How can the USA have a prison like Guantanamo in a country like Cuba? Isn't the relationship between Cuba and the USA something which should prevent an agreement like this? Why doesn't Cuba try to negotiate releasing the embargo of the USA over this?

Here (YouTube) is the episode of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" which inspired this question.

  • 1
    Though Cuba is the landlord, the US Military isn't necessarily a tenant you argue with too much.
    – user1530
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 17:19
  • @DA: Yeah, I got the same though, but I wasn't sure.
    – Nova
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


As Wikipedia explains, there is in fact an agreement, which predates the current Cuban regime. Cuba has protested it many times with plausible arguments but since the agreement is already in place, they don't have much leverage. Obviously, it would be dangerous for Cuba to confront the US militarily, especially now that they don't have the Soviet Union to back them anymore, so they would need to offer something to get the US to leave Guantanamo, not the other way around.

Furthermore, it's not clear to me that Cuba is ready to compromise much to get the embargo lifted. It does impose significant economic costs but the country is still able to trade with most of the rest of the world. Normalization of the relationship with the US could bring many risks for the current Cuban regime, including losing its main excuse for everything that goes wrong. It's also very difficult for the US to renounce this policy for internal political reasons but the embargo is widely considered to be ineffective or even self-defeating.

  • "self-defeating" ... we want our Cubano Ceeegars
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 22:59

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