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Why Guantanamo Bay?

Posted on 05/24/2005 7:31:34 AM PDT by freebird5850

Can anyone explain to me how we are able to detain prisoners at Guantanamo Bay? Cuba is Communist, run by Castro. What enables us to be there? The UN? Why Cuba? Thanks.

KEYWORDS: imlazy; usealibrary
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1 posted on 05/24/2005 7:31:35 AM PDT by freebird5850
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To: freebird5850

A little bit of Google, or your local library, goes a long way in answering questions.

Quit being so lazy.

2 posted on 05/24/2005 7:32:33 AM PDT by Guillermo (Bush is no conservative. Don't insult my intelligence by telling me that he is)
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To: freebird5850
What enables us to be there?

Our legal possesion of part of Cuba, that's what. Jeez.

3 posted on 05/24/2005 7:34:03 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: freebird5850

We pay the Cuban government rent in order to use the facility.

4 posted on 05/24/2005 7:34:21 AM PDT by thag (Vegetables: What My Dinner Had For Lunch!)
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To: freebird5850

We leased the property long before Castro came to power. When he did, we built a fence, and he built a fence.

He couldn't kick us out. We would have smacked him.

5 posted on 05/24/2005 7:34:42 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: Guillermo



6 posted on 05/24/2005 7:34:49 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: hellinahandcart

We don't really "possess it" though. It's much more complicated than that!

7 posted on 05/24/2005 7:34:49 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: thag

And the funny part is: they refuse to cash those checks. LOL!

8 posted on 05/24/2005 7:35:23 AM PDT by theDentist (The Dems are putting all their eggs in one basket-case: Howard "Belltower" Dean.)
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To: Guillermo

There is this little group called the Marine Corps that has been hanging around Gitmo for a long time now.

9 posted on 05/24/2005 7:36:32 AM PDT by WildBillArthur (Support the NRA!)
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To: Guillermo

You'll have to excuse him. He just found out that Guantanamo Bay was more than just Rum.

10 posted on 05/24/2005 7:36:36 AM PDT by Deaf Smith
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To: muawiyah

We possess it in pretty much the same way the British possessed Hong Kong, and they had a pretty good run...

11 posted on 05/24/2005 7:36:50 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: freebird5850

U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay is the oldest U.S. base overseas and the only one in a Communist country. Located in the Oriente Province on the southeast corner of Cuba, the base is about 400 air miles from Miami, Florida.

In February 1903, the United States agreed to lease 45 square miles of land and water at Guantanamo Bay for use as a coaling station. The treaty was finalized and the document was ratified by both governments and signed in Havana in December of that year. A 1934 treaty reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and her trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in gold coins per year, to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 U.S. Treasury Dollars, and added a requirement that termination of the lease requires the consent of both the U.S. and Cuba governments, or the abandonment of the base property by the U.S.

Base relations with Cuba remained stable through two world wars and the periods between and did not significantly change until the Cuban revolution of the late 1950's. That revolution led by Fidel Castro, began in the hills of Oriente province, not far from the base.

On June 27, 1958, 29 Sailors and Marines returning from liberty inside Cuba were kidnapped by Cuban rebel forces headed by Raul Castro, brother of Fidel, and detained in the hills as hostages until they were finally released on July 18, 1958.

United States and Cuban relations began to decline about July 19, 1959, when Fidel Castro openly declared himself in favor of the Marxist line, and began mass jailing and executions of the Cuban people. Cuban territory had been declared off limits to U. S. servicemen and civilians on 1 January 1959.

Diplomatic relations with Cuba were cut in January 1961 by President Dwight Eisenhower just prior to the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. At this time, many Cubans sought refuge on the base. U.S. Marines and Cuban militiamen began patrolling opposite sides of the base's 17.4 mile fence line. Today, U.S. Marines and Cuba's "Frontier Brigade" still man fence line posts 24 hours a day.

In October 1962, family members of service people stationed here and many base employees were evacuated to the United States as President Kennedy announced the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. This was the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis which resulted in a naval quarantine of the island until the Soviet Union removed the missiles. The evacuees were allowed to return to the base by Christmas 1962.

Another crisis arose just 14 months later on Feb. 6, 1964, when Castro cut off water and supplies to the base in retaliation for several incidents in which Cuban fishermen were fined by the U.S. government for fishing in Florida waters. Since then, Guantanamo Bay has been self-sufficient and the Naval Base desalination plant produces 3.4 million gallons of water and more than 800,000 kilowatt hours of electricity daily.

The base is divided into two distinct areas by the 2 1/2 mile-wide Guantanamo Bay. The airfield is located on the Leeward side and the main base is on the Windward side. Ferry service provides transportation across the bay. The primary mission of Guantanamo Bay is to serve as a strategic logistics base for the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and to support counter drug operations in the Caribbean.

