Cuba scrutinizes lease for Gitmo as new US admin takes over

Cuba

The closure of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay is a controversial topic.

But something that is not often addressed is the agreement between Washington and Havana that allows the U.S. access to Cuban soil.

CGTN’s Yasmeen Alamiri reports.

Cuba scrutinizes lease for Gitmo as new US admin takes over

Cuba scrutinizes lease for Gitmo as new US admin takes over

The closure of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay is a controversial topic. But something that is not often addressed is the agreement between Washington and Havana that allows the U.S. access to Cuban soil. CGTN’s Yasmeen Alamiri reports.
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The 120-square kilometers of land and water that make up Guantanamo Bay have been the source of much controversy. Not only because of the U.S. detention facility located here, but because of the unusual lease from Cuba that’s allowed the U.S. Navy to maintain a base here for more than 100 years. Cuba claims the lease is invalid.

Seventeen and a half miles of fence line are all that divide Cuba from the U.S. Naval Base, which the United States has been leasing from Cuba since 1903. This gate behind me used to open regularly for commuters that were coming in from Cuba to work on the U.S. Naval Base. However, the last of those commuters retired in 2012.

Meetings are rare and security is tight along the border, which according to the U.S. military is still riddled with land mines.

The U.S. relationship with Cuba underwent many changes in 2016, with President Barack Obama working to normalize relations with Havana, and making the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in 88 years.

Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro was always very vocal about his opposition to the U.S. Naval Base, a sentiment his successor and brother Raul, shares.

On the U.S. side, life on base looks similar to any small town in America. Neighborhoods, schools and even a McDonalds along the main road.

With the passing of Fidel Castro and election of Donald Trump, it’s unclear what direction U.S.-Cuban relations will take. Analysts from both countries know Trump could reverse much of the progress made by Obama.

While President-elect Trump has vowed to keep the Guantanamo prison open, he’s suggested that maybe the terms of the lease be revisited.

For the time being, it’s business as usual on the base. But there’s no telling what’s on the horizon.