White House Readies New Plan to Close Guantanamo Prison

The US Guantanamo Prison Camp,
The US Guantanamo Prison Camp,

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — The White House is in the “final stages” of drafting a new plan to present to Congress that would close “safely and responsibly” the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said spokesman Josh Earnest.

“It’s a tough job, but we’ve made many important advances,” Earnest said.

“It is a priority of the president. He believes it to be part of our clear national security interests to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay,” he said.

The initiative of President Barack Obama to close the prison was blocked on several occasions by members of Congress.

After taking office in January 2009, Obama ordered the closure of the prison where there were detained some 800 suspected terrorists, nearly all without charges, captured abroad and held by the United States since 2002.

The process was hampered by the lack of places to send the prisoners, along with the actions of Congress to block the transfer of suspects to US civilian courts or transfer them to prisons in US territory.

Since then, hundreds have been released and handed over to their governments or third countries. As of June, 116 men were in the detention center.

The controversial naval base in Guantanamo Bay, on the eastern tip of Cuba, is under US control under a 1903 lease agreement that Cuba hasn’t recognized since 1959.

Havana demands the return of the territory, but Washington refuses to do so pointing to the “perpetual” lease.


23 thoughts on “White House Readies New Plan to Close Guantanamo Prison

  • July 29, 2015 at 9:33 am
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    Again you are trying to tell me what I’m entitled to say or do. Cuba It’s MY Island, and because I am not the only Cuban, it’s OUR Island. You can refrain from whatever you want, personal hygiene included, and Cuba is not your Island or even your home, just your domicile which you obviously detest because we have no toilet paper for you, and the “Castro Demons” just defeated the “Gringo Saints” in overtime. I choose to do whatever I want from wherever I am, and I have always defended Our Revolution, Our People, Our Island and Our Leadership. The proof is in the pudding, and right now we have solid proof of our Victory!

  • July 27, 2015 at 8:56 pm
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    I’ve read the lease. It’s perpetual, not a 99 year lease. If you disagree, please post a direct quote from the lease agreement.

    Oh, and another thing. Obama has not declared an end to hostilities in Afghanistan. He has pulled out some U.S. troops, but the terrorists of Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue to engage in hostilities. It seems they didn’t get your memo.

  • July 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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    Your nearest island is Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. As a Canadian you are not entitled to refer to Cuba as “our island” Although my home is in Cuba and my wife is Cuban, I refrain from referring to Cuba as “our” or “my” out of recognition and respect.
    You chose to leave Cuba and what was your heritage and now from a convenient distance and from a free country, choose to praise the Castro family regime and the rotten beliefs it supports.

  • July 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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    So be it, 2002, now GET OUT!
    It was not a “Perpetual Lease” but a 99year lease and your claim it’s still just a straw technicality in any event.

  • July 25, 2015 at 7:00 am
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    The lease is a perpetual lease, not at all uncommon at that time between friendly nations. It can be unilaterally ended only through non-payment or abandonment. The only other way to end the lease is by mutual agreement. It was signed by both Presidents in February of 1903 and re-ratified in 1934. Even if your comment was true, a 99 year lease would mean 2002 not 1999 or 2000.

  • July 25, 2015 at 1:41 am
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    Yes Moses, he is wrong, thanks for scoring another goal for our winning side. He is wrong, you are wrong and so is Carlyle. Cuba canceled that lease upon expiration of it’s term of lease: 99 years; and that happened in 1999 or 2000. Anything else is a mere technicality.

  • July 25, 2015 at 1:34 am
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    The reply to MacDuff should had gone to you but it’s late here, I’m tired, pushed the wrong “reply”… However, It is actually quite applicable to all of you mentioned, and your apologizing for something that is just not right with mere technicalities. I uphold the Spirit of the Law, Mr Griffin, you obviously follow the straight and narrow Letter; this is turning into a philosophical debate beyond the USA and Cuba…

  • July 25, 2015 at 1:15 am
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    But that lease expired, it was for 99 years; the technicality mentioned “by agreement of both parties” is just that. The cheque was for the expired lease so whether Fidel cashed one or 20 is irrelevant after the 99 year term. At the end of the 99 years, Cuba asked the USA to vacate, the USA refused and Cuba canceled the lease.
    Just the simple fact that one country continues to occupy another country’s territory after they have been asked to leave is to negate sovereignty; add that the occupying country has become the avowed enemy of the occupied country since the lease was signed and that the area in dispute is a huge military base and a torture center for the occupier. Would you like that to be happening in your country and to your country, any country?
    The sheer injustice of it is plain and simple and to hell with your straw technicalities, Griff, Moses, IC and MacDuff.

