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Located in the northern tier of the Caribbean Sea with a population of 11.5 million (according to a July 2010 estimate), in terms of population Cuba ranks approximately in the middle of 20 Latin American nations occupying the hemisphere. Measured by landmass, the island occupies approximately as much territory as the state of Ohio. However, statistics aside, Cuba’s most notable distinction in modern history has been its significant influence on Latin America, the United States, and the world. This entry discusses the history of Cuba, focusing on its revolutions and its relationship with the Soviet Union and the United States.

Cuba has been governed by a one-party communist system since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. Due to Castro’s failing health, his brother Raul replaced him ...

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