Hey, Raul, here is Gitmo with a bow on it!
We understand that the U.S. and Cuba will soon be opening embassies, although it may take a while for the U.S. to approve an ambassador. Thank God that there are still U.S. senators who believe that there is more to foreign policy than hoping bad guys will change.
So what happens with Gitmo?
Or let me say it this way: what is President Obama planning to give Fidel Castro for his birthday next month?
We just gave Iran $150 billion. Why not give a couple of corrupt brothers a base without demanding a thing? It's in this administration's DNA to give away things without getting something back.
So let me ask again: is there a little gift for Fidel's 89th birthday? After all, Fidel and Raúl have been so nice to the U.S. over the years.
The answer may be Guantánamo, as Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz has been saying for months:
I have been predicting for quite a while that the Obama administration’s next goal regarding its foreign policy on Latin America is to gift the Guantanamo naval base to the Castro’s communist regime.
It's true that Gitmo does not have the same military value today that it had in 1903. At the same time, it is doing a great job as a detention center and outpost to keep an eye on the Panama Canal and drug cartel maritime movements.
The Obama administration may return Gitmo on the grounds that it will heal a wound with the Cuban people or Latin America. They used the Latin America argument about restoring relations with Cuba – i.e., we will be more popular south of the border if we recognize Cuba. They fail to see that Latin American criticism of our policy toward Cuba is all about making leftists happy in their respective countries. As a Mexican friend said, "if Castro did not exist, we would have to invent him to keep these leftists happy!"
On the contrary, Guantánamo was never an issue in pre-Castro Cuba politics. In fact, my father's uncle was a judge in that area for a time. The base's baseball team played against local teams. U.S. personnel went into the city, and relations were always good. There was never any animosity toward the base, except in some super-nationalist corners that never amounted to anything.
You won't find the word in any of Castro's speeches. It was a naval base, and hundreds of Cubans worked there.
The outrage over Guantánamo was part of the rewriting of Cuban history to distract people from the failure to hold elections and other democratic promises broken. Guantánamo was also used to promote anti-U.S. feelings among Latin American leftists and, I suppose, U.S. college professors who always blame the U.S. first.
My fear, and I agree with Fausta, is that Russia and China may see value in the location. It could turn Cuba into a big "ear" for Putin.
Of course, the real question is, why are we even talking about returning the base? We have a lease. We've made the payments on time. And finally, where are we going to put the 200-something terrorists located there?