Guantanamo Legality

If we limit our examination of US-Cuba relations to the so-called Cuban-American Treaty of 1903, the question of the legality of using Guantanamo Bay for imprisoning foreign nationals (non-US citizens) and subjecting them to torture arises.

The Cuban-US Treaty limits the use of Guantanamo Bay as stated in Article II:

"The grant of the foregoing Article shall include the right to use and occupy the waters adjacent to said areas of land and water, and to improve and deepen the entrances thereto and the anchorages therein, and generally to do any and all things necessary to fit the premises for use as coaling or naval stations only, and for no other purpose."

"No other purpose" is a phrase limiting activities to "coaling" and "naval station." Do the activities at the US Guantanamo Bay Naval Station conform to the activities found on other US naval stations? Are the activities at the Norfolk (VA) Naval Station comparable to those at Guantanamo? I doubt it. How many people at Norfolk have no right to habeas corpus? How many have been tortured?

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, law professor at Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations and former member of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has written and lectured extensively on this matter.

Why hasn’t torture and/or the legality of activities at Gitmo been challenged in the courts? What the US wants, it gets. Laws and treaties are mere dismissible trifles. 


Cuban-American Treaty


Alfred-Maurice de Zayas




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