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|United States Naval Station|
|Guantánamo Bay, Cuba|
Aerial view of McCalla Field, Guantanamo Bay (looking north-east)
|Controlled by||United States Navy|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Guantánamo Bay|
|Captain John A. Fischer, USN|
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Spanish : Base Naval de la Bahía de Guantánamo), officially known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB, (also called GTMO or Gitmo because of the common pronunciation of this word by the U.S. military ) is a United States military base on the shore of Guantánamo Bay and is also the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base. The base is located on 45 square miles (116 km2) of land and water[ citation needed ] at Guantánamo Bay, at the southeastern end of Cuba, which the U.S. leased for use as a coaling station and naval base in 1903. The lease was $2,000 in gold per year until 1934, when the payment was set to match the value in gold in dollars; in 1974, the yearly lease was set to $4,085.
Since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban communist government has consistently protested against the U.S. presence on Cuban soil and called it "illegal" under international law, alleging that the base "was imposed on Cuba by force." Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, for alleged unlawful combatants captured in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places during the War on Terror.Cases of torture of prisoners by the U.S. military, and their denial of protection under the Geneva Conventions, have been criticized.
Besides servicemembers, the base houses a large number of civilian contractors working for the military. Many of these contractors are migrant workers from Jamaica and the Philippines, and are thought to constitute up to 40% of the base's population.
Major contractors working at NSGB have included the following:[ citation needed ]
Ocean transportation is provided by Schuyler Line Navigation Company, a U.S. Flag Ocean Carrier. Schuyler Line operates under government contract to supply sustainment and building supplies to the base.
The area surrounding Guantanamo bay was originally inhabited by the Taíno people.On 30 April 1494, Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage, arrived and spent the night. The place where Columbus landed is now known as Fisherman's Point. Columbus declared the bay Puerto Grande. The bay and surrounding areas came under British control during the War of Jenkins' Ear. Prior to British occupation, the bay was referred to as Walthenham Harbor. The British renamed the bay Cumberland Bay. The British retreated from the area after a failed attempt to march to Santiago de Cuba.
During the Spanish–American War, the U.S. fleet attacking Santiago [ citation needed ]secured Guantánamo's harbor for protection during the hurricane season of 1898. The Marines landed at Guantanamo Bay with naval support, and American and Cuban forces routed the defending Spanish troops. There is a monument on McCalla Hill to one Navy officer and five Marines who died in battle at Guantanamo Bay.
The war ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1898, in which Spain formally relinquished control of Cuba. Although the war was over, the United States maintained a strong military presence on the island. In 1901 the United States government passed the Platt Amendment as part of an Army Appropriations Bill.Section VII of this amendment read
That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States[ citation needed ]
After initial resistance by the Cuban Constitutional Convention, the Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1901.The Constitution took effect in 1902, and land for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay was granted to the United States the following year.
USS Monongahela (1862), an old warship which served as a storeship at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was totally destroyed by fire on 17 March 1908. A 4-inch gun was salvaged from her wreck and put on display at the Naval Station. Since the gun was deformed by the heat from the fire, it was nicknamed "Old Droopy". The gun was on display on Deer Point until the command disposed of it, judging its appearance less than exemplary of naval gunnery. A similar gun, possibly also salvaged from the Monongahela, is on display near the Bay View Club on the Naval Station.[ citation needed ]
|Signed||16 February 1903 ; 23 February 1903|
|Effective||23 February 1903|
|Citations||TS 418; 6 Bevans 1113|
|Signed||2 July 1903|
|Effective||6 October 1903|
|Citations||TS 426; 6 Bevans 1120|
The 1903 lease agreement was executed in two parts. The first, signed in February, consisted of the following provisions:
The second part, signed five months later in July 1903, consisted of the following provisions:
SIGNED Theodore Roosevelt and Jose M Garcia Montes.
In 1934, the United States unilaterally changed the payment from gold coin to U.S. dollars per the Gold Reserve Act. The lease amount was set at US$3,386.25, based on the price of gold at the time.In 1973, the U.S. adjusted the lease amount to $3,676.50, and in 1974 to $4,085, based on further increases to the price of gold in USD. Payments have been sent annually, but only one lease payment has been accepted since the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro claimed that this check was deposited due to confusion in 1959. The Cuban government has not deposited any other lease checks since that time.
