Granma International
January 14, 2002


                   THE U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo is a facility located in an
                   area of 117.6 square kilometers of the national territory of
                   Cuba occupied since 1903, due to an Agreement on Coaling
                   and Naval Stations signed by the Government of the United
                   States of America and the Government of Cuba under
                   President Tomás Estrada Palma. At that time, our country was
                   not really independent since an amendment – known as Platt
                   Amendment – had been passed by the U.S. Congress and
                   signed by President McKinley on March 1901 while our country
                   was under occupation by the U.S. army, after its intervention
                   in the independence war waged by the Cuban people against
                   the Spanish metropolis.

                   The Platt Amendment, which granted the United States the
                   right to intervene in Cuba, was imposed on the text of our
                   1901 Constitution as a prerequisite for the withdrawal of the
                   American troops from the Cuban territory. In line with that
                   clause, the aforementioned Agreement on Coaling and Naval
                   Stations was signed on February 1903 in Havana and
                   Washington, respectively. It actually included two areas of
                   our national territory: Bahía Honda and Guantánamo,
                   although a naval base was never established in the former.

                   In Article II of that Agreement, the right was literally granted
                   to the United States to do "all that is necessary to outfit
                   those places so they can be used exclusively as coaling or
                   naval stations, and for no other purpose."

                   In addition to that treaty of February 1903, on May 22 that
                   same year a Permanent Treaty of Relations was signed by
                   Cuba and the United States of America using the exact text of
                   the 8 clauses contained in the Platt Amendment which were
                   thus turned into articles of said treaty.

                   Twenty-one years later, on May 29, 1934, in the spirit of the
                   United States’ Good Neighbor Policy under President Franklin
                   Delano Roosevelt, a new Treaty of Relations was subscribed
                   between the Republic of Cuba and the United States of
                   America that abrogated the previous 1903 Treaty, thereby
                   abrogating the Platt Amendment. The new Treaty definitely
                   excluded Bahía Honda as a possible base, but it sustained
                   the presence in Guantánamo Naval Base and kept in effect
                   the rules of establishment. As for such rules that remained in
                   force, Article III of the new Treaty stated: "Until the two
                   contracting parties agree to the modification of the
                   agreement in regard to the lease to the United States of
                   America of lands in Cuba for coaling and naval stations signed
                   by the President of the Republic of Cuba on February 16,
                   1903, and by the President of the United States of America on
                   the 23rd day of the same month and year, the stipulations of
                   that agreement with regard to the naval station of
                   Guantánamo shall continue in effect. The supplementary
                   agreement in regard to coaling and naval stations signed
                   between the two Governments on July 2, 1903, also shall
                   continue in effect in the same form and on the same
                   conditions with respect to the naval station at Guantánamo.
                   So long as the United States of America shall not abandon
                   the said naval station of Guantánamo or the two
                   Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present
                   limits, the station shall continue to have the territorial area
                   that it now has, with the limits that it has on the date of the
                   signature of the present Treaty."

                   As evidence of the abusive conditions imposed by that Treaty,
                   the above-mentioned supplementary agreement established
                   that the United States would compensate the Republic of
                   Cuba for the leasing of 117.6 square kilometers – that is,
                   11,760 hectares comprising a large portion of one of the best
                   bays in the country – with the sum of 2,000 U.S. dollars
                   annually, presently increased to 4,085 U.S. dollars annually –
                   that is, 34.7 cents per hectare – to be paid to Cuba in yearly
                   checks. An elemental sense of dignity and absolute
                   disagreement with what happens in that portion of our
                   national territory has prevented Cuba from cashing those
                   checks which are issued to the Treasurer General of the
                   Republic of Cuba, a position and an institution that ceased to
                   exist a long time ago.

                   After the victory of the Revolution in Cuba, that base was the
                   source of numerous frictions between Cuba and the United
                   States. The overwhelming majority of the over three thousand
                   Cubans who worked there were fired from their jobs and
                   replaced by people from other countries. At present, only 10
                   Cubans work there.

                   In the past, shots were often made from that facility against
                   our territory, and several Cuban soldiers died as a result.
                   Counterrevolutionaries found haven and support over there.
                   Following unilateral decisions by leaders of the U.S.
                   government throughout the revolutionary period in Cuba, tens
                   of thousands of immigrants – Haitians and Cubans who tried
                   to make it to the United States by their own means – were
                   taken to that military base. Throughout more than four
                   decades, that base has been put to multiple uses, none of
                   them contemplated in the agreement that justified its
                   presence in our territory.

                   But Cuba could do absolutely nothing to prevent it.

                   On the other hand, for almost half a century propitious
                   conditions have never existed for a calm, legal and diplomatic
                   analysis aimed at the only logical and fair solution to this
                   prolonged, chronic and abnormal situation, that is, the return
                   to our country of that portion of our national territory occupied
                   against the will of our people.

                   However, a basic principle of Cuba’s policy toward this bizarre
                   and potentially dangerous problem between Cuba and the
                   United States, which is decades long, has been to avoid that
                   our claim would become a major issue, not even a specially
                   important issue, among the multiple and grave differences
                   existing between the two nations. In the Oath of Baraguá
                   presented on February 19, 2000, the issue of the Guantánamo
                   base is dealt with in the last point and formulated in the
                   following way: "In due course, since it is not our main
                   objective at this time, although it is our people’s right and
                   one that we shall never renounce, the illegally occupied
                   territory of Guantánamo should be returned to Cuba!"

