Taking Liberties

Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is where more than 600 prisoners from the war on terrorism are currently being held. Writer Joel McNally had the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of the complex while traveling in Cuba with a 20-member delegation from Milwaukee. “We are on a Cuban military overlook gazing through one of those coin-operated viewing machines that usually provide close-ups of the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls,” writes McNally for the Milwaukee alt weekly Shepherd Express. “Only this time we are seeing a military concentration camp.”

Guantanamo is the second largest bay in Cuba and has been occupied by the U.S. military since the Spanish-American War. Besides the camp, the bay also features a U.S. naval base, 70,000 landmines and a golf coarse. Best of all, every year the U.S. writes Cuba a check for $4,085 as a sort of rent, but Castro has refused to cash a single check since the Cuban Revolution.

Canadian and European tourists have helped Cuba to pad the loss of financial support from the former Soviet Union and the burden of the U.S. trade embargo. But despite the U.S.’s continued bullying, the Milwaukee delegation was well received by the Cuban citizens. “They are aware of the 40 years of U.S. government hostility that is lampooned on billboards showing Uncle Sam shaking his fist and growling at tiny Cuba,” writes McNally. “But they couldn’t be more welcoming to us as Americans.”
Nick Garafola

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