The 1903 Lease for Guantanamo has no fixed expiration date.
During World War II, the base was set up to use a nondescript number for postal operations. The base used the Fleet Post Office, Atlantic, in New York City, with the address: 115 FPO NY.The base was also an important intermediate distribution point for merchant shipping convoys from New York City and Key West, Florida, to the Panama Canal and the islands of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Until the 1953–1959 revolution, thousands of Cubans commuted daily from outside the base to jobs within it. In mid-1958, vehicular traffic was stopped; workers were required to walk through the base's several gates. Public Works Center buses were pressed into service almost overnight to carry the tides of workers to and from the gate.[ citation needed ]
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the families of military personnel were evacuated from the base. Notified of the evacuation on 22 October, evacuees were told to pack one suitcase per family member, to bring evacuation and immunization cards, to tie pets in the yard, to leave the keys to the house on the dining table, and to wait in front of the house for buses.[ citation needed ] Dependents travelled to the airfield for flights to the United States, or to ports for passage aboard evacuation ships. After the crisis was resolved, family members were allowed to return to the base in December 1962.
From 1939, the base's water was supplied by pipelines that drew water from the Yateras River about 4.5 miles (7 km) northeast of the base. The U.S. government paid a fee for this; in 1964, it was about $14,000 a month for about 2,500,000 U.S. gallons (9,000 m3) per day. In 1964, the Cuban government stopped the flow. The base had about 14,000,000 U.S. gallons (50,000 m3) of water in storage, and strict water conservation was put into effect immediately. The U.S. first imported water from Jamaica by barge, then relocated a desalination plant from San Diego (Point Loma).[ citation needed ] When the Cuban government accused the United States of stealing water, base commander John D. Bulkeley ordered that the pipelines be cut and a section removed. A 38 in (970 mm) length of the 14 in (360 mm) diameter pipe and a 20 in (510 mm) length of the 10 in (250 mm) diameter pipe were lifted from the ground and the openings sealed.[ citation needed ]
The military facilities at Guantanamo Bay have over 8,500 U.S. sailors and Marines stationed there.It is the only military base the U.S. maintains in a communist country.
In 2005, the U.S. Navy completed a $12 million wind-power project at the base, erecting four 950-kilowatt, 275-foot-tall (76.2 meter) wind turbines, reducing the need for diesel fuel to power the existing diesel generators (the base's primary electricity generation).In 2006, the wind turbines reduced diesel fuel consumption by 650,000 gallons (2,460,518 liter) annually.
By 2006, only two elderly Cubans, Luis Delarosa and Harry Henry, still crossed the base's North East Gate daily to work on the base, because the Cuban government prohibited new recruitment since its revolution. They both retired at the end of 2012.
In January 2009, President Obama signed executive orders directing the CIA to shut what remains of its network of "secret" prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year. As of April 2018 [update] , the detention center was in operation.However, he postponed difficult decisions on the details for at least six months. On 7 March 2011, President Obama issued an executive order that permits ongoing indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 authorized indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, but enforcement of the relevant section was temporarily blocked by a federal court ruling in the case of Hedges v. Obama on 16 May 2012, a suit brought by a number of private citizens, including Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir. After a series of decisions and appeals, the lawsuit was vacated because the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the suit.
At the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013, Cuba's Foreign Minister demanded the U.S. return the base and the "usurped territory" which the Cuban government considers to be occupied since the U.S. invasion of Cuba during the Spanish–American War in 1898.
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The Naval Base is divided into three main geographical sections: Leeward Point, Windward Point, and Guantánamo Bay. Guantánamo Bay physically divides the Naval Station into sections. The bay extends past the boundaries of the base into Cuba, where the bay is then referred to as Bahía de Guantánamo. Guantánamo Bay contains several cays, which are identified as Hospital Cay, Medico Cay, North Toro Cay, and South Toro Cay.[ citation needed ]
Leeward Point of the Naval Station is the site of the active airfield. Major geographical features on Leeward Point include Mohomilla Bay and the Guantánamo River. Three beaches exist on the Leeward side. Two are available for use by base residents, while the third, Hicacal Beach, is closed.[ citation needed ]
Windward Point contains most of the activities at the Naval Station. There are nine beaches available to base personnel. The highest point on the base is John Paul Jones hill at a total of 495 feet (151 m). The geography of Windward Point is such that there are many coves and peninsulas along the bay shoreline providing ideal areas for mooring ships.[ citation needed ]
Cactus Curtain is a term describing the line separating the naval base from Cuban-controlled territory. After the Cuban Revolution, some Cubans sought refuge on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. In late 1961, Cuban troops planted an 8-mile (13 km) barrier of Opuntia cactus along the northeastern section of the 17-mile (27 km) fence surrounding the base to stop Cubans from escaping Cuba to take refuge in the United States. This was dubbed the Cactus Curtain, an allusion to Europe's Iron Curtain, the Bamboo Curtain in East Asia or the similar Ice Curtain in the Bering Strait.
U.S. and Cuban troops placed some 55,000 land mines across the "no man's land" around the perimeter of the naval base creating the second-largest minefield in the world, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. On 16 May 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered the demining of the American field. They have since been replaced with motion and sound sensors to detect intruders on the base. The Cuban government has not removed its corresponding minefield outside the perimeter.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, the base was used to house Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted on the high seas. In the early 1990s, it held refugees who fled Haiti after military forces overthrew president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These refugees were held in a detainment area called Camp Bulkeley until United States district court Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. declared the camp unconstitutional on 8 June 1993. This decision was later vacated. The last Haitian migrants departed Guantanamo on 1 November 1995.[ citation needed ]
Beginning in 2002, some months after the War on Terror started in response to the September 11 attacks, a small portion of the base was used to detain several hundred enemy combatants at Camp Delta, Camp Echo, Camp Iguana, and the now-closed Camp X-Ray. The U.S. military has alleged without formal charge that some of these detainees are linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In litigation regarding the availability of fundamental rights to those imprisoned at the base, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the detainees "have been imprisoned in territory over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction and control."Therefore, the detainees have the fundamental right to due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. A district court has since held that the "Geneva Conventions applied to the Taliban detainees, but not to members of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization."
On 10 June 2006, the Department of Defense reported that three Guantanamo Bay detainees committed suicide. The military reported the men hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes.A study published by Seton Hall Law's Center for Policy and Research, while making no conclusions regarding what actually transpired, asserts that the military investigation failed to address significant issues detailed in that report.
On 6 September 2006, President George W. Bush announced that alleged or non-alleged combatants held by the CIA would be transferred to the custody of Department of Defense, and held at Guantanamo Prison. Of approximately 500 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, only 10 have been tried by the Guantanamo military commission, but all cases have been stayed pending the adjustments being made to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld .[ citation needed ]
President Barack Obama said he intended to close the detention camp, and planned to bring detainees to the United States to stand trial by the end of his first term in office. On 22 January 2009, he issued three executive orders. Only one of these explicitly dealt with policy at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and directed the camp's closure within one year. All three could have possibly impacted the detention center, as well as how the United States holds detainees.[ citation needed ]
While mandating closure of the detention camp, the naval base as a whole is not subject to the order and will remain operational indefinitely. This plan was thwarted for the time being on 20 May 2009, when the United States Senate voted to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States. Senator Daniel Inouye, a Democrat from Hawaii and chairman of the appropriations committee, said he initially favored keeping Guantanamo open until Obama produced a "coherent plan for closing the prison." 40 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.
Despite the prohibition on the establishment of "commercial or other enterprises" as stated in Article 3 of the second part of the lease, several businesses have been opened in the military base. A Baskin-Robbins ice cream stand, which opened in the 1980s, was one of the first business franchises allowed on the base.In early 1986, the base added the first and only McDonald's restaurant within Cuba. A Subway restaurant was opened in 2002. In 2004, a combined KFC & A&W restaurant was opened at the bowling alley and a Pizza Hut Express was added to the Windjammer Restaurant. There is also a cafe that sells Starbucks coffee, and there is a combined KFC & Taco Bell restaurant.
