Cárdenas, city (1994 est. pop. 63,000), N central Cuba, Matanzas prov., a port on Cárdenas Bay. It processes and exports sugar and sisal and has industries producing tobacco, beer, and soap. A fishing fleet is based at Cárdenas, which is also an important commercial center. The city was founded in 1828 as a shipping point for the sugar industry of the surrounding area.