Instead of Closing Guantanamo, the US Invests in Expansion

  • Human rights groups continue to demand the U.S. close
    Human rights groups continue to demand the U.S. close ‘Gitmo’ | Photo: Reuters
The United States Navy will spend $240 million to build new facilities at the military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The Pentagon will spend $240 million to build new infrastructure and repair old buildings at the Guantanamo navy base in Cuba, according to contract documents.

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None of the improvements and repairs will be done to the detention center inside Guantanamo, but at buildings used by personnel assigned to work in the base.

The $240 million budget will be split between five construction firms over a period of five years. One of those companies, Munilla Construction Management LLC of Miami, will be paid $63 million to build a school for the children of military and civilians working in the island.

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There are currently two schools for military families in the island, and according to U.S. officials, the facilities are too small for the 6,000 people living in the base.

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“The quality of life for our residents and their families is of the utmost importance and the new school will provide a great opportunity for our children for many years,” said Base Commander Captain David Culpepper.

Meanwhile, 779 prisoners have been jailed at Guantanamo since it opened after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Of those, 689 have been released or transferred and nine have died, while 80 are still held, without recognized charges or trials.

U.S. President President Barack Obama promised to close the military base on occupied Cuban soil during his 2008 presidential campaign, but reversed course after taking office in 2009.

Cuba has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. return the occupied territory as part of the normalization of relations between the two countries that began in December 2014.

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump condemned the plan to close down the prison, and promised that if elected in November’s general election, he would “load it up with some bad dudes.”

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