By Magda Rosales Rodríguez
It is February of 1903, a peaceful month for the emerging nation. Representatives from Washington and Tomas Estrada Palma sign a document. What do the main characters of the power nation and the servile Cuban president sign?
It is just the agreement for the naval and bunkers stations, stipulated in the Platt amendment and that will cut out till nowadays part of our territorial sovereignty. According to this appendix, imposed to the Constitution of March 1901, the Cuban government should sell or rent to the northern country “ the lands needed for bunkers or naval stations in certain places that will be convened with the president of the United States”.
Such points (or portions of land and water located in the Cuban island) are locate in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda, although there was none enclave in the last one. Such was the condition imposed for the American army to leave the Cuban land after their opportunist interference in the war we won to Spain.
That first agreement is followed by another made on July 2nd 1903, that establishes the rent of naval stations and bunkers and is approved by the Cuban Republic’s senate and by the president of the United States on July 16th and October 2nd of the same year.
According to Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, in his book History of the Platt Amendment, the Cuban president approved the second on August 17th 1903, “and the ratifications were exchanged in Washington City, October 6th, and published in the Official Republican Cuban Gazette On October 12th”.
In that work the author of Cuba no debe su independencia a los Estados Unidos (Cuba does not owe its independence to the United States) explains that on December 27th 1912 both governments agree to forget the part of the covenants of February and July 1903, “ related to the land and water of Bahia Honda , and in exchange, enlarge the ones of Guantanamo naval base”, the first one would be completely excluded in 1934 for a new treaty.
This new treaty passed out for not being ratified by the senates in the established time, but in fact, its stipulations were used and Guantanamo Naval Base was enlarge to the nowadays limits : 117,6 kilometers (11 thousand 760 hectares) that includes great part of one of the Cuban bays, for which the American government promised to give two thousand dollars yearly.
Since 1959, our government has decided not to take such laughable quantity of money ( to day 4 thousand 085 dollars, what means 34,7 cents per hectares), - according to Cuban government declaration to the national and international public opinion made on January 11th 2002 “for our dignity and our complete disagreement to what is happening in that portion of our land”.
And of course, because to do that would mean to admit the legal character of the enclave, that is a product of an imposition, and threatening and violates the International Convention about Treaty Rights celebrated in Vienna, Austria, 1969, whose chapter 52 declares null any treaty gotten by threatening or force, like happens in this case.
In his article Territorio irrenunciable, the journalist Reinaldo Santanana points out that “the renting of lands and waters to the American government for the establishment of Guantanamo Naval Base- according to Permanent Treaty of 1903 and the One of Relations of 1934, substitute of the first one- was made” as long as the Americans needed it”.
And he thinks that not being given a dead time, and having acquired an everlasting character if the northern wants, is violating the law for this kind of treaty , because it is absurd that the owner of something (in this case Cuba) do not have the possibility of getting back the lost territory in certain moment”.
But the people and the Cuban government will never give up to the sovereignty of that portion of land, in which many murders have been committed, and many plans against our country has been prepared, and although this is a moment of mutual respect for both sides of the only artificial Cuban frontier, as said our minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), General of the Army Raul Castro Ruz, On January 19th 2002 in Malones Mirador.
The Revolution is ready to solve such differences diplomatically, to the light of the nowadays international laws, as show our serenity in front of the several aggressions and provocations of the American posts in a territory occupied illegally, during a century, and against the will of the Cuban people.