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Thursday, April 22, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Virtual meeting on Gtmo naval base will demand an end to this violation  

Havana, Feb 23.- The violation of the sovereignty of Cuba that constitutes the United States naval base in Guantánamo (east) will be among the topics debated today at the virtual meeting Military bases in Latin America.

Convened by the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of the Peoples, together with other organizations, the space will be broadcast starting at 10:00 local time on the Movement's Facebook page, and it will be another opportunity to claim the return of the Cuban territory occupied 118 years ago.

For more than a century, there are many voices that within and outside the Caribbean nation have referred to the illegality of the military enclave, even protected by international conventions that condemn the use of threat or the use of pressure to establish agreements.

The Platt Amendment, the constitutional appendix that Cubans were forced to accept in 1901 to end the US military occupation that the country had been experiencing since 1899, was in this case the coercive element.

His letter forced the island to sell or lease land for naval and coal bases; Hence, the agreement signed on February 16, 1903 by the presidents of Cuba, Tomás Estrada Palma, and of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, which gave rise to the station, cannot be seen as the fruit of a legitimate negotiation.

The United Nations Conference on the Law of Treaties, held in Vienna in 1969, approved a Declaration on Military, Political or Economic Coercion in the Conclusion of Treaties, in which they rejected cases such as that of the US naval base in Guantánamo.

Its existence also coincides with what article 42 of the IV Hague Convention (1907) defines as an illegally occupied territory: that under the authority or effective control of the enemy army.

Other keys to understanding the violation that the persistence of this phenomenon over time is offered by the Cuban researcher Elier Ramírez in an article published in Cubadebate.

It points out that although the Platt Amendment was abrogated in 1934, its postulates regarding land for coal bunkers or naval stations were ensured in the new agreement signed that year between Cuba and the United States.

Said treaty established the validity of the base as long as the parties did not agree to modify or repeal the stipulations of what was signed in 1903.

He added that, as long as the northern nation did not abandon the enclave, or the two governments agreed to a modification of its current limits, it would continue to have the same territorial extension.

In this way, Cuba was deprived of the possibility of ending the contract, a power that only remained in the hands of the US administration.

On the other hand, the famous repeal of the Platt Amendment was turned into a farce thanks to the new agreement, because as the researcher Olga Miranda explains in her work "Undesirable Neighbors. The Guantánamo Naval Base", repealing legislation is entirely destroying it; but this did not happen in this case.

Historian Elier Ramírez also points out that the 1903 agreement, by granting the United States complete jurisdiction and dominion over the leased lands, has violated the principle of territorial integrity enshrined in Cuban constitutions from 1901 to the present.

It adds that it is universally considered that the treaties without term have value while the circumstances of the moment of their celebration last; but Cuba has not been a Yankee neocolony for a long time and, therefore, none of the treaties of that period should be taken as valid, Ramírez points out.

The permanence of the United States naval base in Guantánamo even qualifies as an act of colonialism, says the expert based on resolution 1514 approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1960.

All these arguments are defended by Cubans on the international stage and by people in solidarity, who have not stopped demanding the return of the illegally occupied territory.

Added to this is the condemnation of the activities carried out in that enclave by the US government, which since 2002 turned its facilities into a prison denounced as a center of torture. (Text and photo: PL)