Guantanamo Bay Naval Base/Cuban workers

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When Fidel Castro took power in Cuba approximately 2000 Cuban citizens were employed by the United States at its Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.[1][2][3] The United States was prepared to offer asylum to the Cuban citizens it employed. Alternately, they would be allowed to continue to commute to work on the base. No new Cubans were hired since the Castro administration came to power. By 1985 the number of Cuban workers who had requested a

Special Category Residents

Retired Cuban workers who sought asylum, and then lived the rest of their lives on the base join in the celebration of Cuban American Friendship Day, in 2006.

The Cuban workers who have been granted asylum are called Special Category Residents.[4] They weren't normally granted US citizenship, but some of them had children who became American citizens, like Cesar Aldama.[5][6] In 1969 approximately 2,000 Special Category Residents lived on the base.[4] In 2005 56 Special Category Residents lived on the base. By February, 2010, the number of Special Category Residents had shrunk to 39.[4]

Commuters

In 2006 the number of Cubans commuting to work on the base had dropped from over three thousand, to just three, Harry Henry, Luis LaRosa and Ricardo Simono.[4]

According Captain Christopher Hibbert the Navy employed 3,600 Cuban workers in 1961.[7] According to Carol Rosenberg, in the Miami Herald, 18 commuters continued to work on the base in 1999.[2] In 2005 three elderly Cuban men continued to commute to Guantanamo, Harry Henry, Luis LaRosa and Ricardo Simono.[4] By December 2012 only Henry and LaRosa remained, and on December 14, 2012, the two men retired — although Henry said he thought he had several more years of work left in him.[8] The USA paid its Cuban workers $12 an hour, very good wages by Cuban standards.

Rosenberg reported that, when Henry and La Rosa retire at the end of December the northeast gates will only open for the monthly liason between the US Navy Captain commanding the base and a local Cuban officer of equivalent rank.[2]

[9] Although the relationship between Cuba's new communist government and the USA were very strained, the then current Cuban workers were allowed to keep commuting to the their jobs. Some of the Cuban workers requested political asylum, and were allowed to live on the base. As of 2012 several dozen former Cuban workers live as retirees on the base. Harry Henry, 82, and Luis La Rosa, 79, the last two remaining Cuban workers who commuted to their jobs, retired on December 14, 2012.

On December 31st, their last day on the job, Carol Rosenberg, of the Miami Herald described how the retirement of the men posed a problem for all the retired commuters.[10] The USA's trade embargo with Cuba complicated the usual ways the USA could pay the retired workers their pensions. Until the retirement of Henry and LaRosa retired commuters counted on the remaining commuters carrying their pensions to them. Rosenberg wrote that base officials had been foreseeing the day the last commuter retired, and, even so, had not yet figured out a new payment method that was both trustworthy and complied with the embargo. She quoted Jonathan M. Hansen, who wrote “Guantánamo: An American History,”, who predicted the retired commuters would never see another pension payment.

“Every cute story that comes out of that place has another dark side to it. So it doesn’t surprise me, actually, that they’re not going to get these pensions.”

On January 3, 2013, Carol Rosenberg, of the Miami Herald, reported that Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale, a Guantanamo spokesman, had announced that a procedure had been found to pay the retired Cuban commuters their pension.[11] Breasseale declined to say how the payments would be made. But he did supply details as to how many retirees remained on the roster — 67; and that the average payment was $684 per month.

Cuban American Friendship Day

In 1969 the base Commander Rear Admiral J. B. Hildreth instituted an annual celebration — Cuban American Friendship Day on the last Friday of January.[4][7]

