|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
Guantanamo Bay is a US Naval base on the island of Cuba. Now more than a century old, it is the only US base in a country which America does not have good diplomatic relations and which the hosting country opposes the existence of. The base owes its existence to the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which gave the US Navy control over it (for some reason when the US invaded they decided to go all the way around the island, rather than cross from Miami). When Fidel Castro took over, he declared the Treaty of Paris null and void, but supposedly accepted the first rent check from the US. The US considers this proof enough that the Cuban government is still bound by the Treaty. It is now most famous for containing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, or "Gitmo", a military prison created in 2002 in as a place to hold alleged terrorists, as well as Harold and Kumar.
It holds prisoners which the United States government feels pose a terrorist threat. In order to avoid the strictures of the Geneva Conventions the US government has classified the prisoners as "enemy combatants" and not as "prisoners of war". Although none of the major human rights advocacy groups (such as the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International) have described it as such, some people believe that the Guantanamo Bay facility constitutes a concentration camp.
The detention center has been a source of continual disgrace to the United States, and would be an embarrassment to the George W. Bush administration, if they were capable of feeling shame, or still in power.
Michael Moore pointed out in his documentary Sicko that Guantanamo Bay offers free health care to its detainees, as the United States is a "Contracting Party to the World Health Organization, and thus has accepted the principle that the 'enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.'" Ironically, the United States has not extended the "fundamental right" of free health care to its own citizens.
As wrong as it may seem that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are given better health care than US citizens as a right, imprisonment of a person by a government makes that government responsible for the care of the prisoner as they can no longer provide it to their own self (such as by having a job and paying for health care). However, the US government fares little better in this respect within its own territory - from state to state and county to county the well-being of prisoners can be extremely varied.
Almost immediately after taking office, President Obama ordered the closure of the prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, pending a six-month review of the details, and temporarily suspended all military tribunals in process there.. However, in May of that year, the Democratic Senate blocked funds to close down the camp . In January 2011, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2011, which prohibited the executive branch from using any funds to close down Guantanamo Bay. In March 2011, the President allowed military tribunals to continue, effectively ending to push to close down the detention center.
- ↑ Report on the Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Section V. http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/report/2006/guantanamo-detainees-report_un_060216.htm
- ↑ "Obama Orders Secret Prisons and Detention Camps Closed". New York Times. January 22, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/us/politics/23GITMOCND.html?_r=2&hp.
- ↑ http://www.webcitation.org/5jPWyaCDq
- ↑ http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=741&sid=2226350