Time for US to Give Gitmo Back to Cuba

Not just the prison, the entire base: NYT essay

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 11, 2012 12:17 PM CST

(Newser) – With the 10th anniversary of the opening of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay upon us, Harvard lecturer Jonathan M. Hansen suggests a way to mark the occasion: Give the whole military base, prison included, back to Cuba. The US forced Cuba to lease the base to us in 1901 in the wake of its war for independence against Spain, and Guantanamo has been a sorry reminder of "America's long history of interventionist militarism" ever since, writes Hansen in the New York Times.

In fact, that early history of taking over the base and the subsequent expansion of the US presence is just as troubling as the last 10 years of scandal involving the prison. "It is a history excluded from American textbooks and neglected in the debates over terrorism, international law, and the reach of executive power," Hansen writes. But Cubans and all of Latin America know it well. President Obama should start the handover process now as a matter of principle. "It would rectify an age-old grievance and lay the groundwork for new relations with Cuba and other countries in the Western Hemisphere and around the globe." Click here for the full column.

A U.S. Navy personnel patrols at Gitmo in this file photo.
A U.S. Navy personnel patrols at Gitmo in this file photo.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Colin Perkel)
The tower in front of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The tower in front of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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