Rafael Alcides, Havana, 2 April 2016 — The government that has ruled us since 1959 insists that the American Naval Base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Province is illegal. Mistake. It is immoral, but not illegal. At a time when the United States did not hide its eye patch and peg leg it took advantage, before leaving the island, of four years of military occupation to get the impoverished Cuban government of the time to cede the 117 square kilometers where the base is located. Arrogant, it demanded a contract “in perpetuity.”
Resorting to sophistry, the authorities of the recently inaugurated Cuban government, after four hundred years of Spanish colonialism and a war lasting thirty years, got them to change the humiliating term “in perpetuity” for another that today would be comical if it didn’t move us to pity the precarious situation of those exhausted liberators.
Listen for yourself: In the document signed by both governments the territory that houses the Naval Base in held not “in perpetuity,” but for as long as the United States “needs it.”
Cuba, of course, has the duty to reclaim this territory. It is part of the Island. It belongs to it. But they should do so in polite terms, neighbor to neighbor, taking advantage of yesterday’s pirate, who today is, or tries to seem, sustained by democracy, the archetype of man dreamed of by God.
The Cuban government’s acting like a “tough guy,” is ignoring that while governments come and go, the conventions of one state with another state are the commitments of the nation. This is serious.
It would authorize Spain, for one example, to set aside the Treaty of Paris signed on Janaury 1, 1898 any time it wants, and to show up at mouth of El Morro with troops and the king, in person, to resume its former sovereign rights over “the Always Faithful island of Cuba.”