Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, known as GTMO, is located on 45 square miles on the western tip of Cuba. The land which the base occupies was leased to the United States by the Cuban government in perpetuity after the U.S. helped liberate Cuba from Spanish rule in 1903.
The stated purpose of the U.S. base on Cuban soil was to help maintain Cuban independence. By 1958, GTMO was both a CIA and military outpost, where the U.S. government’s activities in support of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista were carried out.
The Castro regime has consistently protested against the U.S. presence on Cuban sovereign land, claiming the base was imposed on Cuba by force. Cuba’s foreign ministry has demanded the return of the “usurped territory,” and although the U.S. government makes payment annually under the terms of the lease, Fidel Castro had refused to cash the checks since 1959.
Today, GTMO is best known for the prison located on the base that is used to detain enemy combatants suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism against the United States since the attacks of September 11, 2001.