                   That military enclave is the place where American and Cuban
                   soldiers stand face to face, thus the place where serenity and
                   a sense of responsibility are most required. Although we have
                   always been willing to fight and die in defense of our
                   sovereignty and our rights, the most sacred duty of our
                   people and their leaders has been to preserve the nation from
                   avoidable, unnecessary and bloody wars.

                   At the same time, it is also the place where it would be
                   easier for people interested in bringing about conflicts
                   between the two countries to undertake plans aimed at
                   attracting aggressive actions against our people in their
                   heroic political, economic and ideological resistance vis-à-vis
                   the enormous power of the United States.

                   Our country has been particularly thoughtful about applying
                   there a specially cautious and equable policy.

                   It should be pointed out, however, that even if for decades
                   there was quite a lot of tension in the area of the
                   Guantánamo naval base, there have been changes there in
                   the past few years and now an atmosphere of mutual respect

                   In 1994, when a large number of rafters sent by the U.S.
                   authorities concentrated there, the situation created
                   determined the need to solve the numerous problems that
                   had been accumulating, which endangered the lives of many.
                   Some people interested in migrating to the United States
                   from our own territory attempted to do so through the base,
                   while quite a few tried to leave the U.S. military base and
                   return to our country crossing mine fields. Accidents occurred
                   and often our soldiers had to take major risks to rescue
                   people from the mine fields. Such actions also required
                   information and cooperation from the personnel stationed at
                   the base. Additionally, there were the heavy rains and
                   swollen rivers in the area that swept away mines and blurred
                   their markings which gave rise to similarly hazardous
                   situations for all.

                   Such circumstances contributed to an improvement of the
                   atmosphere there and to authorized, albeit minimal, contacts
                   that were indispensable to those in positions of responsibility
                   on both sides of the base area. Consequently, what prevails
                   there today is not what could be described as an atmosphere
                   of hostility or war.

                   Two new international developments have had a bearing on
                   the situation in that base: the war in Kosovo in 1999 and the
                   war in Afghanistan after the terrorist acts of September 11. In
                   both cases, the United States has played a protagonist role.

                   In the former case there was a large number of Kosovar
                   refugees. The Government of the United States of America, in
                   accordance with previous commitments, made the decision to
                   use the military base to shelter a number of them. Such
                   decisions are always made unilaterally; our views are never
                   previously asked; and, we were never even informed.
                   However, on that occasion, for the first time, we were
                   informed of the decision and the rational behind it. We then
                   gave a constructive response.

                   Although we were opposed to that war, there was no reason
                   for us to oppose the assistance that the Kosovar refugees
                   might need. We even offered our country’s cooperation, if
                   necessary, to provide medical care or any other services that
                   might be required. Ultimately, the refugees were not sent to
                   Guantánamo naval base.

                   This time the decision has been adopted to bring prisoners of
                   the war in Afghanistan to that military base. The same as in
                   the past, we were not consulted but there was a gesture in
                   previously providing ample and detailed information on the
                   steps that would be taken to accommodate the prisoners
                   there and ensure that the security of our people is not in
                   anyway jeopardized. The latest details were given to the
                   Cuban authorities last Monday, January 7, 2002.

                   The information supplied indicates that there will be a strong
                   reinforcement of the military personnel at the base in charge
                   of taking the necessary measures for the accomplishment of
                   their objectives.

                   Despite the fact that we hold different positions as to the
                   most efficient way to eradicate terrorism, the difference
                   between Cuba and the United States lies in the method and
                   not in the need to put an end to that scourge – so familiar to
                   our people that have been its victim for more than 40 years –
                   the same that last September 11 dealt a repulsive and brutal
                   blow to the American people.

                   Although the transfer of foreign war prisoners by the United
                   States government to one of its military facilities – located in
                   a portion of our land over which we have no jurisdiction, as
                   we have been deprived of it – does not abide by the
                   provisions that regulated its inception, we shall not set any
                   obstacles to the development of the operation.

                   Having been apprised of the operation and aware of the fact
                   that it demands a considerable movement of personnel and
                   air transportation vehicles, the Cuban authorities will keep in
                   contact with the personnel at the U.S. naval base to adopt
                   such measures as may be deemed necessary to avoid the risk
                   of accidents that might put in jeopardy the lives of the
                   personnel thus transported.

                   Despite the major increase of military personnel that such an
                   operation will require, we feel that it does not pose any
                   threat to the national security of our country. Therefore, we
                   will not increase the Cuban personnel or the military
                   equipment stationed in the area of that facility. Our highly
                   disciplined and qualified personnel suffice to ensure the
                   safety of the population in the region in case of any danger
                   that might originate with the transfer of the foreign prisoners
                   to that base.

                   Cuba will make every effort to preserve the atmosphere of
                   détente and mutual respect that has prevailed in that area in
                   the past few years.

                   The government of Cuba appreciates the prior information
                   supplied and has taken note with satisfaction of the public
                   statements made by the U.S. authorities in the sense that
                   the prisoners will be accorded an adequate and humane
                   treatment that may be monitored by the International Red

                   Although the exact number of prisoners that will be
                   concentrated there is not yet known, just like on the occasion
                   of the project to transfer to that place thousands of Kosovar
                   refugees, we are willing to cooperate with the medical
                   services required as well as with sanitation programs in the
                   surrounding areas under our control to keep them clean of
                   vectors and pests. Likewise, we are willing to cooperate in
                   any other useful, constructive and humane way that may

                   This is the position of Cuba!

                   Government of the Republic of Cuba

                   January 11, 2002