Guantanamo Bay Base: Give It Up


The U.S. has a Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, on the island of Cuba, has been operated illegally, against the wishes of the Cuban government for 117 years, should now be torn down, and the port should be returned to the Cuban people.

As far back as 1854, the U.S. has made frivolous claims to Cuba. When Franklin Pierce (1853-57) was President, future President James Buchanan, a member of his administration, issued the Ostend Manifesto, which claimed the U.S. had a right to seize the island by force, if Spain refused to sell it. Buchanan was afraid a slave rebellion would turn the island into a disorderly republic, like Haiti, but his real motive was to create another slave state.

After a revolt broke out in 1895 between the Cubans and colonial Spain, the Maine, an American ship, was blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898, and though there was no proof the explosion was caused by the Spanish, the U.S. invaded the island and won the Spanish-American War.

When the Americans first occupied the island, they were greeted as liberators, but the mood soon changed, as the newly liberated people were forced, under the Platt Amendment (1901), to grant the U.S. a right to intervene in their internal affairs. Although President Theodore Roosevelt granted independence, under the Cuban-American Treaty (1903), the catch was the Cubans had to give the U.S. a perpetual lease to Guantanamo.

A generation later, President Franklin Roosevelt offered to annul the right to intervene, provided the Cubans signed the Treaty between the U.S. and Cuba (1934), which continued the unwelcome U.S. military presence at Guantanamo. Realizing they would never get a better offer from conservatives in America, the Cubans accepted a half a loaf from the liberal FDR, instead of nothing at all.

The Cubans have since continued protesting the American military presence on the island. When Fidel Castro took over in 1959, he escalated the objection by shutting off the water to the base, in an attempt to get the U.S. to go home, but the Americans started filtering seawater through a desalination plant (1964). Cuba does not cash rental payment checks from the U.S.

The U.S. has no legitimate right to use the Guantanamo Bay Navy Base, as the lease was forced upon Cuba under what international law would refer to as an unequal treaty. Since President Obama promised to close Guantanamo, now would be the perfect time to give it back.

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One Comment to “Guantanamo Bay Base: Give It Up”

  1. Well, if the U.S. has to give up Guantonamo, then it should give up Hawaii too.

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