Hopefully by now, the hullaballoo over President Obama being photographed under the mural of Che Guevara has died down. Although unfortunate, the angst the picture has caused is a bit overblown, by both political factions.
There were many more important things going on in this visit.
- The Cuban people were amazed to hear their leader answering questions about human rights abuses and in shock that journalists would even ask those questions.
- Before and during the visits, dissidents were rounded up and arrested to avoid embarrassment to the ruling junta.
- Raul Castro, again, demanded the return of Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban people. He said that it is time that the ‘illegally occupied’ base was given back to Cuba.
Although the first two points are interesting, a year ago the demand for Guantanamo’s return was first broached in the deal to stop the Cuban Embargo. Although it has gained notoriety for holding terrorists, first and foremost, Guantanamo Bay is a Naval Base. Ships frequent it while conducting patrols and operations in the Caribbean, it has a functioning Air Base used for base operations and it is staffed by almost 10,000 sailors and marines plus their families.
The agreement to lease Guantanamo Bay predates the communist government of Cuba by almost 60 years. It was signed after Cuba was liberated from Spain by the United States during the Spanish-American War.
The same war that gave us possessions in the Philippines showed that the nascent United States Navy needed coaling stations near patrol areas to supply the ships of the fleet. Guantanamo Bay was perfect for Caribbean patrols.
The base was used in World War II to route mail and as a distribution point for merchant shipping. After the Cuban revolution, however, Guantanamo Bay had a more important role. It was the only American base located in a communist country. The base remained operational during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, even though all of the civilians were evacuated to the United States.
Of course, after the 9/11 attacks, terrorists have been held at Guantanamo Bay detention center. Although it is an important aspect of the War on Terror and the difficulties of holding these enemy combatants on US soil are extreme, the detention center is just a small part of a much larger base.
The naval base at Guantanamo Bay has a long history. It is, currently, the oldest overseas base the United States Navy has and it is important, for both military and political reasons, to hold onto Guantanamo Bay.
The current government of Cuba, on the other hand, is not really ready for the embargo to end.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.