Cuba

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 August 2017

Summary: State Party Cuba acceded to the convention on 6 April 2016 after participating in the convention’s First Review Conference and voting in favor of a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2015.

Cuba provided its transparency report for the convention in March 2017, confirming that it has never produced cluster munitions, but did import them. It possesses a stockpile of 1,856 cluster munitions and an unspecified quantity of submunitions.

Policy

The Republic of Cuba acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 6 April 2016 and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 October 2016.

Cuba has reported certain provisions of its Penal Code and three relevant laws under its national implementation measures for the convention.[1] In October 2016, it informed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security that it is applying the convention’s provisions.[2]

Cuba provided its initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention on 30 March 2017.[3] It did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it attended some of the convention’s meetings as an observer.

While Cuba regularly expressed support for the humanitarian rational of banning cluster munitions, it never expressed explicit support for the convention or gave any indication that it was considering accession until the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in September 2015. During the high-level segment, Cuba’s representative Ambassador Rodolfo Benitez Verson announced that Cuba was preparing to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the near future.[4] Cuba subsequently deposited its instrument of accession with the UN on 6 April 2016 in a handover witnessed by the director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).[5]

Before acceding, Cuba voted in favor of the first UNGA resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2015, which called on states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[6] In December 2016, Cuba voted in favor of a subsequent UNGA resolution promoting implementation of the convention.[7]

Cuba participated as a State Party in the convention’s Sixth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2016. Previously, it participated as an observer in the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2010, 2011, 2014, as well as the First Review Conference and an intersessional meeting in 2015. Cuba gave a presentation to a South East Europe regional seminar on landmines and cluster munitions in Rakitje, Croatia, on 12–13 June 2017.[8]

In the past, Cuba strongly objected to the way in which the Convention on Cluster Munitions was concluded outside of UN auspices and expressed concern with certain provisions, such as the definition of cluster munitions and “interoperability” provisions contained in Article 21 on relations with states not party to the convention.[9]

Cuba is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Cuba is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, production, and transfer

In March 2017, Cuba reported that it has no cluster munition production facilities.[10] It is not known to have used or exported cluster munitions.

Stockpiling and destruction

In its initial Article 7 report submitted in March 2017, Cuba declared a stockpile of 1,856 cluster munitions and an unspecified quantity of submunitions, as listed in the following table.

Cluster munitions stockpiled by Cuba (as of 31 December 2016)[11]

Type

Quantity of cluster munitions

RBK-250 AO

282

RBK-250 PTAB

663

BKF AO

336

BKF PTAB

382

RBK-250 ZAB

193

Total

1,856

 

The stockpile includes air-dropped bombs and cartridges for KMGU submunition dispensers. Cuba did not, but should, declare the KMGU dispensers.

Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Cuba is required to destroy all stockpiled cluster munitions under its jurisdiction and control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 October 2026.

Cuba has committed to destroy the stocks by the deadline in accordance with relevant environmental and safety measures and applicable national and international standards and procedures.

Cuba has reported that it is not retaining any cluster munitions for research or training purposes.[12]



[2] Statement of Cuba, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 30 October 2016.

[3] The report covers the period from 1 October 2016 to 30 March 2017.

[4] Statement of Cuba, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 11 September 2015.

[5] CMC, “Cuba Bans Cluster Munitions,” 6 April 2016.

[6]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016.

[8] Presentation of Cuba, South East Europe Regional Seminar on the Country Coalition Concept, Rakitje, Croatia, 12–13 June 2017.

[9] Statement of Cuba, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014.

[11] Ibid., Form B. From the information provided by Cuba, it is not possible to determine at this point the quantity of explosive submunitions contained in the types stockpiled. Cuba has included incendiary weapons (RBK-ZAB bombs) as part of its stockpile, which are not covered by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 October 2017

Policy

The Republic of Cuba has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

In November 2014, Cuba stated that it fully shares the genuine humanitarian concerns relating to the indiscriminate use of antipersonnel landmines.[1] However, its policy on accession to the Mine Ban Treaty has not evolved in recent years.

