The latest on closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp of normalization argue that Cuba has a repressive regime with a poor human rights record.

Ralph E. Stone Global News Centre

(SAN FRANCISCO)  On July 20, 2015, the U.S. and Cuba reopened embassies in each other’s countries that had been closed since 1961.  As the freeze between the two countries thaws, I would expect the the commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the U.S. on Cuba since 1960 will be ended in due time.  However, normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will not be complete until the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp is closed and Guantánamo is returned to Cuba.

On July 22, 2015, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the Obama Administration is drafting a plan to finally close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, to fulfill a long-delayed promise by President Obama before his time in office ends.  The plan would then be sent to Congress. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a longtime proponent of closing the prison, wants to give the Obama Administration an opportunity to potentially do so through the National Defense Authorization Act.  The expected plan — like previous plans — would be to transfer all lower-level detainees, while bringing those deemed too dangerous for release to a military prison on domestic soil. Of the latter group, some would be prosecuted while the rest would be held as wartime prisoners, with periodic parole-like reviews.

The total number of detainees ever incarcerated at the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp is 780.  As of June 26, 2015, there are 116 still held there. Of these 116, 32 are deemed to risky to release but not feasible to prosecute because torture was used.  The so-called Senate Torture Report confirmed that Guantánamo was a place of torture and indefinite detention, and is a continued international embarrassment. But then again, too many members of Congress are not easily embarrassed

How did the U.S. come to occupy Guantánamo?  The Platt amendment to a U.S. Army Appropriations Bill of 1901 gave the U.S. the right to intervene militarily in Cuban affairs whenever the U.S. decided such intervention was warranted.  Cubans were given the choice of accepting the Platt Amendment or remaining under U.S. military occupation indefinitely.  The U.S. has intervened militarily in Cuban affairs at least three times.  U.S. intervention endowed Cuba with a series of  weak, corrupt, dependent governments. In 1903, the U.S. used the Platt Amendment to obtain a perpetual least of Guantánamo Bay, a blatant example of U.S. gunboat diplomacy.

Opponents of normalization argue that Cuba has a repressive regime with a poor human rights record. This concern comes on the heels of the release of the Senate Torture Report, which found, among other things, that the CIA engaged in torture such as waterboarding, shackling in painful positions, prolonged sleep deprivation, and slamming detainees against walls.  The U.S. administration got along fine with Fulgencio Batista, the thug Castro overthrew.  Americans were free to frolic at the nightclubs, casinos and beach resorts during Batista’s thuggish regime.  But then Batista was in our pocket, Castro is not.

It is iffy that the expected Obama plan to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp will persuade skeptics of Obama’s Guantánamo policy, particularly in the House, especially during a presidential race.  However, normalization will not be complete until the U.S. ends its economic embargo and returns Guantánamo Bay to Cuba.

stone-ralphGlobal News Centre writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer’s talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address

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