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The US and Guantanamo Bay

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  1. Issue background: Guantanamo and the United States since 1898
    1. The Platt Amendment
    2. The revolution in 1959
    3. The post 9/11 world: A new dimension to the Guantanamo issue
  2. Courses of action
    1. Reaching an agreement with the Castro government on this issue
    2. Abandoning the naval base without any negotiation
    3. keeping the Guantánamo Naval Base
  3. Arguments: Why Guantanamo should return to Cuba
    1. The Treaty of 1934
    2. The denial of the Cuban national sovereignty
    3. The example of the Panama Canal
    4. Denying detainees at Guantanamo the protection of the Geneva Conventions
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works cited

In 1898, the United States intervened in the Caribbean and Pacific to fight against Spanish imperialism. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, the United States occupied Cuba from January 1899 to May 1902. On February 25, 1901, Senator Orville H. Platt introduced in Congress ?the famous amendment that bears his name? (Aguilar 1972), which shaped the American intervention in Cuban affairs. It also proposed the creation of an American naval base in Cuba. The bill became law on March 2. In spite of a strong opposition in the country, Cuba conceded that a restricted independence was better than a military regime (Aguilar 1972) and included the amendment in its 1901 Constitution. In 1903, the Lease of Coaling or Naval Stations Agreement Between the United States and Cuba Treaty specified that, in exchange of ?the continuance of the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba, ? the United states shall exercise complete jurisdiction and control over and within said areas? (Treaty Series No. 418). Since then, Guantánamo Bay has been under U.S. control.
Although the Platt Amendment was abrogated by Cuba in 1904, a new agreement was negotiated between the Roosevelt administration and the American-friendly Caffery-Batista-Mendieta government. It kept the ?Platt spirit? (Dominguez, Smith 1988) by not changing the status of Guantánamo, ?so long as the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval station of Guantanamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present limits? (Treaty Series No. 866). Thus, the new Treaty of Relations established a ?lease in perpetuity? (Dominguez, Smith 1988).
Since the revolution in 1959, Cuba has wanted to terminate the lease, but it is has not been able to do so without American consent (Ratner, Ray 2004). In opposition to the lease, Fidel Castro has always refused to accept the rent of about $4,085 a year. On October 29, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro declared that the only effective guarantee ?that there will be no aggression against Cuba? would be five points , including the U.S. withdrawal from Guantánamo Naval Base (Blight, Brenner 2004). This request was supported by the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries in its First Summit Conference , held in Belgrade in 1961 (Ricardo Luis 1994), but the movement was not influent enough to change the U.S. foreign policy.

[...] Involving Cuba in the management of the base would allow the United States both to relax its policy toward Cuba and keep the naval base, but it entails a risk. It may be perceived as insufficient by public opinion, almost like a status quo, since the base would still be American. If our government does not act in a convincing way, it could be soon seriously weakened, especially in the 2006 elections. Therefore, the most beneficial solution is to enter into negotiations with Cuba. [...]


[...] The movement stated that North American military base at Guantánamo, Cuba, the presence of which has been opposed by the government and people of Cuba, affects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.? (Ricardo Luis 1994) [iii] For further details, see Ricardo Luis, Roger, Guantánamo: The Bay of Discord, p. and Smith, Wayne S., and Esteban Morales Dominguez, Subject to Solution: Problems in Cuban-U.S. Relations p. 107-108. WORKS CITED Aguilar, Luis E Cuba 1933: Prologue to Revolution. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [...]


[...] report "clearly suffers from their unwillingness to take us up on our offer to go down to Guantanamo to observe firsthand the operations at Guantanamo" (Cage 2006). President Bush decided to deny detainees at Guantánamo the protection of the Geneva Conventions. He also decided that the United Nations Convention Against Torture did not apply to the treatment of non-Americans held outside the United States, and hence to the international zone of the prison. Nevertheless, the Uniform Code of Military Justice applies to Guantánamo, and may be violated by some interrogators. [...]

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