At the US naval station here, a handsome electronic sign hangs between two concrete pillars. In yellow enamel against a blue metal backdrop is a map of Cuba, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” above flashing time and temperature readings.
“Welcome Aboard,” the sign says.
The cost of the marquee, along with a smaller sign positioned near the airfield: $188,000.
Among other odd legacies from war-on-terror spending since 2001 for the troops at Guantanamo Bay: an abandoned volleyball court for $249,000, an unused go-kart track for $296,000 and $3.5 million for 27 playgrounds that are often vacant.
The Pentagon also spent $683,000 to renovate a cafe that sells ice cream and Starbucks coffee.
The spending is part of at least $500 million that has transformed Caribbean base.