Military of CubaNational security
Under Castro, Cuba became a highly militarized society. From 1975 until the late 1980s, massive Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities and project power abroad. The tonnage of Soviet military deliveries to Cuba throughout most of the 1980s exceeded deliveries in any year since the military build-up during the 1962 missile crisis. In 1990, Cuba's air force, with about 150 Soviet-supplied fighters, including advanced MiG-23 Floggers and MiG-29 Fulcrums, was probably the best equipped in Latin America. In 1994, Cuba's armed forces were estimated to have 235,000 active duty personnel.
Cuban military power has been sharply reduced by the loss of Soviet subsidies. Today, the Revolutionary Armed Forces number about 60,000 regular troops. The country's two paramilitary organizations, the Territorial Militia Troops and the Youth Labor Army, have a reduced training capability. Cuba also adopted a "war of the people" strategy that highlights the defensive nature of its capabilities.
In 1989, the government instituted a purge of the armed forces and the Ministry of Interior, convicting Army Major General Arnaldo Ochoa, Ministry of Interior Colonel Antonio de la Guardia, and Ministry of Interior Brigadier General Patricio de la Guardia on charges of corruption and drug trafficking. The high-profile action against these popular officers inspired rumors that the three had been moved aside because Cuban leader Castro feared their popularity. Ochoa and Antonio de la Guardia were executed. Following the executions, the Army was hugely downsized and the Ministry of Interior was moved under the informal control of Revolutionary Armed Forces chief General Raul Castro, and large numbers of army officers were moved into the Ministry of Interior.
The government has, however, maintained a large state security apparatus, under the Ministry of Interior, to repress dissent within Cuba.
Military branches: Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) includes ground forces, Revolutionary Navy (MGR), Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Territorial Troops Militia (MTT), and Youth Labor Army (EJT); the Border Guard (TGF) is controlled by the Interior Ministry
Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,079,352
females age 15-49: 3,022,063 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,906,172
females age 15-49: 1,865,369 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
females: 76,819 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: roughly 4% (FY95 est.)
Military - note: Moscow, for decades the key military supporter and supplier of Cuba, cut off almost all military aid by 1993
- See also : Cuba