Cuba Politics

Fringe activist group goes to Guantanamo to show support for prisoners

Posted December 12, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

By Anita Snow / Associated Press

HAVANA - American anti-war activists marched Wednesday from the eastern Cuban city of Santiago toward the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay to protest treatment of terror suspects there.

The 25 members of the Witness Against Torture group had hoped to begin their daylong march a day earlier, but spent Tuesday negotiating with Cuban communist officials about how close they could get to the American military installation, the protesters said by telephone.

Cuba and the United States have had no diplomatic relations for more than four decades, and the American base is surrounded by a miles-wide Cuban military zone peppered with mines.

It seemed unlikely that the marchers would be allowed to cross the military zone to reach the U.S. base’s gate and demand that American sentries let them visit the prisoners, as they initially had planned.

“We’re really saddened and horrified by what’s going on in Guantanamo and the other prisons” where the U.S. military holds terror suspects, said marcher Susan Crane of Baltimore. “Our hope is to get as close as we can (to the base).”

“We want the prisoners to know we care about them,” she added.

Most of the marchers arrived Monday in Santiago, about 50 miles southwest of Guantanamo, from the Dominican Republic. Among them was Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late Phil Berrigan, a former Roman Catholic priest whose fight against the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons helped ignite a generation of anti-war dissent.

The United States holds about 500 terror suspects at the remote base in Guantanamo. The U.S. government says they are enemy combatants, not prisoners of war, and are not entitled to the same rights afforded under the Geneva Conventions.

Member Comments

On December 12, 2005, publisher wrote:

Even Fidel Castro doesn’t want this people protesting against the US.

I don’t support OFAC’ fines against Americans travelling to Cuba but in this case they should fine all these people for violating US policy and, if there is a fine for stupidity and useless causes, fine them for that too.

““Our hope is to get as close as we can (to the base).””

Maybe they will let you in and you can stay…forever.

On December 12, 2005, Chuck Bailey wrote:

I can see no value in holding these terrorists any longer. We should not expend any more funds, leave the gate open, let them walk-out. This will give Castro’ 2 million man army something to do!! Chuck

On December 13, 2005, GregoryHavana wrote:

Both of the above comments reflect an lack of concern for the violation of human right by the US government in Guantanamo (that should be protested, if you believe in your own Bill of Rights!) and a fundamental ignorance of the situation. Publisher, I don’t know how your convoluted logic leads you to think that “Fidel Castro doesn’t want the people protesting against the US” just because they were not allowed to get too close to the base. By the way, have you ever seen the base? I have, and you can in fact get quite close. A more reasonable analysis is that the Cuban government does not want to the protesters active in an area that is filled with mines and other lethal defense systems. And since when is concern for prisoners who are being held illegally (as concluded by the United Nations and many law professors in the United States)a “useless cause”. Shame on you for your ignorance and apathy to what your tax payer money is doing in Guantanamo.

On December 13, 2005, publisher wrote:


No. I have not seen the base. I’m sure it is well protected but since Fidel is not supporting these activists and using them against the US, I am reading into it that he does not support them. That’ all he needs is for a flow of illegal travellers coming in from the US and getting killed by US mines or worse Navy base guards.

I have no problem with the Guantanamo bay situation. I doubt any/many of the detainees are innocent.

On December 13, 2005, GregoryHavana wrote:

Publisher, There is absolutely no logical connection between Fidel not letting them get close to a heavily mined and politically volitile area and whether Fidel supports them. Second, you may be right that most of the prisoners are not innocent and were in fact involved in terrorist activities, but any indefinite detention without access to lawyers, charges, or a fair trial is a travesty of justice and leaves your belief in their guilt an idle supposition. The fact that your government has to take them to foreign soil (in the anomalous and illegal conditions of Guantanamo) in order to avoid US law, let alone the Geneva convention, speaks for itself. Anyone with a basic knowledge of US law and international law, WOULD have a problem with the Guantanamo situation. The fact that you do not have a problem also speaks for itself. The Guantamao situation is the best example of the hypocritical policy of “as what we say, not what we do…”. It is sad that you have fallen for it…