Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-01-13

Guantanamo prison, through Cuban eyes

Despite US President Barack Obama’s promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, 171 men are still locked up there. Our reporters went to the two villages closest to the barbed wire surrounding the military base and met the Cubans living beside these awkward neighbours. It is a sensitive zone, just a few metres from the American watchtowers.

You always get the same feeling as soon as you leave the village of La Maya, half-way between Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo, that of arriving on a forbidden planet. This is due to the phantasmal word GUANTANAMO. For many people, Guantanamo still brings to mind the notorious image of the prison of suspected Taliban fighters. Approaching it does nothing to contradict this feeling.

Half-way down the 20-kilometre-long strip of tarmac which leads to the town, you are ordered to slow down. A “verde”, a Cuban soldier, comes out of his post, asks for your documents and inspects the boot. Guantanamo is tense...

And yet... It all changes as soon as you head to parque Marti, in the town centre. A few “yumas”, tourists, few and far between, who are on their way to Baracoa in the north, discover, much to their surprise, that there are no bars on the windows, that the prison wardens are mostly female, smiley and attractive, and that the public notices do not announce the curfew but rather a “descarga” evening, a salsa night, at the Casa de la Musica.

Guantanamo Town is 20 kilometres from “Guantanamo prison”, on the US military base.

By François MISSEN , Alexandre DEREIMS

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-07-18 Hong Kong

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

In 1997 Hong Kong was proud to re-establish its Chinese identity after more than 150 years under British colonisation. But the atmosphere has changed and Hong Kong is now in open...

Read more

2014-07-11 Pakistan

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attack, questions have been asked about the tactics used in former US president George W. Bush's "War on Terror". Extraordinary rendition saw many...

Read more

2014-07-04 Italy

Italy: Toxic Naples

Industrial sludge, all kinds of garbage and even nuclear waste... For years, organised crime dumped millions of tons of toxic waste on the outskirts of Naples. This contamination...

Read more

2014-06-27 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Old wounds reopened in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s Good Friday agreement, signed in April 1998, put an end to thirty years of conflict between Nationalists and Republicans. Since its signature, traditional...

Read more

2014-06-20 refugees

Syria’s Armenians: Fleeing war for new hardship in their ancestral land

With the war, thousands of Armenians who have lived in Syria for several generations, mainly in Aleppo, have sought refuge in Armenia. But for many of them, returning to the land...

Read more