1934: Platt Amendment Voided; Little Changes

Most provisions of the Platt Amendment are never enforced and in early 1934, President Roosevelt, assuring Congress that its Latin-American neighbors did not have to worry about aggression or intermeddling by the United States, say he is considering abrogation of the Platt Amendment. That is good news to Cubans, who had protested against inclusion of the Platt Amendment in their Constitution for years.

On March 28, 1934 the Amendment is abrogated by the U.S. and on May 29, 1934, Cuba signs a new Treaty of Relations. Cuba becomes a sovereign nation. The response in Cuba is a three-day celebration of their independence from U.S. intervention.

The only provision maintained by the new treaty is the U.S. retention of the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay and for either Cuba or the U.S. to close ports and stop commerce to prevent the spread of epidemics.

However, little actually changes. The agreement states: “Until the two Contracting Parties agree to the modification or abrogation of the stipulations of the agreement in regard to the lease to the United States of America of lands in Cuba for coaling and naval stations… the stipulations of that Agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall continue in effect.”

To the U.S. this means an “open-ended duration” that can only be terminated by mutual agreement (or when the U.S. chooses to do so). To Cuba it means that Guantánamo Bay is “occupied territory.”

Mostly Closed