Why is Cuba still leasing Guantanamo Bay to the US?

  • During the last decade and a half, the US has housed prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and has been leasing it from the Cuban government for 55 years. Cuba has never cashed the checks

    Castro was very anti-imperialism and US. So why has the Cuban government not asked them to leave? It's like China building a prison in the US where the house their most dangerous criminals! What does Cuba gain from leasing it to the US? They obviously aren't interested in monetary gain as they never cashed the checks.

    Definitely not "the most dangerous criminals". They are held in Guantanamo only because under US law would never allow them to be imprisoned without attorney in the first place. China, on the other hand, has no such problems...

    @Agent_L and if they did they would lease out in North Korea...

    The fact that almost all of the people, once housed there, were released without charges makes the claim of "worst of the worst' a dubious one, at best. An FBI expert, early on in the use of Guantanamo determined that about 90% of them were not there for any kind of terror-related activities.

    The real question is why is it called a "lease" when it is actually plain old occupation of territory.

    The link provided in the question gives the answer about halfway down...

    @DepressedDaniel it's called a lease because it's a lease. There's a piece of paper specifying the lease terms.

  • Brythan

    Brythan Correct answer

    5 years ago

    So why has the Cuban government not asked them to leave?

    The simple answer to that is that they have.

    From Wikipedia:

    The United States assumed territorial control over the southern portion of Guantánamo Bay under the 1903 Cuban–American Treaty of Relations. The United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control over this territory, while recognizing that Cuba retains ultimate sovereignty. The current government of Cuba regards the U.S. presence in Guantánamo Bay as illegal and insists the Cuban–American Treaty was obtained by threat of force and is in violation of international law. Some legal scholars judge that the lease may be voidable.

    And later

    After the Cuban Revolution, Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted the status of the base remain unchanged, despite Fidel Castro's objections. Since then, the Cuban government has cashed only one of the rent checks from the U.S. government, and even then only because of "confusion" in the early days of the leftist revolution, according to Castro. The remaining un-cashed checks made out to "Treasurer General of the Republic" (a title that ceased to exist after the revolution) are kept in Castro's office stuffed into a desk drawer.

    They've asked (e.g. in 2016). The United States (US) has not left. The basis of not leaving (again from Wikipedia):

    In 1934 a new Cuban-American Treaty of Relations reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and its trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in U.S. gold coins per year to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 in U.S. dollars, and made the lease permanent unless both governments agreed to break it or until the U.S. abandoned the base property.

    The US has never agreed to ending the treaty, and it requires both parties to agree to end it.

    Reading the sources implies that ending the treaty is something that Fidel Castro requested repeatedly, but I can't find a primary source actually stating that.

    There great (and very short) video which explain such situation : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dU4IMex4FU

    The treaty was signed before the Castro coup. The government that agreed to the treaty no longer exists so doesn't that make it void? It's like the US following British treaties/tariffs after they had their revolution.

    @Killer066 This really isn't the place to get into the legal argument. If you want that, I'd suggest asking a new question either here or on Law.SE.

    @Killer066 international agreements are typically made between countries, not governments, and generally survive regime change. The new regime can cease to abide by the treaty, and other parties to the treaty can take action in response or not as they see fit. The real reason the US is still in Guantanamo Bay is that they never chose to leave, and Cuba hasn't tried to force them to. Cuba knows that it would require military action, and that Cuba would not likely succeed.

    @Killer066 In international politics, if you have a disagreement and one of the parties doesn't want to negotiate and neither party wants to go to war, you can't resolve the disagreement.

    Cuba has no way to compel the US to leave and the US is not willing to leave. It really is that simple.

    @Killer066: For comparison, the Qing Dynasty that leased Hong Kong to the United Kingdom ceased to exist in 1912, but the treaty remained in effect until 1997.

    Are there any treaties to which the US is a party that we can't unilaterally abrogate?

    @DavidSchwartz : So, they don't cash in the checks because doing so would signal that they accept the validity of the treaty? And by doing so, it would make them much harder to revoke it in the future.

    @Peter Hong Kong island and Kowloon were ceded to Britain, while the New Territories were leased. Britain felt HK was not viable without the NT, and annexing the NT certainly wasn't an option, so they ceded HK back to China in "exchange" for its special status.

    @NickT: That would be most treaties, but only in a formal sense. The current standard for treaties is to have a formal exit procedure, with notice period. The US can unilaterally give notice, but abrogation would imply an immediate end and that generally requires unanimity.

    I seem to recall that after 9/11 Castro said that any detainees escaping GTMO would be returned to the US. (However I can't find any reference to that now.) If that is true then it suggests that the Cuban government isn't all that upset.

    @Noah There is a concept of "successor government". And if Cuba wanted to claim that the aren't a successor government, then what claim would they have on Guantanamo? That would be like the government of Iran saying "We didn't sign any treaty giving you rights to Guantanamo Bay, so you should give it to us."

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM