The History Behind Guantanamo

This post was written by Dr. Art Pitz on May 27, 2009
Posted Under: International Relations

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe via email. Thanks for reading!

With all of the current controversy over the use of waterboarding and other questionable interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, I am reminded of how we acquired the base in the first place.  The U.S. coerced ownership of this place from newly quasi-independent Cuba in the aftermath of the Spanish American War.

“Quasi-independent”?

 Indeed.  Without reviewing here the background reasons for the Spanish-American War, we can say that the U.S. indulged in a binge of imperialism in its aftermath.  The U.S. defeated Spain in the war and took over Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines as a result.

 As for Cuba, the U.S. had allegedly fought on behalf of Cuba’s independence from imperialist Spain.  Cuba did become free of the Spanish yoke only to exchange that yoke for an American one.  The U.S. imposed the Platt Amendment upon the new Cuban government whereby the U.S. retained the right to intervene at any time to defend American, not Cuban, interests in the island.  This Amendment was even placed within Cuba’s new Constitution.

 In addition, the U.S. insisted upon and received Guantanamo as a base.  If you look at a map of the Caribbean, you can readily understand why.  Guantanamo coupled with ownership of the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico put the U.S. in a position to make the Caribbean into an American lake.  And, so it became.

 Given this imperialistic background, it is perhaps not too surprising that allegedly nefarious undertakings would transpire at this base in our era.  Read about the actions taken by the American Army in putting down the Filipino revolt in the early 20th century and one wonders if we have indeed learned from our past.

Art Pitz
The Professor’s House

Bookmark to remember or share:
  • Google
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Propeller

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address