President Obama will not visit the troops stationed at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base as part of his coming trip to Cuba.
Mr. Obama has not once visited the base, which staffs thousands of U.S. service members, during his tenure as President.
He will, however, personally meet with Raul Castro and “various Cuban people,” doing so from March 21-22.
Ben Rhodes, the President’s Deputy National Security Advisor, discussed the President’s coming trip, in which he will forgo American troops for the dictatorship in Havana.
“So on Guantánamo Bay, I know that will be part of the discussion” with the Cuban regime, Rhodes told the White House press. “They are insistent that our presence there is not legitimate and that the facility be returned to them.”
“But again that is not on the table as part of our discussions. We are focused on the range of issues that I discussed [earlier in the conference], but I’m sure that they will raise it. It continues to be of concern to them,” Rhodes added. “With respect to the claims issue, that will certainly be on the agenda as well. We have initiated, under the State Department’s leadership, a dialogue with the Cubans on the issue of claims” over the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay.
“There are many claimants in the United States. We’ve been engaging many of them to try and determine the best way forward to see that again their concerns are satisfied,” he continued. “The Cubans also frankly have a substantial amount of claims against us as well, so there is formal dialogue on claims and I think it will be part of the agenda as well.”
A reporter asked Rhodes if the detention facility at Guantánamo was going to be “part of this” trip to Cuba and whether the Obama government would discuss “giving it back” on his trip.
“That is not a part of this trip,” Rhodes responded.
Breitbart News has been able to independently confirm that President Obama will not visit the base during his trip to Cuba, where thousands of U.S. service members are stationed..
The Guantánamo Bay Naval Base lies in the southeast of the country, where the detention camp for enemy combatants is also located.
In 1903, the government of Cuba signed a lease with the United States that allowed for the U.S. to use the land at Guantánamo Bay as a naval base. The lease can only be terminated if both parties agree to do so. Each year, the U.S. pays the communist government in Cuba about $4,000 dollars to continue the lease, but the regime refuses to cash the checks in protest of the deal.