An obvious yet often overlooked persective on the Guantanamo Bay prison is that of Cuba itself – where the prison is located. Will Cuba ever get Guantanamo Bay back from the United States? And what does Havana do with the $4085 Washington sends it every month to lease the land that the base is on? According to Enrique Milanés León of Cuba’s state-run Juventud Rebelde, ending Washington’s 1903 ‘theft’ of Guantanamo Bay is something that has burned in the hearts of Cubans long before 9-11 and the construction of the notorious U.S. prison.
For Juventud Rebelde, Enrique Milanés León writes in part:
Concertina wire divides Guantanamo. And though the world may believe it is new – it is not. Around 1903, Tomás Estrada Palma, inaugurating a long chapter of theft, leased to the Yankees, at a very reasonable price and in perpetuity, something that wasn’t theirs: The best strip of land in that bay.
Ever since then, the “Americans” have robbed us of our sea, obtaining what has long been thought of as a metaphor of dispossession like those dreamed up in the fertile imagination of [Colombian novelist] Garcia Marquez.
Much time has passed and it weighs heavily. Yesterday it was ten years since the United States government, with twenty first-time prisoners dressed on bright orange prison garb, established the most expensive prison in the world there. Each detainee the U.S. tortures there costs $800,000 a year. But the number of tears it has resulted in around the world is incalculable.
Every year, Washington sends payment to Havana in compensation for its presence, but Cuba doesn’t cash those $4,085 checks. Dignity cannot be leased. Cuba keeps the checks to display in a museum that doesn’t yet exist: the one that will open right there when the U.S. liberates that section of sun-drenched bay.
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