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Guantanamo Base Shows U.S. Arrogance

January 03, 2002

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, asked if the Cuban government will protest the U.S. military's plan to transfer Afghan POWs to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, says, "We don't anticipate any trouble with Mr. Castro" (Dec. 28).

Such haughtiness should not be allowed to cloud the fact that, for nearly a century, Washington has held this piece of Cuban soil--first as colonial master of the puppet government that leased it "in perpetuity" in the aftermath of U.S. military intervention in the Spanish-American War and, since 1959, expressly against the stated wishes of the revolutionary government and the clear and unambiguous sentiment of the Cuban people. Washington's "rental" checks since then have remained uncashed.

Guantanamo, along with Vieques in Puerto Rico, is one of the few military bases maintained by a foreign power in another country against the obvious will of its people. It remains in place thanks to the standing threat of the use of massive, brute force to secure its status as an occupying military garrison.

The U.S. should abandon Guantanamo, symbol of U.S. imperial arrogance.

Washington's movement of POWs there is nothing but a further insult to--and provocative act against--a genuinely independent nation whose people overwhelmingly oppose the war of its aggressive northern neighbor.

It is the continued U.S. bullying that will bring "trouble" to Washington's doorstep, not "Mr. Castro," as Rumsfeld's coy remarks suggest.

Jon Hillson

Inglewood

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Holding our POWs--or hostages--or whatever we want to call them at Guantanamo Bay has only one purpose: to thumb our noses at Fidel Castro.

Patrick A. Mauer

Los Angeles

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