“Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is strategically important for US national security, and as our own military personnel have said, also plays a key role as a logistical hub in support of a variety of US priority efforts in the region,” Ros-Lehtinen stated on Wednesday. “The President [Obama] must not allow this strategic asset to be extorted from the US by the Castro brothers at any cost.”
“The Castro brothers, once again, have made their intent toward the United States clear: they plan to use the Iranian playbook in an attempt to extort concessions from the Obama administration in exchange for nothing,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
The congressman noted in her statement that, according to the legally binding agreement between the United States and Cuba regarding Guantanamo, “so long as the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval station of Guantanamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present limits, the station shall continue to have the territorial area that it now has.”
On Tuesday, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro expressed his distrust toward the United States in relation to the US initiative to normalize relations.
The Guantanamo Bay detention facility was opened within Guantanamo Naval Base in 2002 after 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. Since then, the prison has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates, citing inhumane conditions of confinement, including torture.
The United States has been renting a part of southeastern Cuban shore for a naval station in regulation with the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903.
Since 1961, the United States has held an embargo against Cuba, which was originally put in place as a result of the 20th century Cold War antagonism between Washington and the Communist government in Havana.