Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Regarding COHA's March 15 Report: "A Constructive Plot to Return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba in the Near Future"

“The grant of the foregoing Article [regarding the leasing of Guantanamo] shall include the right to use and occupy the waters adjacent to said areas of land and water, and to improve and deepen the entrances thereto and the anchorages therein, and generally to do any and all things necessary to fit the premises for use as coaling or naval stations only, and for no other purpose.” Article II of the Agreement Between the United States and Cuba for the Lease of Lands for Coaling and Naval stations; February 23, 1903.

Washington may be Losing its Right, let Alone its Political Ability to Maintain its Control over Guantanamo
The Bush administration has made several declarations expressing its willingness to help Cuba make a smooth transition to a Washington-approved “democracy,” achieved through a “soft landing.” This transition would take effect upon Fidel Castro’s death or complete incapacitation (taking note of the Cuba leader’s botched operation and subsequent reports of his fragile health). However, one complex issue that is only now being raised is the judicial basis for the U.S.-occupied naval base at Guantanamo.

The facility, which fell under a U.S. leasehold for more than a century has again returned to the headlines with the confession made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that he was the Al-Qaeda operative in command of the September 11 2001 operations. He admitted to the 9/11 terror attacks during a U.S. military hearing on Saturday, according to an edited transcript of the hearing released by the Pentagon on Wednesday. But even more ominous is the concern being voiced by at least one analyst close to the Bush White House that as result of several statements by relatively pro-U.S. Latin American leaders who stressed to President Bush their insistence that the U.S. should recognize the full sovereignty of Latin America nations, Washington could be faced with mounting demands throughout the hemisphere that Guantanamo – the symbol of 19th century gunboat diplomacy practiced by the Washington during the period– be returned to Cuba.

Full article...

~To the COHA Research Staff who prepared the excellent article on return of Guantanamo Bay to Cuba:

The Article is well written and well researched. I enjoyed reading it, and agree with most of your conclusions. I would loved to have had it available ten years ago when I was researching background for my novel on post Castro Cuba published last year [Havana Passage].

China is not mentioned in your Article. Yet China now has operational control of the Panama Canal as well as our old military bases there, and is busy staking it's claim to a vast supply of raw materials in Latin America, materials it knows will be needed as the Chinese economy expands.

China needs eventually to establish a military presence in the Atlantic, for logistic and political purposes. What better place than Guantanamo Bay?

When we gave up control of the Panama Canal we should have persuaded Panama to place operation of the Canal under an international trust. We were not so careful.

I would hope in the case of Guantanamo, when the time comes, we'll at least retain an internationally recognized right of first refusal should Cuba decide to cede control over the port to any foreign power at any time in the future.


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