HAVANA TIMES, Jan 20 — This past weekend my daughter Tania visited Caimanera, the town here in Guantanamo Province just north of the US naval base; it was her first time. Previously she had been told about the existence of the nearby American base, when and how it arose, and what it means to most Cubans.
When she found out about the base she wanted to know what it was doing there, if the people who lived there were Cubans or Americans, if they spoke English or Spanish, and if they were white or black. So I explained it all to her.
Tania’s interest in the base was again sparked recently, but this time she wanted to know about the prison. She heard a story about the prisoners of war that the US is holding there in violation of all types of international laws.
My little girl said that the United States always does what it wants, but then she asked why?
Caimanera is also the municipality in Cuba that encompasses the naval base that was robbed by the US in 1903 through an underhanded treaty, and over this past decade that base has been one of that country’s biggest embarrassments.
Its existence was already a violation of Cuban sovereignty; it is an area that belongs to the Cuban people in their own right, but I’m not going to talk about that right now.
What’s worse for the world is that in this ignominious prison there still languish 170 detainees, of whom 12 have been in that jail since it was opened on January 11, 2002.
Needless to say, many abuses and acts of torture on those detained have taken place there in the name of “fighting terrorism.” The whole world knows of these atrocities; we’ve all seen the videos and photos, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Mr. Obama and his clique.
Of all the prisoners locked up in Guantanamo, one was convicted — in 2008, by a military commission that gave him life imprisonment — but nearly all the rest haven’t been charged with any crime. According to Amnesty International, the US government is seeking the death sentence against six prisoners who were convicted in “unfair” trials.
Over the ten years of existence that this base is now marking this month, some 750 detainees have been held there. The arrests, torture and acts of humiliation to which these men have been subjected, in addition to all types of human rights violations they have suffered, are further evidence that the United States government does what it pleases.
Citizens and countries around the world take up and wage campaigns in the fight against environmental pollution, homophobia, gender violence and discrimination, as well as hunger and poverty.
Similar efforts are needed to shut down this unjust US prison for once and for all.