What Countries Are Communist?

countries-communist Credit: HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images

Countries that are communist as of 2014 are Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China and Laos. China's communist system is tempered somewhat because it allows private entrepreneurship. Still, the state controls the country's heavy industry and is ruled by the Communist Party of China.

Cuba is the only communist state in the western hemisphere. In 1959, Fidel Castro took control of the country and, with the help of the then Soviet Union, ruled it for nearly 50 years. In 2008, he stepped down in favor of his brother Raul. Like China, Cuba has blended its communist philosophy with some moderate economic reforms, such as private property ownership.

North Korea has been ruled by the Kim family since the end of the Korean War, which partitioned the Korean peninsula in half. The founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was Kim Il Sung, who was then succeeded by Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Un took power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

After 20 years of constant warfare with France and then the United States, Vietnam became a unified country and embraced communism in 1976. Laos, which had also been caught up in the Vietnam War, became communist in 1975 under the aegis of Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.