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Foreign relations of Cuba

Cuba's once-ambitious foreign policy has been scaled back and redirected as a result of economic hardship and the end of the Cold War. Cuba aims to find new sources of trade, aid, and foreign investment, and to promote opposition to U.S. policy, especially the trade embargo and the 1996 Libertad Act. Cuba has relations with over 160 countries and has civilian assistance workers -- principally medical -- in more than 20 nations.

Cuba appears to have largely abandoned the support for guerrilla movements that typified its involvement in regional politics in Latin America and Africa. In the past, Cuba's support for Latin guerrilla movements, its Marxist-Leninist government, and its alignment with the U.S.S.R., had contributed to its isolation in the hemisphere. In January 1962, the Organization of American States (OAS) suspended Cuba. Cuba now has diplomatic or commercial relations with most countries in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba expanded its military presence abroad, spending millions of dollars in exporting revolutions; deployments reached 50,000 troops in Angola, 24,000 in Ethiopia, 1,500 in Nicaragua, and hundreds more elsewhere. In Angola, Cuban troops, supported logistically by the U.S.S.R., backed the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in its effort to take power after Portugal granted Angola its independence. Cuban forces played a key role in Ethiopia's war against Somalia and remained there in substantial numbers as a garrison force for a decade. Cubans served in a non-combat advisory role in Mozambique and the Congo. Cuba also used the Congo as a logistical support center for Cuba's Angola mission.

In the late 1980s, Cuba began to pull back militarily. Cuba unilaterally removed its forces from Ethiopia; met the timetable of the 1988 Angola-Namibia accords by completing the withdrawal of its forces from Angola before July 1991; and ended military assistance to Nicaragua following the Sandinistas' 1990 electoral defeat. In January 1992, following the peace agreement in El Salvador, Castro stated that Cuban support for insurgents was a thing of the past.

Disputes - international: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased to US and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease

Illicit drugs: territorial waters and air space serve as transshipment zone for cocaine bound for the US and Europe; established the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes in 1999

See also : Cuba



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