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Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


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In Preparation for Jack's Reports, Some Basic Historical Information about Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Part 1

In order to prepare for Jack's travels to Guantanamo Bay, we thought it might be helpful to provide a little background.

This first segment will provide a brief oversight about GTMO, where it is located, and how the U.S. acquired it in the first place. Future segments will then focus upon the Naval Base itself. And then finally, we will provide some information regarding the detention camp that is the topic of much of the debate in Washington DC as we speak.

Jack has not had the chance to verify all of the information supplied by Wikipedia. So, you will need to cross reference yourself. However, it should provide a good starting part and overview.

According to Wikipedia:

Guantánamo Bay (Spanish: Bahía de Guantánamo) is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the south-eastern end of Cuba (19°54′N 75°9′W). It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and is surrounded by steep hills creating an enclave cut off from its immediate hinterland.

The United States assumed territorial control over Guantánamo Bay under the 1903 Cuban-American Treaty, which granted the United States a perpetual lease of the area. The current Cuban government rejects the Cuban-American Treaty on the grounds that it violates article 52 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and therefore considers the U.S. presence in Guantánamo to be an illegal occupation of the area. However, this article declares a treaty void only if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of international law.

The southern portion of the bay is surrounded by the United States Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, a naval base established in 1898. Recently, the base at Guantánamo Bay began hosting a detainment camp for militant combatants collected from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The bay was originally named Guantánamo by the Taíno. Christopher Columbus landed at the location known as Fisherman's Point in 1494 naming it Puerto Grande.[1] On landing Colombus's crew found Taíno fisherman preparing a feast for the local chieftan. When Spanish settlers took control of the island the bay became a vital habor on the south side of the island. The bay was briefly renamed Cumberland bay when the British seized it in 1741 during the War of Jenkins' Ear. British Admiral Edward Vernon arrived with a force of 8 warships and 4,000 soldiers with plans to march on Santiago de Cuba but were resisted by local guerilla forces and withdrew.

During the Spanish-American War the U.S. fleet attacking Santiago needed shelter from the summer hurricane season. Thus Guantánamo with its excellent harbor was chosen for this purpose. The Marines landed successfully with naval support; however, as they went inland Spanish resistance increased to the point at which Cuban scouts were needed to assist the United States Marines.

The US Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, sometimes called "GTMO" or "Gitmo", covers 116 km² (about 45 square miles) on the western and eastern banks of the bay. It was established in 1898, when the United States obtained control of Cuba from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War, following the 1898 invasion of Guantánamo Bay. The U.S. government obtained a perpetual lease that began on February 23, 1903, from Tomás Estrada Palma, an American citizen, who became the first President of Cuba. The newly formed American protectorate incorporated the Platt Amendment in the Cuban Constitution. The Cuban-American Treaty held, among other things, that the United States, for the purposes of operating coaling and naval stations, has "complete jurisdiction and control" of the Guantánamo Bay, while the Republic of Cuba is recognized to retain ultimate sovereignty.
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