Cuba Denounces Presence of U.S. Nuclear Submarine at Guantanamo Bay

Jul 12, 2023
12:16 PM

In this photo provided by U.S. Navy, the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) returns to U.S. Naval Base in Guam, August 19, 2021. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Naomi Johnson/U.S. Navy via AP)

On Tuesday the Cuban government issued a statement denouncing the recent presence of a nuclear submarine at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects the entry into Guantánamo Bay, on July 5, 2023, of a nuclear-powered submarine that remained until July 8 at the US military base located there, which constitutes a provocative escalation of the United States, whose political or strategic motives are unknown,” reads the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX).

The ministry also warned of the danger posed to Latin America by the “presence and circulation of nuclear submarines of the armed forces of the United States in the nearby Caribbean region.”

Whether the move was intentional —coming near the anniversary of massive protests across the island in July 2021— is unknown, but the U.S. State Department did accuse the Cuban government of using the presence of the submarine to deter the date.

“Today is the two-year anniversary of the July 11 protests by the Cuban people demanding their legitimate human rights, and of the Cuban government’s repressive response,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller in a press conference on Tuesday. “Attempts by the Cuban government to distract the world from the significance of this day are transparent and risible.”

MINREX did not mention whether the submarine was armed or not, only that the submarine was present at the base from July 5 until July 8. The ministry also denounced the presence of more than 70 U.S. military bases in the region.

Cuba is one of the 33 signatories in the region to the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana on January 29, 2014.

“It is also important to take into account that, as a threat to the sovereignty and interests of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, the United States has established more than 70 military bases in the region, with varying degrees of permanence, plus other operational forms of military presence,” MINREX said in the statement. “Its high military commanders have made public reference in recent times to the intention of using their military might to ensure US ambitions over the natural resources of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

In addition to condemning the presence of the U.S. military in Cuba, the ministry also demanded that the U.S.-occupied territory at Guantanamo Bay be returned to Cuba.

“As the Pentagon has already said, we will continue to fly, navigate and move military assets where international law allows us,” Miller said on Tuesday.

A U.S. Defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that the Navy submarine made a scheduled logistical stop at Guantanamo Bay and continued south to participate in UNITAS, a regional maritime exercise conducted by the United States since 1959.


Arturo Domínquez is a first-generation Cuban American, anti-racist, journalist, and the publisher of The Antagonist magazine. Twitter: @ExtremeArturo