The closure of the Guantanamo prison in Cuba is only a tactical step that will allow Washington to preserve its naval base. Obama’s prime goal is to liquidate the legal base for ousting Americans from this notorious base.
Obama signed a decree to close the special prison of the Guantanamo base for a year. The new president kept his promise which he gave the nation during his pre-election campaign. In addition, he ordered to close all CIA prisons outside the USA and ordered to cancel several most sophisticated forms of tortures.
In the meantime, Cuba set forth yet another requirement to fully abolish the army base in Guantanamo.
"Sometime I read the headlines of news reports saying ‘US closes its base at Guantanamo’. I read further and see that it plans to close its prison created to torture citizens of other countries while the base remains,” Itar-Tass quoted Cuba’s Raul Castro as saying.
“Over the years of the prison’s existence we slightly downplayed our demands for the base’s closure not to prevent promotion of the (international) campaign urging the Guantanamo prison camp’s closure.”
“I hope that the new US administration will fulfill its promise to close this prison which to our opinion is a just solution and believe that it will be reached. Meanwhile we consider it insufficient as the presence of this base on our land is a big injustice,” he said.
“We demand that not only this prison but also this base should be closed and the territory it occupies should be returned to its legal owner – the Cuban people. This base has no military significance for them (the Americans). From a military point of view this is a real mousetrap. I do not want to give reasons; we have them in abundance to put forward this demand,” Castro said.
Guantanamo is the oldest army base outside the United States. The USA and Cuba signed the lease agreement in 1903, after the US military administration stopped governing Cuba. The current status of the base is regulated with the agreement of 1934, which was signed after a series of coups in Cuba. This unlimited duration agreement can be renounced either by mutual consent or upon violation of lease terms. The agreement stipulates extraterritorial conditions of the lease. It particularly means that the local population is not allowed to catch fish in the bay. The USA virtually performs acts of sovereignty on the territory, whereas Cuba ’s jurisdiction is a formal matter.
The USA gained control over Cuba in 1898 as a result of the war with Spain, which was started to support the Cuban national liberation movement. Cuba denounced the agreement after Fidel Castro came to power in the country in 1959. The lease agreement clearly states that the territory can be used as a naval base only.
The harbor of the base is capable of housing up to 50 large vessels. The base has a developed infrastructure providing all necessary conveniences to 10,000 of its personnel – clubs, tennis courts, baseball grounds, swimming pools, beaches, fishing boats and yachts.
The Guantanamo base was turned into a camp ten years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The USA enclosed the territory with barbed wire after the coupe in Haiti in 1991. The Haitians were deported to their motherland in 1992. Many refugees filed lawsuits claming that they had a right for a refuge because they were staying on the US territory. The US administration rejected the argument having said that the refugees were staying on the Cuban territory.
Guantanamo emerged as a prison for international terrorists in January 2002. Over 750 foreign nationals, whom US troops captured during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been through the base from 2002 to 2006. All of them participated in the operations organized by al-Qaida and Taliban movements. Over 250 people have been released from the prison, whereas the names of everyone else were kept top secret before April 2006.
The US government and former President George W. Bush authorized the use of tortures against the prisoners of Guantanamo, including the imitation of drowning and the deprivation of sleep. The Pentagon officially acknowledged that such treatment of the prisoners could not be considered inhuman. The USA also believes that it is possible to execute the prisoners, who made confessionary statements as a result of tortures.
Barack Obama ordered to suspend the work of all ongoing military tribunals at Guantanamo . However, one may assume that it was simply an act of calculation, rather than mercy. The whole world is aware of the atrocities of Guantanamo, which means that there is a reason to oust the American troops from the territory. Obama is trying not to let this happen. Will he manage to deceive the Cubans?