Cuba's Nuclear Program

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Cuba does not possess nuclear weapons, and there are no credible reports of Cuban efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Cuba is not reported to possess chemical weapons, nor are there credible reports of Cuban posession of long range ballistic missiles. Cuba is generally regarded as having a program of research on biological warfare agents, though the scope and focus of this effort remains obscure and controversial. 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. By 1999 the Revolutionary Armed Forces numbered about 60,000 regular troops. Nuclear Weapons Tensions between the United States and Cuba peaked during the abortive "Bay of Pigs" invasion by anti-Castro Cubans supported by the United States on 07 April 1961. Taking advantage of Cuba's fear of further U.S. armed aggression against the Island, the Soviets persuaded the Cuba into closer economic and political links including military and defence arrangements. In the fall of 1962, there were unconfirmed reports that the Soviets were installing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba. When evidence confirmed these reports, the resulting confrontation between Soviet Premier Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy in October 1962 brought the world to the brink of war. Cuba is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco, a Latin American regional non-proliferation regime, but has not ratified the treaty and brought it into force. Cuba has entered into an agreement with the IAEA to apply safeguards to individual nuclear facilities, including the partially completed Juragua nuclear power plant. The reactors that would be installed are of the VVER-400 type, an advanced model of the Soviet pressurized water reactor. There are serious concerns about the safety of the plant. However, since the plant does not appear to be economically viable, no international investors have been willing to provide funds for completion of the facility. Cuba has taken no action on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and as of early 2000 was one of only four states that was not a signatory [the others being Israel, India and Pakistan]. Cuba's position towards the NPT proceeds from a view that the technical assistance aspect of the IAEA’s activities had not produced so many benefits as the nuclear safeguards aspect, which implies a notable imbalance in the Agency’s different sectors.

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