Most of the restaurants on the installation are franchises owned and operated by the Department of the Navy. [ citation needed ]All proceeds from these restaurants are used to support morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) activities for service personnel and their families. These restaurants are located inside the base; as such, they are not accessible to Cubans. In addition to Navy dining facilities and franchises, there are two independent restaurants – the Jerk House, featuring Jamaican jerk chicken and a Cuban restaurant featuring traditional Cuban foods.
There are two airfields within the base, Leeward Point Field and McCalla Field. Leeward Point Field is the active military airfield, with the ICAO code MUGM and IATA code NBW.McCalla Field was designated as the auxiliary landing field in 1970.
Leeward Point Field was constructed in 1953 as part of Naval Air Station (NAS) Guantanamo Bay. 8,000 ft (2,400 m). The former runway, 9/27 was 8,500 ft (2,600 m). Currently, Leeward Point Field operates several aircraft and helicopters supporting base operations. Leeward Point Field was home to Fleet Composite Squadron 10 (VC-10) until the unit was phased out in 1993. VC-10 was one of the last active-duty squadrons flying the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.Leeward Point Field has a single active runway, 10/28, measuring
McCalla Field was established in 1931 4,500 ft (1,400 m), 14/32 at 2,210 ft (670 m), and 10/28 at 1,850 ft (560 m). Camp Justice is now located on the grounds of the former airfield.and remained operational until 1970. Naval Air Station Guantanamo Bay was officially established 1 February 1941. Aircraft routinely operating out of McCalla included JRF-5, N3N, J2F, C-1 Trader, and dirigibles. McCalla Field is now listed as a closed airfield. The area consists of 3 runways: 1/19 at
Access to the Naval Station is very limited and must be preapproved through the appropriate local chain of command with the Commander of the station as the final approval. Since berthing facilities are limited, visitors must be sponsored indicating that they have an approved residence for the duration of the visit.
Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provides for the education of dependent personnel with two schools. Both schools are named for Rear Admiral William Thomas Sampson. W.T. Sampson Elementary School serves grades K–5 and W. T. Sampson High School serves grades 6–12. The Villamar Child Development Center provides child care for dependents from six weeks to five years old. MWR operates a Youth Center that provides activities for dependents.
Some former students of Guantánamo have shared stories of their experiences with the Guantánamo Public Memory Project.The 2013 documentary Guantanamo Circus directed by Christina Linhardt and Michael Rose reveals a glimpse of day-to-day life on GTMO as seen through the eyes of circus performers that visit the base. It is used as a reference by the Guantánamo Public Memory Project.
U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay has an annual rainfall of about 24 in (610 mm). The amount of rainfall has resulted in the base being classified as a semi-arid desert environment. The annual average high temperature on the base is 88.2 °F (31.2 °C), the annual average low is 72.5 °F (22.5 °C).
|Climate data for Guantanamo Bay|
|Average high °F (°C)||84|
|Average low °F (°C)||68|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.0|
Notable people born at the naval base include actor Peter Bergmanand American guitarist Isaac Guillory.
Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp of Joint Task Force Guantanamo on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The first twenty detainees arrived at Guantanamo on 11 January 2002. It was named Camp X-Ray because various temporary camps in the station were named sequentially from the beginning and then from the end of the NATO phonetic alphabet. The legal status of detainees at the camp, as well as government processes for trying their cases, has been a significant source of controversy; several landmark cases have been determined by the United States Supreme Court.
Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) is a U.S. military joint task force based at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba on the southeastern end of the base. JTF-GTMO falls under US Southern Command. Since January 2002 the command has operated the Guantanamo Bay detention camps Camp X-Ray and its successors Camp Delta, Camp V, and Camp Echo, where detained prisoners are held who have been captured in the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks. From the command's founding in 2002 to early 2017, the detainee population has been reduced from 779 to 41. As of May 2019, the unit is under the command of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Timothy C. Kuehhas.
