Cuba to US: Return Guantanamo Bay

Raul Castro renews demand amid thaw in relations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2015 7:09 PM CST
Cuba to US: Return Guantanamo Bay
Cuban President Raul Castro listens on a headphone during the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday.   (Roberto Carlos Sanchez)

Cuba is making a renewed push to get Gitmo back. President Raul Castro demanded today that the United States return the US base at Guantanamo Bay, lift the half-century trade embargo on Cuba, and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations. Castro told a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that Cuba and the US are working toward full diplomatic relations, but "if these problems aren't resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement wouldn't make any sense." He also warned the US not to meddle in Havana's internal affairs, reports Reuters.

The US established the military base in 1903, and the current Cuban government has been demanding the land's return since the 1959 revolution that brought it to power. Cuba also wants the US to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for losses caused by the embargo. "The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is the start of a process of normalizing bilateral relations, but this will not be possible while the blockade still exists, while they don't give back the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base," Castro said. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Castro's remarks. (More Raul Castro stories.)

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