[Overview] Havana is Cuba's capital city and the center of the country's political, economic, and cultural activities. Located in the west of Cuba and on the country's north coast, the city is about 180 kilometers south of the Florida Keys. It occupies a strategic position beside the Florida Strait, which is an important maritime passage between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The city covers an area of 727 square kilometers and has a population of 2.13 million.
[Politics] Havana is one of the provinces of Cuba, with 15 districts under its jurisdiction. It is governed by the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Provincial Assembly of People's Power. The First Secretary of the Provincial Committee is appointed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, with a term of five years, renewable once. Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar has held this position since June 2018. The Provincial Assembly is headed by the president elected by the Provincial Assembly for a term of five years. As the Provincial Assembly has the dual functions of administration and city council, the president exercises the power of both mayor and council chairman. Reinaldo García Zapata, currently President of the Provincial Assembly of Havana, was elected in August 2016.
[Economy] Havana is Cuba's industrial center. Sugar, tobacco, textiles, and oil refining are the city's major industries. The city's top exports are sugar, cigars, and tropical fruits. In recent years, Havana has seen fast development of genetic engineering and biotechnology, and industrial application on a certain scale. Havana Harbor has a long and narrow inlet, with a nearshore water depth of 12 meters. The harbor can accommodate giant ocean-going ships. Over 50 percent of the country's exports moved through this harbor. Jose Marti International Airport, Cuba's largest international airport and also the city's only airport, is located in southwestern Havana.
[Culture and Education] Havana is composed of new and old towns. Old Havana, located on the peninsula on the west side of the Bay of Havana, boasts a fascinating mix of buildings which, about four centuries old, exhibit architectural styles ranging from neoclassical to Baroque. In 1982, Old Havana was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Located on the Caribbean coast, the New Town of Havana is the most modern urban area in Cuba. Havana has many cultural and entertainment facilities. The Tropicana Club in Havana, known as “Paradise under the Stars,” often stages shows featuring a tropical folk dance in Cuba, which has more than 50 years of history. The University of Havana, founded in 1728, is the oldest and largest university in Cuba and one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Latin America.
[Relations with Beijing] On September 24, 2005, Beijing and Havana established a sister city relationship. In recent years, the two cities have engaged in extensive exchanges and cooperation in the fields of Party building, investment, trade, and culture.
Party Building: In 2014, the First Secretary of the Havana Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Mercedes Lopez Acea, led a delegation to Beijing to attend the first theoretical seminar between the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of Cuba, and gave a keynote speech at the seminar. The participants shared experience in Party building and strengthened inter-Party exchanges between the two cities.
Investment and Trade: In 2012, Beijing Enterprises Holdings Limited won the bid for Cuba's Bellomonte Resort project. In 2013, the company set up a representative office in Havana and invested in a one-MW photovoltaic power plant project, which was connected to the grid in the same year.
Culture: In 2009, Beijing Language and Culture University opened a Confucius Institute at the University of Havana. In 2013, the Beijing Night Show and the Charming Beijing Photo Exhibition was held in Havana.