The city is c.20 mi (30 km) inland from its port, Caimanera, on landlocked
A prison camp for several hundred persons accused of having Taliban or Al Qaeda ties was established (2002) there after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan during the Bush administration. Guantánamo was chosen because the Bush administration believed that federal constitutional protections should not apply to the base, which legally is not part of the United States; that argument was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2004. There have been accusations, some based on FBI e-mail, that prisoners there have been abused and tortured; several prisoners have committed suicide. In 2009 President Obama ordered the closure of the prison camp within a year, but difficulties associated with the process made closing it unachievable. By early 2017, however, 41 prisoners remained at the base; some 660 had been held at the base in 2003. Most of those held there were never tried.
See S. I. M. Schwab, Guantánamo, USA (2009); M. O. Slahi, Guantánamo Diary (2015); M. Fallon, Unjustifiable Means (2017).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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