The Spanish-American War took place in 1898 between Spain and the United States and was primarily a fight over the control of Cuba. The Spanish saw all of its empire, as a gift from God and did not want to give up control of Cuba under that ideal. The U.S. on the other hand did not have such a lofty motive. Initially the U.S. wanted to buy Cuba from Spain to help the sugar trade and because the revolutionary fighting that was taking place was hurting the U.S.’s economy. The U.S. claimed though that they simply wanted to help insure Cuban independence.
The self-interest of each country is what eventually led to a breakdown of diplomacy. Coming from an ideological stand point, Spain giving up Cuba was saying that they did not have God on their side. The United States though was just emerging into the national forum and this was their chance to become an imperial power. After the war started and progressed the initial demands of the U.S. turned into further demands such a port in the Philippines. With no overarching power to prevent them from starting the war, the U.S. simply decided to take what they wanted.
The United States still owns Guantanamo Bay to this day, even though the war was over a century ago. Giving up this land back to Cuba would show for the first time since that maybe the war was not just about the U.S.’s own self-interests. Cuba now wants this land back but would be hard pressed into convincing the U.S. to give it up. The desire for power has instead shifted from one between Spain and the U.S. to now between the U.S. and Cuba.