Guantanamo Bay

The conquistadors came with their sabres and guns
And they raped and they slaughtered until they were done
They hacked and they killed and left no one alive
Then they brought in the slaves who they allowed to survive
Welcome to the New World, you could hear the men say
As they sat on the shores of Guantanamo Bay

And after four hundred years independence was short
That’s just how it is with a deep water port
The battleships came and they never left shore
Tasting the conquest, they just wanted more
The sign it said welcome to the US of A
In the Republic of Cuba, Guantanamo Bay

Past the barbed wire fence and the field of mines
You can see the men who left their families behind
To burn ‘neath the sun to be tortured and killed
Where their stomachs are empty and their spirits are grilled
If you’re looking for freedom this is the price you must pay
It’s written in blood on Guantanamo Bay

The vultures they circle at ease overhead
The living may live and the dead will be dead
the time it may come in this tropical heat
That they’ll have to go somewhere else to eat
Maybe a storm will come wash it away
But still the guard towers glitter on Guantanamo Bay

“Guantanamo Bay” originally appeared on the 2005 CD, For the Moment. The sheet music appears in my Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

The US took over Cuba in an imperial land grab against the comparatively weaker Spanish Empire around the turn of the 20th century, and they’ve held onto this one little chunk of Cuba ever since. Since the “War On Terror” of the Bush era began, Guantanamo Bay has been the most well-known (but far from the only) off-shore internment camp run by the US military. Where they hold people indefinitely for crimes they may or may not have committed, outside of the jurisdiction of the (feeble and corrupt) US justice system.