US Naval Base in Guantanamo

Guantánamo — The entrance of a US nuclear submarine to Guantánamo Bay between July 5 and 8 is just the latest outrage of the United States in an extensive list against Cuban sovereignty.

The attacks from US naval base started 120 years ago when the United States set up the occupation of that piece of land in an appendix in the 1903 Constitution, which established the neocolonial rule over the island.

From then on, strategists with more than one star in their apocalyptic uniforms, “occultists” with gray minds and dark glasses, and gentlemen in suits and ties, have made it a habit to meet in some opulent Washingtonian office to “bake” plots against our sovereignty. And the Naval Base in Guantanamo is at the center of each plan, to execute them.

In preventing the world from perceiving their shady deals and thwarting them, the United States has ade use of vast imagination and gadgets, ranging from the use of a nuclear submarine in a zone of peace –and consequently, free of atomic weapons–, to self-aggression plans that justify a military invasion of the Island.

Much to their regret, it has not succeeded. The Cuban people are seasoned in uncovering their real intentions before they can even take their plans to fruition.


The mind of Manuel Sanguily, colonel of the Liberation Army, seemed as sharp as his saber. It is said that, upon learning of the landing of US naval forces in the eastern sector of the bay, he predicted: “they have seen Guantanamo, they will never give up on trying to possess it.”

It was a dramatic, but accurate, prediction. Once the US naval forces set foot on the bay on June 10, 1898, they are still there trampling the sovereignty of the Antillean nation.

In the Platt Amendment, the true purpose of the Naval Base slips away, and survives in a paragraph of the document that in 1934 replaced the neocolonial monstrosity. The statement is ambiguous, and makes the occupation valid as long as the usurper does not resign, or both parties do not agree. The occupiers cling to this semantic trap to justify their stay in Cuban territory.

Thus, an obligatory signature in the name of Cuba on June 16, 1903, on the land lease agreement to establish naval stations, put a mask of legality on the usurpation of a piece of national soil.

The ominous legal pamphlet opened the door for the occupying power to establish the strategic enclave located to the northwest of the Windward Passage, just over 120 kilometers from that union of maritime routes, and some 1,300 from the transoceanic Panamanian canal, attributes that give this bay a privileged, unique position.


The images of the US marines in the city of Guantánamo hurt more than once the memories, still lucid, in the centennial Aurelia Lidia Mesa Pérez. “The train whistled and our homes locked the doors, so the Marines couldn’t get in,” the old woman recalled. According to her, the US soldiers looked at Guantánamo as a brothel. The former teacher described those behaviors with the harshest adjectives: “contemptible, indecent, low; I remember that they tried to rape a cousin of who would later be my husband.”

The worst part of this situation was Caimanera. Surrounded by the US naval base, whose soldiers encouraged prostitution under the shadow of unemployment, it grew to such an extent that the small and impoverished town, with barely 5,000 inhabitants at the time, registered 27 brothels.

Once the Guantánamo naval station was established, the US soldiers began their scoundrels. The enclave was home, in 1906, to the headquarters of the US gendarmerie in eastern Cuba, when 5,000 officers occupied this part of the island, under the protection of the Platt Amendment.

Eleven years later, the meddling military intervention was repeated, in the context of the so-called Guerrita de la Chambelona (the war of the lollipop), derived from internal political friction. On the occasion, the US soldiers entered Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, under the pretext of protecting US citizens and property of their country.

Part of the US marines who landed in Veracruz México in 1914 and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, later that same year received training at the naval base. Two years later, upon invading the Dominican Republic, the forces of the northern country located their command post in Guantanamo territory, the starting point of the regiment that, in 1927, landed in Nicaragua, in a failed attempt to liquidate Sandino’s army.

One day in May 1958, when the troops of the Frank País Second Eastern Front had already established themselves in the territories of Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, under the leadership of Commander Raúl Castro Ruz, a photograph of the interior of the base arrived. The image showed Batista regime planes equipping themselves with weapons, and a shipment record detailing the date, composition, and departure of one of the shipments destined for the tyranny, proof of US support for Batista’s air force, and of its involvement in the indiscriminate bombardments against the civilian population.

Raúl responded forcefully by publicly denouncing the Batista regime for murdering the people with weapons provided by the US government.


Starting in 1959, the Guantanamo Naval Base became a site of hostilities against the nascent Revolution. Provocations and acts of all kinds multiplied. Rubén López Sabariego, Ramón López Peña, Rodolfo Rossel and Luis Ramírez López are among the Cubans killed or wounded by US officers from the occupied territory.

The extensive list of outrages committed by the US from there registers about 8,290 territorial, naval or air violations, and more than 5,200 provocations, between 1962 and 1996 alone. Before, the CIA had planned to assassinate Fidel and Raúl on July 26, 1961, an event that, according to the plan, would be followed from this side by a “retaliatory attack” against the US enclave.

Counterrevolutionary elements would fire the shots, with means previously given to them by the United States to carry out the extremely serious act once the crime was consummated. In this way, the pretext for invading the Island would be fabricated before the world. The effectiveness of Cuban counterintelligence frustrated the attempt.

“Guantanamo has been a serious stain on the history of human rights and on the reputation of the United States.” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in 2016, referring to the jail opened by the US in the illegal enclave, in which it tortures prisoners from all over the world without criminal charge or right to trial.

“I always knew that this story was sad,” US academic Don E. Walicek told Prensa Latina, “but I never imagined it to be so sordid; Invasions and attacks on Latin American and Caribbean countries have been carried out from that place. Visiting that prison and seeing the conditions of the prisoners is shocking,” he said.

Anyone who knows them will not have been surprised by the words of a US imperial spokesman, commenting on Cuba’s denunciation of the recent incursion of a nuclear submarine in Guantanamo Bay: “we will continue to fly, sail and move assets,” Edward Miller said arrogantly. It is the response of a sly empire, deserving of international rejection.

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