Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Raul Castro speaking in 2013.  (Photo: Mauricio Muñoz E/ Presidencia de la República via flickr)

Cuba's Raul Castro: If US Really Wants Normal Relations, It Must Give Back Guantanamo Base

Castro also calls for end to embargo, removal from state sponsors of terrorism list, compensation for harm caused

Andrea Germanos

In order to achieve fully normalized relations, the United States must return the base at Guantánamo Bay to Cuba, the island nation's President Raul Castro said Wednesday.

The remarks follow a historic restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries that began in December.

Speaking at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Costa Rica, Castro also called for an end to the embargo and for Cuba to be taken off the list of state sponsors of terror.

"The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is the beginning of a process toward the normalization of bilateral relations, but this will not be possible while the blockade remains in effect; the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base is not returned; the radio and television broadcasts breaching international rules and regulations do not cease; and adequate compensation is not paid to our people for the human and economic damages sustained," Castro said.

"If these issues are not resolved, a diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States would not make sense," he said.

"It was possible to advance in the recent negotiations because we treated each other with respect, and as equals," he said. "Future progress demands that this remains so."

He added that "the path to the removal of the blockade will be long and difficult and will require the support, mobilization and resolute action of every person of goodwill in the United States and the world."

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman wrote earlier this month that the 13th anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantánamo "serves as a reminder that we need to permanently close the prison and return the land to its rightful owners, the Cuban people. It is time to put an end to this dark chapter of United States history."

Closing "the most notorious prison on the planet" would help "to right more than a century of wrongs that the U.S. government has perpetrated" in Cuba, Goodman wrote.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo