Guantanamo bay / by kevin murray

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is in the news a lot, mainly because of the notoriety of the foreign alleged enemy combatants that have been imprisoned there by the United States military forces, but that is a story for another day.  What is of more interest, however, is the fact that Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba, and Cuba is a nation that we have had an official economic boycott with since 1962, despite the fact that Cuba lies a mere 90 miles away from US soil.  Additionally, Cuba is a communist nation, but somehow the United States, has an active naval base in Cuba, its only naval base in a communist nation, to which Cuba is a sovereign nation and is not partnered with the United States in the usage or maintenance of this naval base.


The Cuban-American treaty was signed in 1903 ceding control and a lease of 46.8 square miles of Cuban land and the bay surrounding its naval base to the United States.  In 1934, a new agreement was signed, which essentially permitted the United States to maintain its presence in perpetuity because of the clause which stipulated that: "… until the two Contracting Parties agree to the modification or abrogation of the stipulations of the agreement…" to which the United States has no intention of changing this anytime soon. 


Despite Castro's protests that:  “The Republic of Cuba repudiates and considers as null and illegal those treaties, pacts or concessions signed under conditions of inequality or which disregard or diminish her sovereignty and territorial integrity,”  no tribunal, no International Court, has invalidated the current treaty, nor is this a realistic hope for Cuba.  The fact of the matter is, the United States is physically in Cuba, and it isn't leaving, and while the port has a strategic purpose, in the scale of things, it really isn't necessary for our naval exercises or our fleets, since we have excellent ports state-side as well as in Puerto Rico.  The main purpose of our continued presence there is basically to be a thorn in the side of Cuba and nothing much more than this.


Once the United States gets a foothold in a country, it doesn't like to retreat from it, as America pretty much follows the format that once in, they will leave at their own volition and on their own terms.  As a small sovereign island nation, Cuba has basically no recourse to remove the United States from its soil.  There isn't any country that will help Cuba, because the risks of doing so are simply not worth it, but Guantanamo Bay does serve as a bargaining chip for the normalization of the relations between our respective countries. 


The fact of the matter is that America trades with virtually every country in the world, no matter its political affiliation and it is therefore high time that America removes its trade embargo with Cuba through some sort of quid pro quo basis.  Perhaps America is waiting for Fidel Castro to die in order to initiate these changes, let us hope that this is the case, because if America truly wants to be looked upon as a world leader, it should start first with its relations close to home of a former friend, later to become an enemy, but no doubt amendable to burying the hatchet in recognition that our proximity to each other necessitates friendlier and more amicable relations.