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Map of Cuba

map of Cuba
flag of the Republic of Cuba.

Republic of Cuba

Relationship with New Zealand

Trogon - the national bird of Cuba.
Trogon - the national bird of Cuba [1]

New Zealandís diplomatic representation to Cuba was established in 2001, and the first Cuban Ambassador resident in Wellington, Ambassador Jose Luis Robaina, was appointed in November 2007. The current Ambassador is Her Excellency Mrs Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro.

Trade and economic links

New Zealand’s most substantial link with Cuba is the dairy trade. This is a long standing link with Cuba although volumes can vary greatly from year to year. In the year to June 2014, total New Zealand exports to Cuba were valued at NZ$66 million, of which over NZ$64 million was dairy products. The trade is under-pinned by the Cuban Government’s policy to provide each Cuban child under 4 with a litre of liquid milk every day.

Trade is conducted mainly via ALIMPORT, the government agency responsible for importing foreign food for use in the domestic market.

Cuban exports to New Zealand average around NZ$1 million per year and consist of cigars, tobacco, rum and coffee.

Political links

Multilateral links

New Zealand and Cuba are both members of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand has voted in favour of United Nations resolutions calling for an end to the United States economic embargo.

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The most recent New Zealand ministerial visit to Cuba was by Foreign Minister Murray McCully in May 2014. Minister McCully also visited Cuba in October 2012. The most recent Cuban ministerial visit to New Zealand was by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in September 2014. High level contact between New Zealand and Cuba most frequently occurs in the context of international meetings.

Recent visits by high level New Zealanders to Cuba

Recent visits by high level Cubans to New Zealand

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Key facts


Official Name: Republic of Cuba
Land Area: 110,860 sq kms
Population: 11 million (2013 estimate)
Capital City: Havana
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic and Protestant
Official Language: Spanish
Currencies: Cuban Peso (CUP) and Convertible Peso (CUC)
Exchange Rates: Official internal exchange rate - CUP:CUC = 1.00
Unofficial internal exchange rate: CUP:CUC = 24.00 (available only domestically, for personal transactions).
Official external exchange rate CUP:US$ = 0.93
Unofficial external exchange rate CUP:US$ = 22.22 (used domestically, for personal transactions).


Political system: Communist State
National government: Organs of the state and the Cuban Communist Party are closely entwined and power devolved primarily from the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers
National legislature: National Assembly of 614 members
Last elections: Provincial and national assemblies: February 2013.
Next elections due: Provincial and national assembles: 2018
Head of State: Raúl Castro Ruz
Head of Government: Raúl Castro Ruz
President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers: Raúl Castro Ruz
First Vice-President of the Council of State: Miguel Diaz-Canal Bermudez
President of the National Assembly: Esteban Lazo Hernandez

Key Ministers
Foreign Affairs: Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Agriculture: Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero
Foreign Trade and Investment: Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz
Economy & Planning: Adel Onofre Yzquirdo Rordriguez
Finance & Prices: Lina Olinda Pedraza Rodríguez

Main political parties
Only one legal political party: the Cuban Communist Party (PCC)


Nominal GDP: US$82.1 billion
Nominal GDP per capita (PPP): US$11,956
Real GDP Growth: 1.3%
Inflation rate: 5.3%
Main industries: tourism, nickel, tobacco, sugar, agriculture and rum.
Total external debt: US$25.2 billion
Exports of Goods FOB: US$5.5 billion
Imports of Goods FOB: US$15.0 billion
Main exports: nickel, tobacco products, sugar and by-products, medicines

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – 2014 estimates


Trade with New Zealand

New Zealand Exports (FOB) NZ$66 million
Main Exports Dairy

New Zealand Imports (CIF) NZ$1 million

Main Imports Cigars & tobacco, alcohol, coffee

Source: Statistics New Zealand (year to June 2014)

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The New Zealand Embassy in Mexico City [external link] is accredited to Cuba.

The Cuban Embassy in Wellington is accredited to New Zealand.


Travel advice

The SafeTravel website [external link] provides a travel advisory for travellers to Cuba.

Further enquiries may be directed to:

Consular Division

Tel: +64 4 439 8000

Fax: +64 4 439 8532

Email: cons@mfat.govt.nz



[1] The Cuban Trogon or Tocororo (Priotelus temnurus) is a species of bird in the Trogonidae family. It is endemic to the Caribbean island of Cuba, where it is also the national bird. Its natural habitats are dry forests, moist forests, and heavily degraded former forest.

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 27 January 2015 15:07 NZDT