In 1991, the naval base's mission expanded as some 34,000 Haitian refugees passed through Guantanamo Bay. The refugees fled Haiti after a violent coup brought on by political and social upheaval in their country. The naval base received the Navy Unit Commendation and Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its effort.

In May 1994, Operation Sea Signal began and the naval base was tasked to support Joint Task Force 160, here providing humanitarian assistance to thousands of Haitian and Cuban migrants. In late August and early September 1994, 2,200 family members and civilian employees were evacuated from the base as the migrant population climbed to more than 45,000 and the Pentagon began preparing to house up to 60,000 migrants on the base. The last Haitian migrants departed here Nov. 1, 1995. The last of the Cuban migrants left the base Jan. 31, 1996. In October 1995, family members were authorized to return, marking an end to family separations. An immediate effort began to restore base facilities for family use, including reopening the child development center, youth center, two schools and Sunday school. Additionally, the revitalization of Boy and Girl Scout Camps and the Guantanamo Bay Youth Activities (a free sports program for children) was initiated.

Since Sea Signal, Guantanamo Bay has retained a migrant operations mission with a steady state migrant population of less than 30. The base has also conducted two contingency migrant operations: Operation Marathon in October 1996 and Present Haven in February 1997. Both of these short-fused events involved the interception of Chinese migrants being smuggled into the United States.

After 52 years of service, Guantanamo's largest tenant command, Fleet Training Group, relocated to Mayport, Florida, in July 1995. One month later, the naval base lost another major tenant command when the base's Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity disestablished after 92 years of service here.

The Naval Base includes, as separate commands, a Naval Hospital and Branch Dental Clinic, detachments of the Personnel Support Activity, Naval Atlantic Meteorologic and Oceanographic Command, Naval Media Center, Naval Communications Station, Department of Defense Dependent Schools, Navy Brig and its largest and most vital tenant - Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Det GTMO, a detachment of FISC Jacksonville, the command responsible for getting every material item we use, or purchase, including all personal property shipments, on or off the base through its supply flights and the famous bi-weekly GTMO barge.

Directly supporting the base are Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Public Works Dept, Resident Officer in Charge of Construction, Human Resources Office, Family Support and Service Center, Red Cross, Security, Navy Exchange/Commissary, and Moral, Welfare and Recreation.

The most recent addition to the base is the Southern Command Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Following the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, Joint Task Force 160 returned to Guantanamo Bay to stand up the War on Terrorism Detainee Mission. JTF 160 was later joined by JTF 170 and recently the two forces and their related missions were merged into the current Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

12 posted on 05/24/2005 7:38:30 AM PDT by Robert DeLong
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To: hellinahandcart

The Brits had a 99 year lease ~ we have no lease at all.

13 posted on 05/24/2005 7:39:23 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: freebird5850

Cuba? What's Cuba?

14 posted on 05/24/2005 7:39:54 AM PDT by Dallas59 (" I have a great team that is going to beat George W. Bush" John Kerry -2004)
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To: freebird5850


In 1903, the new Republic of Cuba leased to the United States the Naval Reservation on which the Naval Station was to be located. The lease was negotiated to implement an act of Congress of the United States approved 2 March 1901, and an appendix to the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba promulgated 20 May 1902. Each of these contained an identical article, to wit:

"VII. That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling and Naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon by the President of the United States".

The terms of the lease arrived at are contained in three documents -two agreements and a treaty. The contents of these documents are not well known. At times they have been misunderstood locally and also in Havana and Washington. It is small wonder that such has been the case. It was reported officially in 1936 that the Naval Station did not even possess a copy of the original lease agreement. This is only one example of a number that could be cited. It therefore appears desirable to devote a chapter to the terms of the lease, and to their precise meaning with regard to the obligations of Cuba and the United States, together with a description of the area of land and water acquired in the transaction.

First Lease

The first lease agreement, copy appended for reference, was signed by President Estrada Palma on 16 February 1903, and by President Theodore Roosevelt on 23 February 1903. By this instrument Cuba leased to the United States certain areas of land and water in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda for the purpose of "coaling and naval stations". (Bahia Honda was abandoned after nine years of occupation). Concerning Guantanamo, the agreement describes the leased "areas of land and water" as follows:

"In Guantanamo (see Hydrographic Office Chart 1857), from a point on the South Coast, 4.37 miles to the eastward of Windward Point Light House, a line running north (true) a distance of 4.25 nautical miles; from the northern extremity of this line, a line running west (true), a distance of 5.87 nautical miles; from the western extremity of this last line, a line running south-west (true), 3.31 nautical miles; from the southwestern extremity of this last line, a line running south (true) to the seacoast".

The land area above described comprises 19,621 acres, 11,058 on the windward side, and 8,563 on the leeward. The water areas, consisting principally of Guantanamo Bay from the mouth of the harbor (theoretical line joining Leeward and Windward Points) to the northern boundary line, comprise 9,196 acres. The total naval reservation contains 28,817 acres or about 45 square miles of land and water. (The foregoing figures are based on the original survey).

