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Guantánamo Bay

Guantánamo Bay

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has played a critical role in U.S. foreign policy since the nineteenth century. The U.S. Naval Station there is the oldest American base outside of the continental United States, and the only U.S. base located in a country with which the United States does not have diplomatic relations. Known alternately as GITMO, the 45-square-mile base is located at Cubas southeastern tip and is approximately four hundred miles from Miami, Florida. In 2006 GITMO was home to approximately 8,500 U.S. service personnel (and their dependents) whose mission includes providing logistical support to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, maintaining migrant operations, and hosting the Detainee Mission of the War on Terror under the direction of the Joint Task Force Guantánamo.

American presence began when the United States invaded Guantánamo Bay and established a marine base during the Spanish-American War. Cuban independence fighters worked with American forces to expel Spain. At the end of the war in August 1898, the United States controlled Cuba. The 1901 Platt Amendment, adopted by the U.S. Congress and incorporated into Cubas constitution, defined U.S. involvement in Cubas affairs. Until such time as Cuba had an independent government, the United States would intervene to preserve Cuban independence or to maintain a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty. The amendment also ceded Guantánamo to the United States.

After Cubas independence in 1903, the Cuban-American Treaty stipulated that the United States would lease Guantánamo Bay as a coaling and naval station. The lease gave the United States complete jurisdiction and control of the territory while recognizing the continuance of the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba. Guantánamo Bays unique status was born. The Platt Amendment was annulled in 1934, and the Permanent Treaty codified the leasing arrangement, specifying that the United States would pay an annual sum of approximately $4, 085. Since the Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government has accepted only one payment for the lease of Guantánamo, in the first year after the Cuban Revolution. By its own terms, the lease can be abrogated only by mutual agreement. The Cuban government maintains that the base constitutes an unlawful military occupation resulting from an agreement forcefully imposed on Cuba.

In 1964 Cuban president Fidel Castro cut water and supplies to the base hoping to compel U.S. withdrawal. Instead, the base became self-sufficient for its own water and energy. American personnel have been evacuated temporarily from Guantánamo on two occasions: during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and in 1994, as the population exceeded 40,000 when the base became a holding facility for Haitian and Cuban migrants seeking refuge in the United States. The base continues to serve as an ongoing migrant processing facility, capable of accommodating 40 people, or 10,000 in an emergency.

After September 11, 2001, the bases mission expanded to include the Detainee Mission of the War on Terror. Beginning in 2002, more than 600 prisoners from approximately thirty countries were brought by the United States to Guantánamo from Afghanistan. The detainees were suspected of having ties to either the Taliban or Al Qaeda, and they were held indefinitely, without charges, without counsel, and without access to American courts. The detainees legal status and treatment have been a matter of grave international concern. In 2007 approximately 385 detainees remained imprisoned in Guantánamo.

The U.S. government first posited that the detainees were not subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts because Guantánamo was not part of the sovereign territory of the United States. Second, the government consistently held that the detainees in Guantánamo were enemy combatants and thus beyond the protections provided to Prisoners of War under the Geneva Conventions.

In summer 2004 the Supreme Court held in Rasul v. Bush that the United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control over Guantánamo under the 1903 treaty, even though Guantánamo is under the ultimate sovereignty of Cuba. Hence, the detainees had the right to be heard in U.S. courts. As a result, the U.S. government instituted military tribunals to determine whether the detainees were enemy combatants. These tribunals lacked fundamental constitutional protections guaranteed in U.S. courts.

In 2006 the Supreme Court heard the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Ladens former driver, who had been detained at Guantánamo since 2002. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court found, by a vote of 53, that the president overstepped his powers by authorizing these military tribunals, which lacked essential legal and constitutional safeguards. Additionally, the Court held that the tribunals violated the Geneva Conventions, rejecting the Bush administrations argument that the Conventions did not apply to the detainees at Guantánamo. However, the Court did not require Congress to apply the Geneva Convention to the war on terror.

Late in 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, eliminating the right of habeas corpus for enemy combatants, allowing the admission of coerced evidence, and giving the president the power to define who is an enemy combatant. The Act does, however, give detainees fair notice of the charges against them, counsel paid for by the American government, and considerable discovery of the prosecutions case against them. In March 2007, the military tribunals in Guantánamo recommenced with high profile cases resulting in a number of guilty pleas. At the same time, skepticism from left-wing politicians regarding the proceedings grew with increasing calls for the closing of the Gitmo detention center.

Most notably, Robert Gates, who replaced Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in 2007, reportedly called for the closing of the detention center because of concern that the prosecution of war on terror was burdened by the proceedings and their perception by foreign nations. The U.S. Supreme Court may be compelled to address the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act.

SEE ALSO Al-Qaeda; Castro, Fidel; Cuban Missile Crisis; Imprisonment; Interrogation; IraqU.S. War; Military

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Guantánamo Bay. GITMO. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/guantanamo-bay.htm.

The Illegal United States Naval Base in Guantánamo. Official Cuban Foreign Ministry Website.

http://www.cubaminrex.cu/CDH/60cdh/Guantanamo/English/Historical%20Background.htm.

Lease of Coaling or Naval Stations Agreement Between the United States and Cuba (1903). 2004. In Guantánamo: What the World Should Know, eds. Michael Ratner and Ellen Ray, 9496. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Shanker, Thom and David E. Sanger. 2007. New to Job, Gates Argued for Closing Guantánamo. New York Times, March 22.

Mary M. McKenzie

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Guantánamo Bay

GUANTÁNAMO BAY

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, U.S. naval base, naval air station, and U.S. Marine Corps base near the eastern end of the south coast of Cuba. This 36,000-acre compound fell under American control under the terms of the Platt Amendment of 1901, by which the United States obtained the right to intervene in Cuba and to buy or lease territory for naval stations. A new treaty in 1934 eliminated the right of intervention but reasserted prior stipulations in regard to Guantánamo Bay. The Cuban Communist government of Fidel Castro later denied the validity of the treaties, but the United States retained the base. The site has an excellent deep-water land-locked harbor.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fitzgibbon, Russell H. Cuba and the United States, 19001935. Menasha, Wis.: George Banta Publishing, 1935; New York: Russell and Russell, 1964.

Paterson, Thomas G. Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Charles B. MacDonald / a. r.

See also Caribbean Policy ; Cuba, Relations with ; Treaties with Foreign Nations .

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Guantánamo Bay

Guantánamo Bay site of a US air base in Cuba where a number of those captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, or suspected of terrorist involvement, are held.

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"Guantánamo Bay." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/guantanamo-bay