With the announcement today that the United States will normalize relations with Cuba, we expect a lot to change. Some travel restrictions will be loosened (though not lifted altogether), Americans will soon be able to bring back $100 worth of Cuban cigars and rum. But will Cuba start cashing the checks we've been sending them since 1959 to lease Guantanamo Bay?
In the 1950s Americans used Cuba as its own private playground. American fruit companies had a huge presence there, and American troops felt right at home. But after the 1959 Communist revolution the American companies were tossed out, and Cuba wanted the troops to leave as well. But Cuba and the U.S. had signed a lease for Guantanamo Bay in 1903 that was re-upped in 1934 and President Eisenhower wasn't about to give it up.
The U.S. pays Cuba about $4,085 every year for lease of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. But the country refuses to accept it. Will Cuba start cashing our checks (or pieces of gold, as it were) now that things are going to normalize? Only time will tell. But we can imagine that Guantanamo Bay came up at least once or twice during the secret 18-month backroom negotiations between the two countries.
Image: Watchtower security teams at Camp X-Ray man positions during a rehearsal for handling incoming detainees January 11, 2002 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba via Getty