Why There’s an American High School in Communist Cuba


This video was made possible by Skillshare. Learn for free for two months by signing up
at skl.sh/hai13. If you’re ever invited to Guantanamo Bay,
don’t go. Without any context it sounds like a pleasant
place but visitors have reported the water activities being less than enjoyable. Of course the name of the American Guantanamo
Bay military prison is known worldwide but it’s worth pointing out that that’s here,
in Cuba, which is not exactly the friendliest country to the US or vice versa. This is US territory and it probably seems
weird that the US would have territory in a country so hostile to it, at least historically,
but it does. In fact, Guantanamo has thousands of residents
and an enormous naval base so here’s your 90 second history of why Guantanamo Bay is
American. In the 19th century Cuba was part of Spain
but it didn’t want to be part of Spain so it revolted. The US didn’t like Spain so it was down
with the idea of Cuba not being Spanish so it sent some military there to help with the
revolt but then one of the American ships exploded, a bunch of people died, the press
blamed Spain even though there wasn’t really any proof, and the US was like na-uh and went
to actual war against Spain—they called it the Spanish-American war. Now that it was actual war, not just pretendsies
war, the US send a ton of troops to Cuba, kicked out the Spanish, and decided Cuba was
theirs but then Congress said that the US wasn’t allowed to keep Cuba. They had to give Cuba back to Cuba but Congress
also said that they could keep some land for military bases in order to, in some really
super skeptical quotation marks, “enable the United States to maintain independence
of Cuba.” So, in 1903, the new Cuban government, once
again in big old skeptical quotation marks, “agreed” to lease the land around Guantanamo
Bay to the US government indefinitely for $2000 in gold coin each year. Of course fifty years later there was yet
another Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro went all communist on the island but, of course,
the US didn’t care and, from Cuba’s side, it’s hard to ask the world’s strongest
military power to just leave. Quite kindly, though, the US has increased
their yearly payment to $4,085 since gold prices have increased. They now send checks instead of gold but these
annual checks have not been cashed since the Cuban revolution except for in 1959 when it
was deposited, at least according to Fidel Castro, by mistake. So still today this completely non controversial
and totally legit base remains. Of course, it’s known as the home to the
notorious Guantanamo Bay prison but it’s a lot more than that—it’s a fully fledged
US naval base home to almost 6,000 people. Like really any US military base that’s
not in an active war zone, Guantanamo Bay is home to civilians—both non-military workers
and the families of many of those working on base. That means that there are American kids living
in Guantanamo Bay—more than 300 of them. Being in a country that officially doesn’t
actually want the base to exist, Guantanamo is the only base where personnel are not actually
allowed to leave the base—they fly in at the start of their term there and fly out
at the end without ever going into actual Cuba—which means that it’s especially
important that the base feels like home. All US bases put particular effort into making
sure they seem American. That’s why they have McDonalds, seriously. The Guantanamo McDonalds is, of course, the
only McDonalds in Cuba and, in fact, it’s one of many American brands there. There’s also a Baskin Robbins, a Subway,
a KFC, and a Pizza Hut. US bases will also build houses that look
like they belong in any old American suburb. These are the actual houses on the Guantanamo
bay base. It’s not just there—here are the houses
on Ramstein Air Base in Germany and here are the ones on Kadena Air Base in Japan. Making the housing look American is a sort
of psychological trick used to reduce homesicknesses but the main thing they need so the kids have
an American experience growing up is an American style high school so Guantanamo Bay has exactly
that. In Guantanamo Bay is the W.T. Sampson Elementary
and High School. This school operates exactly like any high
school within the US. It’s accredited as a US school and all its
students and teachers are American. Really the only thing that makes it unique
is that its in Cuba and, by being that, it is the only accredited American high school
in a communist country. The school even has a track, field, and sports
teams. Since it’s the only school on base the teams
play against recreational adult teams for those working on the base but, the one sport
that they don’t have is football because, and this is the real reason given, they figure
it wouldn’t be a great idea to have middle and high schoolers play football against soldiers
which seems smart. If you end up visiting Guantanamo Bay for…
other reasons, one of your first steps should be buying a black-market smartphone because,
while you won’t be allowed to attend the school, you will be able to use the Skillshare
app to learn what you want to learn. Skillshare, you see, has over 20,000 courses
so if there’s something you want to learn, whether that be self defense or knife skills,
Skillshare probably has a course on it. You can do anything from learning cool bar
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they have a mobile app where you can download classes offline for when your on the go or
in areas without service. What’s best is you can get two months of
their premium membership for free, and support Half as Interesting, by going to http://skl.sh/hai13.




Comments
  1. Reason Americans helped Cuba gain independence was not because they hated Spain. They helped because they saw Cuba going through the same struggles they did for independence.

  2. what the hell there is american international school in hong kong which is technically part of China which is a communist country…

  3. makes sense actually in the uk the teachers treat the class morons like geniuses as were all equal and stuff even if you get 5 on an iq test by my schools standards your not stupid you just need a bit of help

  4. It kills me relations started to warm and then Trump rolled all that shit back. These types of sanctions do not work anymore and only make enemies.

  5. i could probably fire dozens of rocket propelled missiles into that prison and free all the prisoners

    i am a proud cuban communist and i'm here to crush the american oppressors

  6. This is true. I know because I signed all the civilian's paychecks (except for the teachers, whose pay is processed out of Indianapolis, or the fast food workers, who are paid from Texarkana, Texas.)

  7. I went to Guantanamo Bay. I was 11 when I went and it was because relatives were there. It really wasn't that bad.

  8. The gates to and from the base and Cuba is closed now so we are completely isolated. Mc and subway are the only two that exist. We have Filipinos, Jamaicans, Americans and others. Don’t look at pics to guatanamo bay or gtmo bc they aren’t acurate anymore

  9. It should be mentioned that, while run by a Communist Party, Cuba does not claim that it is a communist nation, as that would contradict Marxist-Leninist theory.

  10. Soooo just like any American school the teachers don't care about the kids, bullying is a huge problem and children would rather go in Cuba so the border guards would kill them rather than go to school the next day?

  11. Summary: the US wanted to keep this small piece of land so they built a school for snot filled pokemon obsessed teenagers

  12. You say "This is a US territory" but Guantanamo Bay is not a US Territory. It's just a US naval base. It's a huge difference legally and allows different legal standards to apply.

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