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Cuba calls the presence of a US nuclear submarine at the Guantanamo Bay naval base a provocation

HAVANA (AP) — The government of Cuba on Tuesday called the presence of a U.S. nuclear submarine at the Guantanamo Bay naval base for several days last week a “provocative escalation,” while a U.S. official said it was a logistical stop by the ship at a U.S. base en route to maritime exercises.

According to a statement from the Cuban State Department, the submarine was at the U.S. naval base on the island from July 5 to July 8. No further details were given.

“This is a provocative escalation by the United States, whose political or strategic motives are unknown,” the State Department statement said.

The US State Department said it does not discuss the movements of US military assets.

A US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of a military operation, said the Navy submarine was making a planned logistics stop in Guantanamo Bay. It then continued south to participate in UNITAS, the world’s longest-running multi-national maritime exercise.

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“Today marks two years since the July 11 protests by the Cuban people demanding their legitimate human rights, and the repressive response by the Cuban government,” said Matthew Miller, spokesman for the State Department. “Attempts by the Cuban government to distract the world from the meaning of this day are transparent and ridiculous.”

The July 11 street protests were the largest in Cuba, at least since that of a quarter of a century ago, when then-President Fidel Castro personally took to the streets to appease thousands of people outraged by the serious shortages the island is facing in their grip after the collapse of the Soviet Union. .

Many protesters expressed anger at long lines and shortages of food and medicine, as well as repeated power outages. The government of Cuba called the protests a US-backed effort to undermine peace and order, and hundreds were detained.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that 33 Latin American countries have signed an agreement committing themselves to being a “Zone of Peace” and warned of “the danger posed by the presence and circulation of armed forces nuclear submarines of the United States in the nearby Caribbean”. .”

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Cuba regards the US presence at Guantánamo Bay naval base as an occupation and has unsuccessfully demanded its return.


Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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