Russia Doesn’t Want GITMO Base in Cuba

Igor Korotchenko
Igor Korotchenko

HAVANA TIMES – Russia does not need a permanent naval base in Cuba, says a Russian military expert, quashing insinuations that Cuba would turn the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to Russia after the Pentagon vacates it.

“We do not need the base at Guantánamo — that accursed place with a bad reputation — and Havana should seek its definitive closure and reconversion,” said Igor Yurevich Korotchenko (in photo at top), editor of the magazine “National Defense,” the journal of the Russian Defense Ministry.

guantanamo.bay“However, in my opinion, the Americans will not close that base in the foreseeable future,” he added, in a interview with RIA-Novosti.

Rumors were fanned last week by anti-Castro activists in South Florida that Cuba plans to turn over the base to the Russian Navy after the U.S. Navy relinquishes it, whenever that might be. That would be too much of a good thing, Korotchenko seemed to tell the news agency.

“When it comes to our military interests in Cuba, [the island] is unquestionably a useful place for Russian Navy warships and nuclear submarines on duty in the Western hemisphere to dock for rest, crew changes, water and fuel replenishment and maintenance,” the expert said.

The same applied to long-range missions by Russian military aircraft, he said.

However, “it is important to note that Russia does not need a full-fledged military base in Cuba. The issue is only about places for logistical support. We need such capabilities, based on the need to ensure military-political stability in the region and provide friendly support to the Cuban Armed Forces.”

“As to reaching concrete agreements, that’s the sovereign right of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba,” added the magazine editor, who is also a member of the Defense Ministry’s public council. A retired Army colonel, his views often coincide with those of the Putin administration.

Generals Sergei Shoigu and Leopoldo Cintra Frías in Havana in mid-February.
Generals Sergei Shoigu and Leopoldo Cintra Frías in Havana in mid-February.

After the visit to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua by Russian Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu in mid-February, Korotchenko told the news agency Tass that “from a practical point of view, it is clear that Russia will expand its military presence and combat missions in the western hemisphere.”

On that occasion, agreements were reached in all three capitals for the expeditious welcome and resupply of Russian ships on duty in international waters.

White House advisor Susan Rice and Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
White House advisor Susan Rice and Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua “have been our traditional partners in Latin America, so it behooves us to maintain and develop relations with them,” Korotchenko told Tass at the time.

On July 1, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that, despite the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, the United States had “no anticipation and no plan with respect to the Guantanamo Bay naval station in Cuba.”

At a news conference in Washington on Monday (July 20), Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said that “the return of the illegally occupied territory of Guantánamo” was one of the conditions “crucial to be able to move towards the normalization of relations.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, who was also at the news conference, responded that “at this time, there is no discussion and no intention on our part at this moment to alter the existing lease treaty or other arrangements with respect to the naval station, but we understand that Cuba has strong feelings about it and I can’t tell you what the future will bring, but for the moment that is not part of the discussion on our side.”

At the White House on Wednesday (July 22), National Security Advisor Susan Rice told newsmen that “we’re not, at this stage, at all interested in changing the nature of our understanding and arrangements on Guantánamo. They may choose to raise it, but we’ve been equally clear that, for us, that’s not in the offing at the present.”

16 thoughts on “Russia Doesn’t Want GITMO Base in Cuba

  • If Obama returns Gitmo back to Cuba in another ilegal executive order, the bloody dictator Raúl Castro will give to Russia. Frank

  • Johns particular frustration stems from the fact that his point of view is not taken seriously, thus he is repressed. The media doesn’t cover his point of view so they are corporate mouthpieces”, the US population doesn’t agree with his views so the are “ignorant”.

  • Knowledge of the English language is obviously not your strong point Mr. Goodrich. So to aid you may I quote the Oxford English Dictionary.
    “government, especially an authoritarian one.
    a system or planned way of doing things, especially one imposed from above:”
    If the cap fits, wear it.
    Clearly the term regime is applicable to the system of government in Cuba.
    Your use of totalitarian in writing about your own government which you and your fellow Americans elect, is perhaps incorrect as the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the word includes:
    ‘that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state: a totalitarian regime’
    Now Mr. Goodrich you have never struck me as being subservient to the state. I have noted that you are able to express your views without let or hindrance. But do correct me if I am wrong by explaining that you are a puppet of the USA.

