Cuba helps put out fire at U.S. Guantanamo naval base: authority

Units from the Cuban army helped put out a fire which broke out last week on the perimeter of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in the southeast of the island, local media reported Wednesday.

The official daily Granma quoted officials as saying that Cuba provided personnel, vehicles and a helicopter that dropped water from the air to extinguish the flames.

The situation, which saw the evacuation of a part of the American personnel, was brought under control on Feb. 22, despite the "logistical and practical complications" due to the "illegal" U.S. occupation of Cuban territory.

"In recent years, a level of communication has been maintained between Cuban and American authorities for emergency situations on the Naval Base," wrote Granma.

This facility was opened in 1903 and constitutes the oldest U.S. military base on foreign soil.

Cuba has repeatedly demanded the return of this territory, considering it an illegal occupation, where Washington has maintained a prison since 2002.

Despite pressure to close it, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 30 to maintain the prison open.

  • Published in Cuba

U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Wounds Cuban Sovereignty

The most recent order by US President Barack Obama on U.S. policy towards Cuba, contains contradictory elements, among them, the policy linked to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo.

The document recognizes Cuban sovereignty and self determination, but the US government has made it clear that it has no intentions to modify the administrative orders of the naval base, a place where there is a prison, which has been internationally denounced as a torture center.

This territory is occupied, against the will of the Cuban people and government, but the US administration maintains the idea that the installation permits the improvement and preservation of regional security.

Cuban newspaper Granma has published information on the center of torture in Guantanamo, a chapter to be remembered as one of the darkest in the history of violations of human rights by the US.

The publication recalls that during the administration of George W. Bush and his alleged crusade against international terrorism the military base's facilities held hundreds of detainees without a legal process, many of them having been transferred from U.S. secret prisons in third countries.

Under the terms of the lease, forced during the U.S. military occupation at the beginning of the last century, the territory where the base is located is Cuban, but Washington has full control over it to carry out its operations.

It's something that lawyers call 'a legal black hole'. The only advantage of the facility for the United States is the possibility of carrying out torture and arbitrary detentions without accountability to the courts of that country or the international community, said the newspaper.

Since the opening of the prison in 2002, 779 people have been confined in the facility, 60 of them this month. In addition, 20 individuals remain in incarceration, although their release has been approved by the U.S. Government.

Similarly, 12 of those held, arrived when they were under the age of 18, including a prisoner who was just 13.

Another 31 still have not received approval for their release despite the fact that they have not been accused of committing any crime.

More than 200 agents from the US Federal Bureau of investigations (FBI) have reported abusive treatment toward prisoners, in addition, seven US soldiers resigned or requested their transfer, after expressing worries about the injustices in the torture center.

Since the announcement of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States on December 17th, 2014, Cuba has been presenting the case of the naval base of Guantanamo as one of the main topics to be resolve, for the normalization of the bilateral links, and the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Caribbean island.

  • Published in Now

Obama Faces New Hindrance to Close Guantanamo Prison

The plan by US President Barack Obama to close the military prison at the naval base in Guantanamo is today facing a new obstacle after the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, rejected the President''s proposal.

According to government officials who prefer to remain anonymous, the Attorney General's office objects to a measure that would allow convicts to declare themselves guilty through a video conference and would allow them to serve their sentences in other countries, without ever setting foot on US soil.

Lynch explained that these proposals by the White House would violate established rules on criminal justice procedures.

If they manage to reduce the population at the prison at Guantanamo naval base, a military facility set up in Cuba's southeastern region against the will of the Cuban Government and people, Obama would keep his political promise of closing the prison before finishing his second term of office.

A recent editorial published by the newspaper 'The New York Times' highlighted that the failure to close the prison in Guantanamo was a shameful stain on the US Congress, which has hindered all efforts to close it.

The prison, where 80 detainees remain, has ruined the image of the United States as champion of human rights and is a deplorable example to other governments inclined to violate international law.

Under the title of 'The Broken Promise to Close Guantanamo' the editorial quotes Thomas Pickering, a US veteran diplomat, who recently denounced the severe treatment and even brutal procedures, such as the force feeding of the detainees, who are kept in stainless-steel cells in solitary confinement.

US Republican Governor Rejects Transfer of Gitmo Prisoners to USA

Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, asked Congress today to oppose the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo naval base to the US territory.

Haley told the members of a homeland security panel in the Senate that the proposals to take those prisoners to a military facility in Charleston would drastically affect the local economy and make that city more vulnerable to terrorist violence.

The state government might be paid any amount of money, and anyway we won't shelter those terrorists because it we do so there won't be a single business wanting to invest in a state that shelters those people, and no one would go there on vacations, said Haley, considered a rising Republican figure.

There are 80 inmates in the so-called Gutmo prison of the Guantanamo naval base, some 46 of them considered too dangerous.

Since he took office in January, 2009, Obama has tried to close the Gitmo prison, but the Republican opposition blocked all initiatives he has presented in this regard.

  • Published in Now

US Republicans Insist on Maintaining the Base in Guantanamo Bay

The prison in the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, today, continues to be part of debates in US Congress as the result of new proposals to stop the closure of that jail.

The latest initiative was brought by the Republican, Lynn Jenkins, whose intention is to delay the transfer of prisoners out of the military camp until the 30th of September 2017 and at the same time prohibit the transfer of the prisoners to US soil.

Jenkins´proposition would prohibit the definite closure of the camp, which is located on Cuban soil against the will of the Cuban government. She also proposes that no funds be given for the purpose of modifying prisons on US soil to accommodate the prisoners from Guantanamo.

Presenting her ideas on Monday afternoon, Jenkins told her listeners that there are a considerable number of prisoners, who when freed, return to the field of battle. She felt that there is no justification for allow extremists who are a danger to the lives of US citizens to leave the base.

According to reports from the White House a little less than 5 percent of the prisoners that are freed from Guantanamo return to terrorist activities, however the Republican Party leadership put this figure at 30 percent.

A similar initiative was presented last week by the Republican legislator, Kelly Ayotte, a day after the Pentagon announced the transfer of 2 prisoners to Senegal, leaving 89 prisoners in the base.

The prisoners were Lybians, Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby (55), an expert in explosives and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (44), the ex-chief of a terrorist training camp.

Since Obama began his mandate in 2009, he has promised to close Guantanamo Bay, however the opposition of the Republicans and sectors of the far-right have impeded his plans.

CELAC calls for return of Guantanamo naval base to Cuba

National coordinators of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), meeting in Quito, Ecuador, have issued a communiqué calling for the return of the Guantanamo naval base to Cuba by the US.

Reaffirming the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted at its Second Summit in Havana on January 29, 2014, CELAC said that the United States naval base in Guantanamo has existed for more than a century on Cuban territory.

In the light of the process towards the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, which is an element that contributes to the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean, CELAC said that the return to Cuba of the territory occupied by the US naval base in Guantanamo should be a relevant element of that process, through a bilateral dialogue in conformity with international law.

  • Published in Now

Obama Really Can Close Gitmo

Over the weekend the government of Qatar brokered a dramatic deal between the US and the Taliban to swap five Guantánamo prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier held as a prisoner of war for almost five years.

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