Guantanamo: state of emergency

Twenty years ago, in the months following the demolition of the Twin Towers, the George W. Bush administration decided to establish the Guantanamo naval base as a prison for Middle East terrorists. The idea was to impose rules on global justice similar to the “preventive war” against radical Islamic terrorism, designed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and other strategists in that Republican administration.

Just as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would not respect international rules, the lack of evidence on weapons of mass destruction or credible information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden—who would be killed in Pakistan many years later—Guantanamo criticized the American An island created law, where hundreds of prisoners were tortured, harassed and intimidated with minimal guarantee of no cause or judicial process.

The naval base’s past history marks the path of that escape of domestic and international law. The occupation of the area in the sea estuary of the city of Caymanera by the United States was a direct result of military and political occupation of the island between 1898 and 1902. By the time the first Republic of Cuba was born, in the last year, the island’s Congress approved the Platt amendment promoted by the United States Senate by a close vote, which allowed Washington to establish naval stations and coal bases in port areas. was given the right.

Like the Platt amendment, the idea of ​​those grounds was justified by the prejudice that Cubans could not govern themselves. In the event of a civil war, in addition to a threat to the interests of the United States on the island, there will always be the possibility that another Atlantic power will crave the sovereignty of the new Caribbean nation. Therefore, it was necessary to organize a protected independence with the right of military intervention and occupation, as happened several times in Cuba and other Caribbean countries in the first decades of the 20th century.

In 1903, a brief treaty between President Theodore Roosevelt and Tomas Estrada Palma established the terms of annexation by the United States of that piece of Cuban territory and another at Bahia Honda on the island’s northwest coast, which would never be settled. had not happened. As long as “it was necessary” Washington would pay an annual rent of two thousand dollars in gold coins. That “need”, in keeping with the Platt Amendment, was linked to domestic instability and external threats from Cuba.

When in 1934, the government resulting from the previous year’s revolution repealed the Platt Amendment, the Guantanamo base remained in the hands of the United States. Following the victory of the 1959 Revolution and the rapid alliance of Fidel Castro’s government with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the base acquired a new function within the bipolar conflict of the Cold War. However, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR in the early 1990s, the base remained.

Unlike Hong Kong, Macau or the Panama Canal, which are returned to their original owners after a hundred years, the occupation of Guantanamo Base is indefinite. Since the collapse of the Soviets, at least, the old 1903 treaty has had to be canceled or renegotiated. The Cuban government considers this illegal and claims not to charge the annual rent. To this illegality has been added, in recent decades, to the non-judicial nature of an anti-terrorism detention center.

One of the justifications offered by Washington for experimenting with a state of emergency in Guantanamo was that the territory did not belong to the United States. It went without saying that he belonged to Cuba, a country where the rule of law is not respected. One of the last remnants of the territorial expansion of the United States is also a symbol of human rights violations.

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