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Guantánamo (pop. 180,000), capital of its namesake province, is among the larger capital cities in Cuba.  As with the rest of the province, Guantánamo's local economy has been visibly affected by the U.S. economic blockade

Guantánamo is nationally of some importance as an industrial city; as Cuba's economy attempts to diversify, Guantánamo has undergone rapid growth.  Unfortunately, the scarcity of government funds have resulted in cramped housing projects and neighborhoods which as closely resemble the U.S.' urban slums as anywhere else in Cuba.

The United States maintains a military base which it reserved as part of treaties signed at the end of the Spanish-American War.

While Cuban President Fidel Castro considers the U.S. military presence in Guantánamo to be an outrage, he is powerless to remove it.  The U.S. pays about US$4,000 annually as a lease for the land; Fidel Castro refuses to accept the money as a matter of national pride and integrity.  This is about the only action he can take, however, since the U.S. lease can be terminated only by mutual consent.

Despite Fidel's ideological outrage, most residents of Guantánamo are not concerned with the base and go about their daily lives as if there were no U.S. military presence.


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