  • July 24, 2015 at 6:14 am
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    the Cuban government have the right to send in inspectors and check what kind of damage has happened to there property including testing for toxic waste
    that’s right is given to every landlord in the United States of America

  • July 24, 2015 at 6:13 am
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    To start with all the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay happened to be the bastards progeny of the CIA , or prisoners of war, since President Obama declared an end to the hostilities in Afghanistan , under international law they need to be released , for the rest of them whom are accused of the most heinous , they happened to be material witnesses that should be brought into the United States in front of the federal grand jury , testifying to what they know is the key for us to understand what went wrong , keeping them in Guantanamo Bay outside the reach of American justice system means to keep them quiet , at the same time they should be made an example off for those who think of assisting the CIA , American are bunch of backstabbers that cannot be trusted , look at what happened ; Saddam Hussein , Noriega , Gaddafi , just few examples of those who trusted the United States ,
    When it comes to the rent money , if you happen to live next door to the neighborhood biggest bully you have to accommodate him to a certain point , under the law it is called ( under duress )

  • July 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm
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    The lease did not expire. It has no end date and can only be nullified by mutual agreement.

  • July 23, 2015 at 8:28 pm
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    That is correct. Under contract law, and under international law regarding treaties, the Castro regime recognized the validity of the lease when they cashed the cheques. Even if they had declined to cash any cheques, the terms of the lease obligate Cuba to enter into negotiations with the US to terminate the lease. The rule of law matters.

    M. Gomezz, you are correct, Guantanamo is sovereign Cuban territory. However, the US does not hold it by force. They hold it under the terms of a treaty and lease ratified by the Cuban government. Law requires the Cuban government to negotiate the end of the lease. The rule of law matters.

  • July 23, 2015 at 7:06 pm
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    We could pay Raul to clean up the situation.

  • July 23, 2015 at 4:16 pm
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    Concessions? Guantánamo, base and prison, is Cuba’s sovereign land held by force by the USA, it’s lease agreement expired in 1999 or 2000 and the USA ignored its signature again and broke another international agreement. Just the fact that the USA created this torture and detention center on our Island to associate us in some way with the terrible things the USA has done there to the prisoners is preposterous. Get out now! Your remaining prisoners are your own responsibility, you took them there, you get them out, and take your cat with you!

  • July 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm
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    If Guantanamo in it’s entiretiy is abandoned and returned to Cuba then and only then will it be a genuine breakthrough.

  • July 23, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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    The significant point is Griffin that by cashing a cheque Fidel recognised the validity of the lease.

  • July 23, 2015 at 10:43 am
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    It is not that simple. A handful of the remaining detainees are the worst of the worst. Their own countries won’t take them. Obama understands the challenge facing him in his efforts to close the prison. A measured approach is wise.

  • July 23, 2015 at 10:40 am
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    I hope that you are wrong.

  • July 23, 2015 at 8:23 am
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    Remember the prison and the naval base are not one and the same. The prison occupies a very small spot and has a small portion of the population of the large naval base. The base is large enough to have two airports although one is currently not being used.

    Closure of the prison and return of the base to Cuba are separate issues.

  • July 23, 2015 at 8:05 am
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    The rent cheques for Guantanamo were monthly and in the first few months of the Cuban Revolution several of the cheques were cashed. Eventually Fidel ordered his people not to cash them.

    Under the terms of the lease, the Cuban government must negotiate with the US an end to the lease. Given Obama’s record of granting concessions to Cuba in return for nothing from the Cuban government, Raul Castro will soon be handed the keys to Guantanamo for no concessions on his part.

  • July 22, 2015 at 11:38 pm
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    just close it already

  • July 22, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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    I understood that Fidel Castro made the mistake of cashing the first annual cheque paid by the US for the lease on Guantanamo but kept all the subsequent cheques in the top right hand drawer of his desk.

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