Guantánamo Bay is a bay in Guantánamo Province at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and it is surrounded by steep hills which create an enclave that is cut off from its immediate hinterland.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, also referred to as Guantánamo, GTMO, and "Gitmo", which is on an island on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. As of January 2021, 731 of the 780 people detained were transferred, 40 remain and 9 died while in custody.
Abdul Haq Wasiq is a citizen of Afghanistan who was held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 4. American intelligence analysts estimate that he was born in 1971 in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
Omar Hamzayevich Abdulayev, also known as Muhammadi Davlatov, is a citizen of Tajikistan, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States's Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. The Department of Defense reports that Abdulayev was born on October 11, 1978, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He arrived at Guantanamo on February 9, 2002.
Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed Al Sawah is a citizen of Egypt who was held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba, from May 2002 to January 2016.
Abdul Al Salam Al Hilal is a citizen of Yemen, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.
Matthew Mark Diaz is a former active-duty Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) and Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAGC) officer in the United States Navy. In mid-to-late 2004, Diaz served a six-month tour of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as deputy director of the detention center's legal office. Early in 2005 as LCDR Diaz was concluding his tour, he sent an anonymous greeting card to The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York civil liberties and human rights group. The card contained the names of the detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In July 2006, the United States government formally charged Diaz in a military court with five criminal counts related to the sending of these names, the most serious being that he intended to harm national security or advantage a foreign nation, a violation of the Espionage Act. In May 2007, he was convicted by a seven-member jury of military officers on 4 of 5 counts. He served a 6-month prison sentence and was dismissed from the military.
Ravil Mingazov is a citizen of Russia who was held in extrajudicial detention for almost fifteen years in the United States's Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. The Department of Defense reports that Mingazov was born on December 5, 1967, in Bolsheretski, Russia.
Gouled Hassan Dourad, born April 1, 1974, is a citizen of Somalia who is held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantánamo Bay detainment camps in Cuba.
The nature of international human rights law has been seemingly altered by Americans since the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is one example of recent developments that seem to disregard long standing human rights. The United States of America (USA) has pursued a 'seemingly deliberate strategy' to put suspected terrorists outside the reach of habeas corpus protections. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay serves as the location for a United States military prison in Cuba designed for the detention of non-citizens suspected of terrorist activity. At the time of its creation President Bush stated that its purpose was to respond to serious war crimes, primarily 'a new way to deal with terrorists'. The first camp was set up 3 months after the attacks on the twin towers and since then a human rights debate has begun over the legality of denying detainees the right to petition habeas corpus.
The Wire is a weekly publication published by Joint Task Force Guantanamo, in Cuba—the unit responsible for the extrajudicial detention and interrogation of Guantanamo captives.
Several captives released from extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba have filed a lawsuit against the USA for their detention -- Celikgogus v. Rumsfeld.
Detainees held in the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention camps have initiated both individual and widespread hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay, and camp medical authorities have initiated force-feeding programs.
Carol Rosenberg is a senior journalist at The New York Times. Long a military-affairs reporter at the Miami Herald, from January 2002 into 2019 she reported on the operation of the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention camps, at its naval base in Cuba. Her coverage of detention of captives at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has been praised by her colleagues and legal scholars, and in 2010 she spoke about it by invitation at the National Press Club. Rosenberg had previously covered events in the Middle East. In 2011, she received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her nearly decade of work on the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
McCalla Field was a U.S. military airfield located at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The airfield was named for Bowman H. McCalla, who was a United States Navy admiral in charge of the Battle of Guantánamo Bay. The current field was expanded in 1941 when the original grass runway was replaced. Aviation facilities in the area first appeared in 1913 with a naval aviation camp.
Asim Thahit Abdullah Al Khalaqi (1968-2015) was a citizen of Yemen, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number is 152. Joint Task Force Guantanamo counter-terrorism analysts estimate Al Khalaqi was born in 1968, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the United States' Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in March 2020. Since April 2020, the United States Department of Defense has directed bases to not publicize case statistics.
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