83 Latin American leaders asked Biden to close the “shameful” Guantanamo prison

15 minutes. Former foreign ministers, senators, former legislators and personalities from the political and academic world of Latin American countries signed a joint declaration urging the president of the United States (USA), Joe Biden, to close the Guantánamo prison.

Specifically, there are 83 signatories of the document released this Monday. There the recent petition from 24 US Democratic Party senators calling for the closure of the detention center established in 2002 at the Guantánamo naval base (Cuba).

“We understand that this request from the legislators points to vindicate respect for the law, the centrality of human rights and democracy in US domestic and international politicsSo says the letter, signed by former Foreign Ministers Susana Malcorra (Argentina), Celso Amorim (Brazil), Antonio Aranibar (Bolivia), José Miguel Insulza (Chile), Francisco Carrión (Ecuador), Bernardo Sepúlveda (Mexico) and Eduadro Ferrero (Peru), among many others.

“However, such a decision it would transcend the local dimension. It would send a clear and meaningful message to the world and to Latin America in particular, in whose territory this prison is established, “the document continues.

The signatories were organized as a Latin American Reflection Table, which last year repeatedly requested the suspension of the elections to the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This group considers that the closure of Guantanamo by the Biden Administration “would contribute to creating a new space for conversation in the American continent“.

In addition, it would favor dialogue on issues such as strengthening democracy, respect for human rights, inequality, cooperation and development. Likewise, the transfer of technology and the restructuring of the inter-American system, according to the letter.

Legal limbo

The request of this Latin American group is also supported by the conclusions of a group of experts from the United Nations (UN). In his view, “the 40 detainees still living there are in what they call legal limbo, outside the reach of the US constitutional judicial system“.

The UN rapporteurs called the detention center “shameful for the world.”

“The detainees remaining in the Guantanamo Bay jail risk dying from rapidly deteriorating health due to aging and physical and mental damage suffered by cruel and inhumane conditions of imprisonment. “This is what the UN report cited in the letter addressed to Biden points out.

Former US President Barak Obama (2009-2017) made closing the base one of his priorities as president. Although he did not achieve his goal, he managed to empty part of the prison. It transferred a total of 196 detainees to third countries.

During the campaign for the 2016 elections, the still US president Donald Trump was against the transfers of prisoners. He promised to maintain and expand that jail to fill it – he said – with “bad guys“.

The Guantánamo prison housed 800 inmates shortly after it was opened. This was ordered by the then president, George W. Bush (2001-2009), after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.