Cuba - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Cuba's infrastructure , power system, and communications are all in need of improvement. In 1959 Cuba was one of the most advanced countries in Latin America, but much of the infrastructure has not been updated since the revolution. For example, many of the 29,800 kilometers (18,476 miles) of roads that were listed as paved in 1996 were done so before 1959, and have not been maintained. The original pre-Revolutionary water and sewerage systems were installed using U.S.-made equipment, for which replacement parts are unavailable due to the U.S. trade embargo. Of the 170 airports in Cuba, only 77 had paved runways.

As an island Cuba's ports and harbors are especially important. Cuba's 7 main ports and harbors included Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, and Santiago de Cuba. The country's merchant marine fleet comprised 15 ships: 1 bulk, 7 cargo, 1 liquefied gas, 1 petroleum tanker, and 5 refrigerated cargo.

Communications systems have seen little change. In 2000 Cuba had about the same number of phone lines as in 1959. There were 353,000 main lines in use and 1,939 cellular phone contracts in 1995. At the same time, Cuba had only slightly more electrical lines, and fewer automobiles on the road (24 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in 1959 as opposed to 23 per 1,000 in 1988) than it did before the revolution. Many of the cars on the road in 2000 dated back to the 1950s. Public transportation was inefficient and overcrowded, and private transportation was difficult because of the lack of available spare parts and the general lack of fuel. Vehicle owners regularly used their cars as a taxi service, commonly charging a small fee to people who need rides. Very few people had access to computers. There were some in government offices

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Cuba 118 353 239 0.0 0 N/A N/A 0.06 35
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Mexico 97 325 261 15.7 35 3.0 47.0 23.02 1,822
Jamaica 62 480 182 73.1 22 N/A 39.4 1.04 60
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

and few in the universities. By 1999 Cuba had 1 Internet service provider.

Cuba produced 15 billion kWh of electricity in 1998 and consumed 14 billion kWh. Cuba did not use nuclear plants to generate any of its power, but was working toward that goal, and is predicted to have the ability in 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration of the United States.

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