By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 7 – US Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. now says the January 22 deadline for closing the prison camp at the US Guantanamo Naval Base will most likely not be met. The bigger issue, of the continued US occupation of Cuban territory, has yet to be placed on the agenda of the Obama administration.
The closing down of the prison camp -known worldwide for the inhumane conditions and practice of torture used to extract information and confessions from hapless prisoners kept for years without charges or the possibility of a fair trail- was one of Obama’s initial priorities. He ordered its closing within a year shortly after taking office last January.
The House of Representatives, with a Democratic Party majority, voted last week to prohibit the transfer of the prisoners from Guantanamo to the US, preferring to keep things the way they are.
The rights of the 223 remaining prisoners from numerous countries have never been a big concern of Congress, more in touch with constituent fears of the “terrorist suspects” being housed in the continental United States.
The US took over the territory at Guantanamo Bay at the beginning of the twentieth century on a supposed “lease” from the Cuban government.
Since the island gained its full independence in 1959, the governments of Fidel and Raul Castro have claimed that the territory should be returned to Cuba. The demand has continually fallen on deaf ears.