Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Lebanon: Syrian civil war spillover heightens tensions in Tripoli

Read more

ENCORE!

Art show: From Frank Gehry's glass sails to Paul McCarthy's sex toys

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US midterms: The battle for Colorado

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Dominique Strauss-Kahn reacts to suicide of his business partner

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The robot workforce is coming

Read more

WEB NEWS

Video highlights problem of street harassment in New York

Read more

DEBATE

The battle for Kobane: Peshmerga, FSA join fight against IS group

Read more

DEBATE

The battle for Kobane: Peshmerga, FSA join fight against IS group (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Thousands protest against president's plan to extend rule

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

2014-10-24 Spain

Why does Catalonia want to leave Spain?

On November 9, 2014, Catalans were due to vote in a referendum on independence. But the poll was cancelled by the Constitutional Court after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s...

Read more

2014-10-17 Uruguay

Uruguay: President Mujica’s social revolution

By legalising both gay marriage and abortion, and decriminalising cannabis, Uruguay has become a real-life social laboratory in Latin America over recent years. The architect of...

Read more

2014-10-10 Haiti

Haiti: Injustice in a time of Cholera

FRANCE 24 reports on the UN’s role in the worst cholera outbreak in modern times. We shine a light on the lack of compassion shown towards the victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic...

Read more

2014-09-30 Syria

Video: Syrian student risks her life to film IS group stronghold

FRANCE 24 has obtained rare footage secretly shot by a female student in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State group in Syria.

Read more

2014-09-26 Russia

Video: Crimea's 'Russification' in full swing

Changing nationalities isn’t always easy. Six months ago, in Crimea, people voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, in a referendum that Western powers deemed illegal. Now, the...

Read more