By Suhani Narayan
Guantanamo Bay is a controversial mark in US politics: it stands on Cuban soil and has been deemed a violation of human rights. It stands as a symbol of injustice and abuse, so much, in fact, that some countries use it as propaganda against the United States. The very ideals of our justice system are violated. And yet President Obama’s attempt to shut it down failed.
Why is it still open? Why are we paying excessive taxes to keep it open, for that matter? Why is it so hard to shut down?
For President Obama, closing the detention center was a major part of his campaign. In his speeches, he said that the practices at Guantanamo were “ruled unconstitutional by federal courts 15 years ago”, and how “150 million dollars are put into the prison per year to contain just 40 detainees”. But some argue that closing the center might actually cost more money than simply keeping it open. The transfer of detainees, the potential shutdown of the naval base, and the entire process is estimated to cost billions. However, the economic cost is on a different playing field than the cost of our stance in human rights. Countries like Germany, France, and Great Britain have pointed out that Gitmo violates international standards on how to deal with detainees and there is bound to be some form of international support lost because of it. Our stance as a major global power might be diminished; calling out other countries on their violation of human rights will come right back on us.
Despite these reasons, President Trump is adamant on keeping Gitmo open. His concerns with national security fuel this idea and his intentions are to “load it up with some bad dudes” to apparently enhance national security. Guantanamo Bay has been open for 115 years. Closing it down has some pros and cons, but so does keeping it open. Now that President Obama’s starting plans have been redacted by President Trump, one can only wonder when the debate over Gitmo will ever end.