See also


References

  1. James Taranto (2006-09-15). "Not Everyone At Guantanamo Is a Terrorist". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. One of the antiwar crowd's claims about Guantanamo turns out to be true, if taken literally: Not everyone here is a terrorist. In fact, the base has undergone a population boom in the past five years. "Prior to 9/11, there were 2,300 folks on this base, total," Capt. Leary says. "Right now we're about 7,700." This count includes U.S. servicemen from all four military branches and the Coast Guard; their families; civilian workers, many from Jamaica and the Philippines; and 56 "special category residents" — Cubans who lived on the base and decided to stay when the communist regime closed the gates. It doesn't include the detainees.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  2. a b c Carol Rosenberg (2012-12-20). "Military says Guantanamo fence-line blackout couldn't have been prevented". Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-12-27. By 1999 there were just 18 laborers in the commuter Cuban workforce. And this year, after deaths, sickness and retirements, only two men were making the Monday through Friday trip through the fence line. They retire on New Year's Eve, according to a promotional video produced by the Navy base. Then, the gates will only routinely open for the monthly meetings between the current base commander Navy Capt. John "J.R." Nettleton, himself a former Marine, and a senior Cuban Army commander.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  3. "Cuba: The Sun Sets on a Commuter Era". New York Times. 2012-12-31. p. A9. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. As the relationship soured in the 1960s, Cubans who worked on the base were allowed to keep their jobs, but no more were hired. Over the decades, the ranks of the Cuban employees thinned until only Mr. Henry and Mr. La Rosa were left.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  4. a b c d e f Marie Montez (2010-02-23). "GTMO Celebrates Cuban American Friendship Day". Naval Station Guantanamo Bay: United States Navy. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. The event recognized the contributions and friendship of the more than 30 Cuban special-category residents who still reside at the naval station and the three commuters who still pass through the Northeast Gate daily to work.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  5. Glenn Garvin (2010-07). "Growing up at Guantanamo Bay". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. But Aldama is part of a little-known and almost vanished half-world that existed outside the headlines — the tiny community of internal exiles who stayed behind when Castro pulled the plug on the base's 2,000-strong Cuban work force in the mid-1960s. Check date values in: |date= (help)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  6. "In Memoriam". Guantanamo Bay Naval Base: Guantanamo Bay Gazette. 2006-07-21. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-12-21. Several family members from the United States are expected to attend the funeral.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  7. a b Bill Mesta (2011-02-01). "Guantanamo Bay Celebrates Cuban-American Friendship Day Story Number: NNS110201-21Release Date: 2/1/2011 4:50:00 PM A A A Email this story to a friend Print this story By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Bill Mesta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay". Naval Station Guantanamo Bay: United States Navy. Archived from the original on 2012-12-16. Back in 1961, there were roughly 3,600 Cuban commuters working on the naval station," said Hibbert. "Today we are down to two. line feed character in |title= at position 56 (help)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  8. Ben Fox, Suzette LaBoy (2012-12-14). "Last 2 Cuban 'commuters' retire from US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay: One of the world's most unusual commutes comes to an end" (in English). Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-11-. As workers aged and retired, the number of commuters dwindled from the hundreds to about 50 people by 1985, according to a base newsletter, the Guantanamo Bay Gazette. By June 2005, it was down to Henry, La Rosa and two others, all earning about $12 an hour, an eye-popping salary by Cuban standards, according to another base newsletter, The Wire. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  9. Stacie Bymington]] (2006-02-03). "Cuban-American friendship spans many years" (PDF) (in English). Guantanamo Bay Gazette. p. 1, 7. Retrieved 2012-12-15.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  10. Carol Rosenberg (2012-12-31). "Guantánamo's last commuters retire, creating a Navy cash-flow problem". Guantanamo Naval Base: Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. “Right now there is no established plan to pay these pensions — because of the complication of U.S. law,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Servello said in a statement Friday issued by U.S. Navy Operations headquarters. “Base and Department of State officials are working to find a permanent solution.”Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  11. Carol Rosenberg (2013-01-03). "Cuba helps U.S. Navy find a way to pay Guantánamo retirees: The Navy will be able to keep paying the pensions of Cubans who retired after decades of working on the the Guantánamo base in a secret arrangement the Pentagon won't describe". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. The Navy has secured a solution to the problem of how to pay some $45,000 a month in pensions due to 67 elderly Cubans who once worked as day laborers at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo, the Pentagon said Thursday.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").