By comparison, Cuba acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 6 April 2016.[2] It previously objected to the way in which the Convention on Cluster Munitions, like the Mine Ban Treaty, was concluded outside of UN auspices. Cuba also expressed concern with certain provisions, such as the definition of cluster munitions and “interoperability” provisions contained in Article 21 on relations with states not party to the convention.  

In 2009, Cuba told States Parties that antipersonnel mines were an important part of its defense strategy and that its mines emplaced around Guantanamo Bay were only for territorial defense and security.[3] In 2009, Cuba expressed support for the humanitarian aspects of the Mine Ban Treaty, but said it would only be able to consider a change in policy if the United States (US) were to sign a peace agreement or non-aggression agreement with Cuba.[4] In 2010, Cuba stated that it could not renounce the use of mines for the preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, due to “continuous hostility and aggression by the military superpower.”[5]

Cuba participated as an observer in the treaty’s First Review Conference in 2004 and Second Review Conference in 2009, but was absent from the Third Review Conference held in Maputo, Mozambique, in June 2014. It attended the first four annual Meetings of States Parties of the treaty, but has not participated in any since the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in 2006. It was invited to, but did not participate in the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago, Chile, in November 2016.

Cuba participated in every meeting of the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committee until 2003, but has attended few intersessional meetings since then.

On 5 December 2016, Cuba abstained from voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 71/34 calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has done in previous years.

Cuba is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) including its Protocol II on landmines. Cuba has not ratified the CCW’s Amended Protocol II on landmines but states that it complies with its requirements.[6]

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Cuba has declined to provide information about its mine use, production, transfer, and stockpiling.[7] Cuba has also said it carries out “a strict policy with regard to guaranteeing a responsible use of antipersonnel mines with an exclusively defensive character and for [Cuba’s] national security.”[8]

In the absence of any denial or clarification from the government, Cuba’s state-owned Union of Military Industries (Unión de las Industrias Militares) is believed to continue to produce antipersonnel mines.[9] Since 1996, Cuba has stated on several occasions that it does not and has never exported antipersonnel mines.[10] There is no official information available on the size and composition of Cuba’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines. [11]



[1] Statement of Cuba, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Annual Meeting, 12 November 2014. Notes by the ICBL.

[2] See, ICBL, “Country Profile: Cuba: Cluster Munition Ban Policy,” 3 August 2017.

[3] Statement by Miguel Jiménez Aday, Counselor, Embassy of Cuba in Colombia, Second Review Conference, Mine Ban Treaty, Cartagena, 4 December 2009. Notes by the Monitor. According to the United States (US), the minefields were laid in 1983, immediately following the US invasion of Grenada. Joint Task Force Guantanamo, “A historical look at Guantanamo Bay and the Northeast Gate,” undated.

[4] Notes from ICBL meeting with Amb. Rodolfo Benítez Versón, Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN in New York, 15 October 2009.

[5] “Cuba comparte plenamente las legítimas preocupaciones humanitarias asociadas al uso indiscriminado e irresponsible de las minas antipersonales…Cuba ha estado sometida durante más de 50 años a une política de continua hostilidad y aggresión por parte de la superpotencia militar. En consecuencia, a nuestro país no le resulta posible renunciar al uso de las minas para la preservación de su soberanía e integridad territorial.” Statement of Cuba, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee, New York, 27 October 2010.

[6] Explanation of Vote of Cuba on the [UNGA] Draft Resolution L.53 [on the Mine Ban Treaty], UNGA First Committee, New York, 29 October 2009.

[7] Email from Amb. Versón, Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, 11 March 2011, noted that the questionnaire had been forwarded to Havana.

[8] Statement by Rebeca Hernández Toledano, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, “Item 29: Assistance in mine action,” UNGA Fourth Committee, New York, 6 November 2007.

