The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 marked the closest point that the world has ever come to nuclear war. The US and Soviet nuclear weapons were on high levels of alert and could have been used. The naval blockade of Cuba ended at the end of November that year.1 Since then, however, the country has experienced the hostile policy of the US government added to the constant activities of armed groups and arms traffickers.2 Internal demand for arms is also fuelled by street gangs. Moreover, the government has frequently been criticised for contributing to arms proliferation in Latin America.3
The country’s guiding gun control legislation includes the Law of 2008 on Firearms and Ammunition.4 Cuba cooperates closely with the UN and its specialised agencies on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.5
1 Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “60 Years Later: How Many Nuclear Weapons Did the US and USSR Have in the Cuban Missile Crisis?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 12, 2022, https://thebulletin.org/2022/10/60-years-later-how-many-nuclear-weapons-did-the-us-and-ussr-have-in-the-cuban-missile-crisis.
2 Cuba, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, 2003), https://unoda-poa.s3.amazonaws.com/poa-reports-le/2003%4051%40PoA-Cuba-2003-E.pdf.
3 “Global Organized Crime Index: Cuba,” Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, 2021, https://ocindex.net/country/cuba.
4 Philip Alpers, Amélie Rossetti and Leonardo Goi, Cuba – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (GunPolicy.org. Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022), https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/cuba.
5 Cuba, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, 2008), https://unoda-poa.s3.amazonaws.com/poa-reports-le/2008%4051%40Cuba%28E%29.doc.
Launch the country dashboard
Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, one accidental explosions has been reported in Cuba.
Table 1. Accidental explosions in Cuba (1979–2021)
Santiago de Las Vegas
Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021, https://smallarmssurvey.org/database/unplanned-explosions-munitions-sites-uems.
Cases of diversion
Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Cuba.
As of 2006, there was neither surplus of arms and ammunition in the country nor an active destruction programme. No further information is available.
Source: “Legally-Binding Accord on Arms Brokering, Common Standard for End-User Certification among Issues Raised, as UN Small Arms Review Continues Debate,” UNIS (United Nations Information Service) Vienna, July 4, 2006, https://unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2006/dc3036.html.
No reported needs have been identified for Cuba.
Source: Cuba, National PoA Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), (New York: Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, 2020), https://unoda-poa.s3.amazonaws.com/reports/CUB-Spanish-1101-SUBMITTED.pdf.