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cuba-mapPopulation: 11,270,957

HDI ranking: 59/187

HDI score: 0.780

Due to Cuba’s communist rule, local governments are hardly autonomous and political processes tightly controlled. However, some civil society organizations do aim to promote political rights and participatory governance amongst the communist regime.

Local governance at a glance

  • Cuba is divided into 15 provinces plus one special province (Isla de la Juventud) and further divided into 168 municipalities.
  • The country’s elections are controlled by the Communist Party. Candidates are selected by candidacy commissions that are subordinate to the Party (Cubanet, 2007).
  • The capital city, Havana, has its own form of local government similar to the provinces and is made up of 19 urban municipalities (UCLG, 2008).

Fiscal control

  • Public spending on the local level is nearly 40 percent of total expenditure (UCLG, 2008).

Civil society actors include

  • The Center for a Free Cuba (CFC) promotes human rights and a shift toward democracy. CFC also assists with information outreach to citizens to promote access to information and inform the people of humanitarian programs.

Key initiatives for participatory local governance

  • Cuba’s Constitution was established in the 1970s and states that local governments adhere to “socialist democracy” principles (UCLG, 2008).
  • In September 2010, Cuba slightly reorganized its provincial territory designations, particularly around the capital city of Havana (Juventud Rebelde, 2010).

Challenges for participatory local governance

  • The Communist Party heavily influences the actions of local governments, controls media outlets and citizen access to the Internet (Human Rights Watch, 2012).
  • In practice, subnational governments have limited autonomy (UCLG, 2008).

Recent posts on this website about this country:

List of sources (in order of citation):

UN Human Development Index, 2012: “Cuba”

Cubanet, 2007: “Parliamentary Elections in today’s Cuba”

UCLG, 2008: “Cuba”

Juventud Rebelde, 2010: “Cuba con nueva división político-administrativa”

Human Rights Watch, 2012: “World Report 2012: Cuba”