Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Guantanamo Bay Travel Blog

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Guantanamo Bay [GTMO] "GITMO"

The United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is the oldest United States military base on foreign soil and the only Unted States military base in a Communist country. GITMO is located in Oriente Province which is in the far southeast corner of Cuba. GITMO is about 400 miles from Miami, Florida. The climate of GITMO is a tropical desert. Iguanas and nutrias dominate as the most visible wildlife.

As part of the treaty that ended the Spanish American War, the United States Congress permitted to leased 45 square miles of land and water for use as a coal refueling station for Naval activities in December of 1903.

A treaty signed in 1934 reaffirmed the validity of the 1903 lease and granting Cuba and her trading partners free access through Guantanamo Bay, for a payment of $2,000 per year, payable in gold. This treaty can only be terminated at the mutual consent of both the United States and Cuba.

President Dwight Eisenhower cut diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961. United State Marines and the Cuban military began patrolling more than 17 miles of fence. Currently the United State Marines and Cuba's "Frontier Brigade" are on duty 24/7.

President John F. Kennedy ordered the evacuation of military families and non-essential civil employees in October 1962. President John F. Kennedy announced the likely presence of nuclear capable Soviet missiles in and in route to Cuba.

Historically this is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis which resulted in a United States Naval blockade of all Cuban ports until the confirmation that all nuclear capable missiles were removed. By December GITMO was returned to full strength.

On February 6, 1964, Fiedel Castro cut off the municipal water supply to the base in retaliation for the  prosecuting fines on commercial Cuban trawlers for fishing in Florida waters. GITMO has been entirely self-sufficient since. GITMO's desalination plant produces 3.4 million gallons of water each day. The diesel fueled electric plant produces more than 800,000 kilowatt hours each day.

The 2.5 mile-wide Guantanamo Bay divides GITMO into two distinct areas. Currently all active air operations are located on the Leeward side and the main base is on the Windward side. Regularly schedules ferries service is provided. Currently the primary mission of GITMO is to serve as a strategic logistics base for the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and to support counter drug operations in the Caribbean.

GITMO's mission was expanded in 1991, to include the processing of more than 34,000 Haitian refugees. Refugees fled Haiti on anything that could be made to float. A violent coup in Haiti brought on by political corruption and social inequalities caused this wave of refugees. GITMO received both the Navy Unit Commendation and Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its effort.

troysgonewalkabout says:
Great post. I find the US-Cuba relationship incredibly fascinating...though unfortunately I never had the time to get down as far as Santiago or Gitmo while I was in the country.
Posted on: Dec 22, 2009
NickDeJesu says:
Check out La Habana Vieja....lots more to see. Tell the US that your relatives live in Cuba....:)
Posted on: Sep 14, 2009
Madita77 says:
Very interesting!!!
I´ve been in Cuba couple of years ago, but certainly not at Guantanamo Bay (I didn´t try, but I´m pretty sure, they wouldn´t have let me in).
Thank you very much
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
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Guantanamo Bay
photo by: Natjie