to a kingdom) with a centralized form of government that is, in theory, closely associated with the workers of the country. Political power in Cuba vests with the Popular Power National Assembly – who nominate the Council of Ministers. The executive committee of the Council of Ministers is comprised of the president, first vice-president and the vice-presidents of the Council of Ministers.

    Between sittings of the Assembly, which meets twice a year, a 31-member Council of State runs the country. Members of the Council of State are elected from the National Assembly.

    Constitutionally the Communist Party is the only recognized political party in Cuba.

    LEGAL SYSTEM

    The highest court in Cuba is the People’s Supreme Court. The National Assembly elects judges on the Supreme Court. In addition, judges are also accountable to the National Assembly. The relevant Popular Power Assembly elects all provincial judges in Cuba.

    The Supreme Court consists of a president, vice-president. In the hierarchy of the Cuban judicial system, all other professional and lay-judges follow those appointed to the Supreme Court in the following manner: the Whole, the State Council, criminal, civil, administrative, labor, crimes-against-the-estate and military courts. However, although Supreme Court judges are accountable to the National Assembly, the system is based on the principle that all judges are independent and subject only to the law. How this manifests itself into a system where judges are elected and accountable public servants, subject to dismissal, is a subject of interest.

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