[9] Jane’s Information Group lists Cuba as producing three types of antipersonnel mines (a plastic blast mine and two types of stake-mounted fragmentation mines) as well as an antivehicle mine. See, Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance 2008, CD-edition (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008). According to the US Department of Defense, Cuba has produced three different types of antipersonnel mines: PMFC-1 and PMFH-1 fragmentation mines and the PMM-1 wooden box mine. US Department of Defense, “ORDATA Online,” undated.

[10] Letter from Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2003. Cuban antipersonnel mines have, however, been cleared by deminers in Angola and Nicaragua.

[11] One source has reported that Cuba stockpiles the Soviet-manufactured OZM-4, POMZ-2, and POMZ-2M mines, in addition to mines manufactured domestically. Online update, Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance, 18 November 1999.

Mine Action

Last updated: 17 November 2017

Contamination

The Republic of Cuba’s mine contamination remains unchanged from previous years. Cuban authorities maintain minefields around the United States (US) naval base at Guantánamo in the southeast of Cuba. In 2007, Cuba said it carries out “a strict policy with regard to guaranteeing a responsible use of antipersonnel mines with an exclusively defensive character and for [Cuba’s] national security.”[1] According to an earlier statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, existing minefields are duly “marked, fenced and guarded” in accordance with Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Meeting of Experts.[2] According to a book published in 2008, mines laid around the naval base detonate “at least once a month,”[3] but it has not been possible to independently confirm this claim.

Program Management

There is no mine action program in Cuba.

Land Release

Cuba has not conducted clearance in its minefields around the US naval base at Guantánamo over at least the last 10 years. 

 


The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted the mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.
 


[1] Statement by Rebeca Hernández Toledano, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, “Item 29: Assistance in mine action,” UN General Assembly, Fourth Committee, New York, 6 November 2007. 

[2] Statement of the Directorate of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 June 2000.

[3] “The Cuban mines detonate at least once a month, sometimes starting fires that sweep across the fence line. [Staff Sergeant Kaveh Wooley of the US Marines]…described a fire that started the previous summer and turned into a giant cook-off, with about 30 mines exploding…” D. P. Erikson, Cuba Wars: Fidel Castro, the United States, and the Next Revolution (Bloomsbury, United States, October 2008), pp. 196–197.

Casualties

Last updated: 05 May 2017

The Monitor did not identify any mine or explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties in 2016 in the Republic of Cuba. The last reported casualties were in 2013, when a 48-year-old man sustained severe injuries when attempting to dismantle an item of ERW in his home and sell it for scrap in Puerto Padre. The explosion also injured two other adults and two children.[1] Between 1999 and the end of 2014, the Monitor identified a total of 11 mine casualties (two persons killed and nine injured) in Cuba.

 


[1]Explosión de artefacto militar olvidado causa heridas graves a varias personas en Puerto Padre” (“Explosion of a forgotten military artifact injures seriously several people in Puerto Padre”), Diario de Cuba, 18 December 2013.

Victim Assistance

Last updated: 05 May 2017

The Republic of Cuba has a free and universal healthcare system.[1] The Cuban Association of Physically Disabled Persons (Asociación Cubana de Limitados Físico-Motores, ACLIFIM) has provided a support network for persons with physical disabilities. As of December 2015, it represented over 74,000 members.[2]

Cuba was not known to have domestic law that expressly prohibited discrimination against persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are entitled to equal pay and equal access to work. Legislation requires that buildings and transportation services accommodate the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities, however access remained a challenge. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security managed an employment program for persons with disabilities.[3]

Handicap International has a socio-economic inclusion program for persons with disabilities in the province of Granma. As of October 2016, there had been almost 2,400 beneficiaries from the program, which seeks to develop sustainable local employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.[4]

Cuba ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 6 September 2007.



[1]Prevention better than cure in Cuban healthcare system,” BBC News Services, 13 December 2015.

[2] ACLIFIM, “Estadisticas” (“Statistics”), undated but 2016.

[3] United States Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Cuba,” Washington, DC, 3 March 2017.

[4] Handicap International US, “Cuba,” undated.