Furthermore, the agreement granted the United States the right to use and occupy the waters adjacent to the above described areas of land and water. "Adjacent waters" are interpreted to mean the water leading up to the harbor entrance and the water along the seacoast out to the three mile limit. The United States has the right to improve and deepen the entrances to the leased areas of land and water, and to improve and deepen the anchorages therein, and generally to do. any and all things to fit the premises as a coaling and naval station, and for no other purpose.

Over the leased areas of land and water, comprising the Naval reservation, Cuba consented that during the period of occupation, the United States would exercise "complete jurisdiction and control over and within said areas", including the right to acquire for the public purposes of the United States any land or property therein by purchase or by right of eminent domain with full compensation to the owners thereof. On the other hand, the United States recognized "the continuance of the ultimate sovereignty of Cuba over and above the leased areas". "Ultimate", meaning final or eventual, is a key word here. It is interpreted that Cuban sovereignty is interrupted during the period of our occupancy, since we exercise complete jurisdiction and control, but in case occupation were terminated, the area would revert to the ultimate sovereignty of Cuba.


The only restrictions placed by this document on the United States are:

(a) The area must be used only for a coaling and naval station ("station" here used in the broad sense of the word.)

(b) Vessels engaged in Cuban trade shall have free passage through the waters included in the grant.

Pursuant to the agreement of February 1903, the Naval reservation was surveyed and marked out by a joint United States-Cuban Board (Commission). The first meeting of this body took place on board the USS Olympia anchored in Guantanamo Bay on 27 May 1903, and the general plans of the operations were agreed upon. On the next day the work of survey and marking out of the Naval Station was begun, and was continued without interruption on working days until its termination on 8 July 1903.

In the years since this survey there has been occasional misunderstanding of what constitutes the water areas of the Naval Reservation. There was no misunderstanding in the minds of the joint United States-Cuban body which made the above survey. Their thinking was crystal-clear. The last part of their report, which must be considered ancillary to the original lease agreement, is quoted in evidence on this point:

"G-Area of the Naval Station
The area of water and land, obtained analytically, included within the limits of the Naval Station, closing the perimeter across the entrance to the harbor by a line joining Leeward and Windward Points, was found to be 11661.9832 hectares, equal to 28817.360 acres.

"To determine the proportion of land and water in the area, it would be necessary to survey the interior coast lines of the bay and the Guantanamo River, a work which on account of its nature and extent, would have required about three months to do.
Surveying the land
"Considering that in the year 1899, the officers of the gunboat Eagle of the United States Navy were several months on the ground doing precisely this work, together with soundings of the bay, and that the accuracy of their work was well checked by the present survey, the notes and original plans of work were asked for and received from Washington. With these data, the interior coast lines of the accompanying plan were plotted, using the same scale, 1 to 10,000, of the original plans. By planimeter measurements the following result was obtained.

"Area of Land
Seven thousand nine hundred forty and 2832/10,000 hectares equals Nineteen thousand six hundred twenty and 848/1000 acres.

"Area of Water of Public Domain
Three thousand seven hundred twenty-one and 7000/10,000 hectares equal Nine thousand one hundred ninety-six and 512/1000 acres.

"Total Area of the Naval Station
Eleven thousand six hundred and sixty-one and 9832/10,000 hectares equals twenty-eight thousand eight hundred seventeen and 360/1000 acres".

The above report was signed for Cuba by José Primelles, Director General of Public Works, President of Cuban Commission, and by Augustine Gordillo, Engineer in Charge; and for the United States, by Captain H. W. Lyon, Senior Member of the U. S. Board, and by LCDR Warren McLean and LT H. K. Benham, all of the U.S. Navy. The place and date of signature was on board the "U. S. Flagship Olympia" in Guantanamo Bay, 8 July 1903.

Supplementary Agreement

In the meantime, a supplementary agreement concerning the Naval reservation had been reached between the United States and Cuba. This agreement which was signed at Havana on 2 July 1903, and approved by President Theodore Roosevelt on 2 October 1903, is appended for reference. The salient points of this agreement are as follows:

(a) The United States contracted to pay Cuba the annual sum of two thousand dollars in gold.

(b) All private lands or other real property were to be acquired by Cuba with funds to be provided by the United States, such funds to be accepted as advance payment on the annual rental of $2000. (This clause was obviously for the purpose of acquiring land and property from property owners in order that Cuba could lease the area with no private encumbrances).

(c) The areas were to be surveyed and the boundaries distinctly marked by permanent fences or enclosures-the United States to bear the expense of construction and maintenance of such fences or enclosures.