  • Any individual who owned property in Cuba back around 1960 is either dead or very old and not interested in anything but breathing regularly.
    Corporations however, are eternal and it is the corporations and the very wealthy who determine U.S.G. foreign policy as regards battling socialism .
    They will always want compensation far beyond that which they always claimed their properties were worth when they paid taxes to the Batista government .
    Do you well understand that referring to any government you don’t happen to like as a “regime” makes the bias in your post far too obvious and your objectivity highly suspect ?
    I think totalitarian government would be a more apt terminology for both the Cuban and US systems .

  • It wasn’t Putin or Russia who tortured people at Gitmo.
    Obama has killed more people in the world outside U.S. borders than Putin could dream about.
    Putin only has to kill Russians to maintain power .
    Obama has to maintain an Empire with some 1000 bases in countries outside the USA.
    Putin may be a close second to Obama as far as numbers of people killed but morally there is little difference between the two .
    Both are heads of totalitarian regimes. .

  • Sure. Russia is talking about building Naval bases in Venezuela & Nicaragua and improving their old base in Cuba, but they’re not interested in using the largest most advanced naval base in the region, because it’s name is “tainted”. I never knew Russian military types were so sensitive! Truly, Vladimir Putin has the heart of a poet*.

    And if you believe that I’ve got a condo in Russian occupied Crimea to sell you!

    (* In a jar, on his desk, in the Kremlin)

  • Keep in mind that Marines from the Marblehead
    with support of Cuban Mambi took Guantanamo
    from the Spanish in 1898….

  • Official denials are often confirmation of reality

    “…HAVANA TIMES – Russia does not need a permanent
    naval base in Cuba, says a Russian military expert, quashing insinuations that
    Cuba would turn the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to Russia after the
    Pentagon vacates it….”

    The word “need” seems to be a negotiating ploy

    Of course the impeachment trial for present POTUS would follow…

    and from his jail cell that concession would ring hollow

  • Cuba is an Island

    what you mean is the Castro regime’s representatives

  • Russia doesn’t have the money! The Russian economy is on its knees which is why President Xi managed to make the energy deal with Putin. He had Putin over a barrel and exploited it to China’s advantage. China throughout its history has only ever considered China, hence its claim on virtually the whole of the South China Sea. The GDP of Russia is just about on par with that of Canada – but Canada doesn’t have the grandiose illusions of Putin’s Russia.

  • Its easy for those of us Terry who never had any investment in Cuba to suggest that those who had should just write it off. But similar statements were made by some people, that other countries the ECB and IMF should write off the massive Greek debt. All that money belongs to someone else!
    If you for example owned property in Cuba which was “nationalised” by the Castro family regime, would you seek compensation?

  • Yes, with only a mere 900 or so military outposts in over 100 countries around the world and growing, the Empires sure needs more bases.
    It’s more than obvious to those of us with memories that were the Cubans to steal back Guantanamo, the Russian Communists ( they are still there) will use that base to stock up arms to create revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean nations just like they did during President Alzheimer’s terms in office back in the 80s.
    Don’t forget that warehouse in Grenada in 1983.
    In his pre-invasion speech President R. Reagan claimed that it held Cuban arms to be used in subverting countries in the hemisphere.
    When it was opened by the invading U.S. troops , it held nothing more than small arms fit for an island nation of 200,000 people like Grenada.
    But Hell, never let history get in the way of a good illusion .
    Those commies from Russia have their eyes on Harlingen Texas again.
    Rush Limbaugh told me so.

  • Cuba does not actually have money to pay for what it took from US nationals, so you may well be right as to the outcome of that part of the solution. The American corporation by now have written it off and would be interesting in having access to a new market. The families on the other hand will not have such an interest, but may have no choice in the matter.

  • WE should keep This deep water port for our long range submarines!

  • N.J. Marti, and you believe everything the U.S. government says? Have you not learned anything? It’s been demonstrated that what the U.S. government says publicly about Cuba is certainly not what they are saying privately. The removal of the embargo will happen…yes. But as far as any meaningful settlement of US national’s property claims…that’s simply a pipe-dream. Cuba will counter that the embargo has cost them far, far more over the last 50 years than the value of all nationalized foreign assets…the world will perceive that the US has a responsibility to compensate Cuba for their loss…tit for tat. Sure, it’s interesting to talk about it…but in the end it will all be swept under the rug going forward because it will be impossible for either side to agree to compensate the other for anything. The easiest solution is the most obvious solution. It’s time to forget about it and turn the page.

  • Guantanamo has been US territory as a practical matter for a 100 years. The U.S. has no plans to give up it’s claim and well secured position. The Cuban’s can keep asking, it is their right to ask. Other more important matters can be resolved. It is best that those matters recieve attention as a priority. The removal of the embargo and settlement of US nationals property claims being foremost. To achieve progress small steps should be made.

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