Feb 4, 2002
Cuba has never officially been a colony of the United States. But at the end of the 19th century, it found itself under U.S. military administration, as a consequence of which the U.S. imposed on Cuba a certain number of its tariff and political demands, as well as the right to set up a naval base, Guantanamo Bay, near the Cuban city of the same name.
This enclave still exists. Situated on the southeastern part of the island, it serves as a port for the U.S. Navy patrolling the Caribbean sea and, from time to time, as a camp for prisoners: Cuban boat people, then Haitians, and today Talibans.
Guantanamo isn’t a concession with a lease for a fixed number of years, as was, for example, the case of Hong Kong with relation to China. No, the U.S. forced the Cuban regime it had installed to grant the U.S. a “perpetual lease.” The price in 1904 was 2,000 gold pieces, which amounts to $4,085 today. Fidel Castro, in power since 1959, has always refused to cash the check.
Guantanamo Bay is a colonial base. The Cubans don’t want it to be such, they have never wanted this arrangement.
But “U.S. democracy” couldn’t care less. It occupies it, which is what counts.