(d) The Unites States agreed that no person, partnership, or corporation would be permitted to establish a commercial, industrial, or other enterprise within the reservation.

(e) It was agreed that fugitives from justice charged with crimes and misdemeanors amenable to Cuban law, taking refuge in the reservation, should be delivered to Cuban authorities, on demand; and likewise that fugitives from justice charged with crimes or misdemeanors amenable to United States law, committed within the reservation, taking refuge in Cuban territory, should be delivered on demand.

(f) It was agreed that materials of all kinds, merchandise, stores, and munitions of war imported into the reservation, for exclusive use and consumption therein, should not be subject to payment of customs duties nor any other fees or charges, and the vessels which might carry the same would not be subject to payment of port, tonnage, anchorage, or other fees. This in effect, made Guantanamo Bay a "duty-free port". It was further agreed, however, that such materials, merchandise, stores, and munitions of war should not be transported from the reservation into Cuban territory.

(g) The United States agreed, except in case of war, to place no obstacle in the way of vessels entering or departing from Guantanamo Bay en route to or from Cuban ports (e.g., Caimanera); such vessels within the limits of Cuban territory to be subject exclusively to Cuban laws and authorities.

Treaty of 1934

In all provisions regarding the Guantanamo area, the original agreement (February 1903) and the supplementary agreement were later confirmed by the Treaty of 1934 between the United States and Cuba, signed at Washington on 29 May 1934. A copy is appended for reference. This treaty has the effect of giving the United States a perpetual lease on this reservation, capable of being voided only by our abandoning the area or by mutual agreement between the two countries. The so-called "Platt Amendment," which gave the United States the right to intervene in Cuba, died with this treaty. Bahia Honda was not mentioned, having long since been abandoned.

Thus it is clear that at Guantanamo Bay we have a Naval reservation which, for all practical purposes, is American territory. Under the foregoing agreements, the United States has for approximately fifty years exercised the essential elements of sovereignty over this territory, without actually owning it. Unless we abandon the area or agree to a modification of the terms of our occupancy, we can continue in the present status as long as we like. Persons on the reservation are amenable only to United States legislative enactments. There are a few restrictions on our freedom of action, but they present no serious problem. We may not use the reservation for other than a naval station; we have agreed not to interfere with the passage of vessels engaged in Cuban trade; private enterprise is forbidden on the reservation; and we are obligated to prevent the smuggling of materials and merchandise into Cuban territory.

Images of GTMO in 1920sThe prosecution of Cuban Nationals and other aliens who commit crimes and misdemeanors on the reservation presents a subject that should be mentioned. Until the advent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice on 31 May 1951, the United States has had no peacetime legal machinery for trying such offenders. Accordingly, we have habitually requested local Cuban courts to exercise concurrent jurisdiction and handle such cases. Because essential witnesses, usually U. S. military personnel, are oftentimes transferred before offenders are brought to trial, this procedure has its shortcomings. However, it will likely be continued. In a reciprocal manner, U. S. military personnel, charged with offenses in Cuba, are habitually turned over to U. S. jurisdiction for legal action.

Closed Port

While this chapter is designed to cover the terms of our lease, and what they mean in a legal sense, no outline of the reservation's legal status would be complete and up-to-date without mention of the executive order which made Guantanamo Bay a "closed port". This order, signed by the President on 1 May 1941 and currently found in General Order No. 13, establishes Guantanamo Bay as a "Naval Defensive Sea Area" and a "Naval Air Space Reservation". By its terms no vessel or other craft, other than public vessels of the United States and vessels engaged in Cuban trade, may be navigated into the area, unless similarly authorized, no aircraft, except other than public aircraft of the United States, may be flown into the reservation. In other words, Guantanamo Bay is closed to commercial shipping and aircraft, except vessels engaged in Cuban trade, and also to foreign warships and aircraft. Vessels and aircraft in distress can be the only exceptions to this regulation.

15 posted on 05/24/2005 7:40:03 AM PDT by lnbchip
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To: freebird5850

I'd love to answer your question but you'd never understand the answer. Quit wasting my time thanks.
Oh, Have a nice Day!

16 posted on 05/24/2005 7:40:53 AM PDT by TGOGary (I would blow my brains out before ever wearing a blue beret.)
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To: hellinahandcart

No TIME LIMIT that is. It's one of those indefinite things ~

17 posted on 05/24/2005 7:42:08 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: WildBillArthur
There is this little group called the Marine Corps that has been hanging around Gitmo for a long time now. want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

18 posted on 05/24/2005 7:43:00 AM PDT by Mannaggia l'America
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To: muawiyah
we have no lease at all.

Yeah, we do, and it can't be broken unless both countries agree. Which we won't.

19 posted on 05/24/2005 7:43:33 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: freebird5850

One question; complete and detailed answers wihin 11 minutes, is that enough?

20 posted on 05/24/2005 7:44:16 AM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
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