Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Cuba-USA: 'A roll of the dice'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The 'Caribbean Wall' is starting to crumble

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Todos somos Americanos"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Sydney siege: Australians show solidarity with Muslims

Read more

ENCORE!

"Charlie's Country" director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

Read more

FOCUS

Hunt for Joseph Kony and LRA militants continues

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

‘China needs Tibetan culture of peace,’ says Dalai Lama

Read more

FACE-OFF

Immigration in France: Hollande slams scaremongers

Read more

ENCORE!

'Charlie's Country' director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

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

2014-02-14 Cameroon

Central African Republic and the 'convoy of hope'

Despite the presence of French troops and an African Union-led peacekeeping force, the situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely volatile. Clashes between the...

Read more

2014-12-12 China

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from...

Read more

2014-12-05 France

Do French Jews have reason to fear?

"For the first time in 70 years, France has become a country of Jewish emigration". This is how the Chairman of France’s Central Consistory, Joël Mergui, gloomily sums up the...

Read more

2014-11-28 Lebanon

Lebanon's Shebaa, a village caught in the crossfire

It’s just another small Sunni village in southern Lebanon. But Shebaa, a Hezbollah stronghold on the crossroads of Israel and Syria, is now a flashpoint in a spreading war. With...

Read more

2014-11-21 National Front party (France)

France’s National Front in the spotlight

With the National Front on the rise in France, our reporters returned to three towns where the far-right party’s mayoral candidates won the most recent local elections.

Read more