Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

'Trump is the most powerful unifying force the Democrats could imagine'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'In Marie's name': Elle magazine takes a stance on domestic violence

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Where is the solidarity for Somalia?'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Liberia's presidential election: Results trickle in as observers give thumbs-up

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Weinsteins: Watershed moment in fight against sexual abuse?

Read more

FOCUS

A shield and a target: France's anti-terrorism operation 'Sentinelle'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc expose extent of sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Musical maestro Philippe Jordan on bringing passion to the Paris Opera

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Black day for democracy': Malta in mourning after top journalist is murdered

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

2017-10-13 Europe

Video: Ghosts of 1917 revolution still haunt Russians

What remains of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia? FRANCE 24 brings you a special documentary on how Russians are living with this cumbersome legacy, as the Kremlin keeps a...

Read more

2017-10-06 Middle East

Video: After the war, life slowly returns to Mosul

FRANCE 24's reporters went back to Mosul, almost three months after Iraqi forces liberated the country’s second city from the grip of the Islamic State (IS) group. The scene of...

Read more

2017-09-29 Africa

Video: Beauty queens to the rescue in Sierra Leone

In January 2016, Sierra Leone, a small West African country torn apart by war and ranked among the poorest in the world, created a sensation at the Miss Universe event. For the...

Read more

2017-06-30 Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia: A long road to equality

In Saudi Arabia, women are considered second-class citizens. They cannot drive or travel without the authorisation of a male guardian: a brother, father, cousin or even a son....

Read more

2017-09-22 Middle East

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

In the last few years, Syria’s Christians have been subjected to violent attacks and kidnappings by the Islamic State group. Churches have been burnt and entire villages in the...

Read more