PENTAGON — Despite warming relations between Cuba and the U.S., the Pentagon has no intentions of releasing control of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay back to Havana, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters on Wednesday.
There is “no anticipation and no plan” to turn the more than 100 year-old naval base back to Cuban authorities, Carter said during the press briefing.
The same day, Havana and Washington announced the establishment of new embassies.
The 45 square mile installation is infamously known as the location of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp — established as a prison to hold terrorism suspects captured in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in 2002 and oft criticized and condemned by countless international organizations.
Last week Carter told CBS , “I think it would be nice to [close the detention facility] before the end of President Obama’s administration so that the next President doesn’t have to deal with this situation.”
Beyond the prison, the Naval Station has been an U.S. Navy logistics hub since its original lease from the Republic of Cuba in 1903 and key to the U.S. operations in U.S. Southern Command and the Caribbean.
For example, during the response to the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the naval station was a key logistical hub for the follow-on humanitarian relief effort.
Under the terms of the lease of the base, the U.S. sends Havana a monthly check for $4,085, which have only been cashed once since the 1959 Cuban revolution, according to a 2007 Reuters report.
In addition to Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the command that runs the detention camp, base hosts a Marine Corps Security Company and a naval telecommunication and computer hub.