According to the Miami Herald, the US government is working on a submarine cable project linking Guantanamo Bay to South Florida. The US assumed territorial control over the southern portion of Guantanamo Bay, which currently houses the detention facility of the same name, under the 1903 Cuban-American Treaty, which granted it a perpetual lease of the area. Whilst many observers have noted that the news offers a firm indication of the government’s long-term plans to utilise the Navy base for future detentions, the investment also makes short-term sense in light of the imminent war crimes trials of five accused 9/11 plotters.
Guantanamo Bay’s communications are currently met by satellite links, but these are far from reliable and prone to interference during bad weather. However, if approved by Congress in its 2013 fiscal budget, construction on the planned cable – which has been costed at USD40 million – is not expected to begin for at least a year. Nevertheless, it is believed that the American military has already notified its Cuban counterparts to expect a surveyor ship, the USNS Zeus, off the base’s coastline this summer. Cuba’s incumbent government regards the US presence in Guantanamo Bay as illegal and insists the Cuban-American Treaty was obtained by threat of force in violation of international law.