Guantanamo bay

satellite photo
situation of the bay

the Guantanamo bay (splinter: Bahía de Guantánamo) is a 20 kilometers broad and 8 kilometers long bay of the Caribbean sea in the southern part of Cuba. It carries the names of the 12 kilometers northconvenient city Guantánamo. In the German linguistic area is also the English designation Guantanamo Bay common, which aims then however mostly at the base of the same name of the US military, that in the southern part of the bay - approximately 15 kilometers outside of the city -lies. The bay has a very deep port and is well for submarines and large ships suitable.

Table of contents


already in the colonial age age stood the Guantanamo bay in the focus of military-strategic considerations. Thus the bay became the scene of a British landing enterprise in the processthe so-called „OF was Jenkins' Ear “(1739 - 1742). In the context of an attempt to take that west the bay convenient Spanish port Santiago de Cuba the assigned British expedition corps the geographical advantages of the bay used first forthe landing of their infantry (23. July 1741). When it turned out later that an attack over country was impossible after Santiago because of the impassableness of the only way, lodged a complaint the British the bay for itself and designated their anchorage after secondSon of the English king at that time „Cumberland Harbour “. Their far stock pile convenient in the interior should be removed to a durable British attachment on Cuba and was called - in honours of the king - Georgestadt. After the British troops due to tropical diseaseswhile their mehrmonatigen stay had been strongly dezimiert, they showed the enterprise up, destroyed Georgestadt and left the island in December 1741.

To 1897 the USA the colonial power at that time Spain tried to buy the entire island Cuba. In the year 1898, during the Spanish-American war, the USA occupied the Guantanamo bay, since an important harbor facility was there. By that Paris peace of 10. December 1898 attained Cuba independence, came however into political and economic dependence on the USA.These practiced its control and supremacy by the installation of per-American presidents and dictators and several military interventions out (among other things 1899-1903). By January 1899 until May 1902 the island stood under US-American military administration. 1901 became the so-called flatly Amendment inthe condition of Cuba taken up. This limited the sovereignty of the country substantially. It granted a right to intervene to the USA in case of internal unrests and planned the transfer of Cuban territory as fleet basis.

History of the US military base

Eingang der US-Militärbasis
entrance of the US military basis

to 23. February 1903 were agreed upon by the condition-giving meeting of Cuba due to the flat additive a borrowing contract with the USA. Cuba retired the area for 99 years, whereby it received the right for the free passage of Cuban trading vessels granted. The leased area is 117.6 km ² largely (today equipped with airport and attachment plants). Likewise contained in the present Treaty a further port was in Bahia Honda, which was however already returned 1912 at Cuba. To 1934 the USA paid 2000 US Dollar per year as lease fee.

In the year 1934 the Cuban president was set off grey San Martín, the contract was waived. After a renewal of the contract in the same year only section 7 remained over the right of the use of the bay as naval base. Further that becameBorrowing contract later to indefinite time extends. Starting from the year 1938 the lease fee was increased to 4085 US Dollar.

Since the revolution 1959 and the seizure of power of Fidel Castro Cuba accepts the American operational readiness level on Cuban soil no more and demands the returnthe bay. Cuba denies the validity of the changed contract, since it came with military pressure. The lease payments of the USA are to have been allegedly also never touched by Cuba.

The bay is again and again starting point of a large number ofKubanern for their escape into the USA. The Cuban government gets straight probably therefore again and again that the not purely military use as photograph camps for refugees and prison for terrorists or the enterprise of commercial mechanisms (a branch of McDonald'sand a Bowlingbahn) a breach of contract represent. The contract prescribes a restriction on military use.

Since Cuba uncoupled the US base into the 1960er years of the current and water net, this is supplied since that time from the USA with ships and airplanes.A sea water desalination plant produces drinking water. A 28 kilometer long border fence with 44 towers as well as a mine field encloses the bay.

The original military meaning of the base for the USA as supply basis for the charring, water and ammunition need of the steam ships of the US fleet is with end of the steam navigation no longer given. The recent use as camps is connected with the fact that the civilian jurisdiction of the USA does not have a direct access to the area determined by the military right outside of the US territory.

Internment camp Camp X-Ray and Camp delta

The first American camp in Guantanamo was called Camp X-Ray (English: X-ray, X-Ray after NATO Buchstabiertafel) and existed from the 11. January 2002 up to 29. April 2002. It could accept maximally 320 prisoners. Therefore it became to 28. /29. Aprilby the substantially larger camp Camp delta replaces. Altogether after the US-American invasion in Afghanistan in the year 2002 over 1.000 prisoners from the numbers of the Taliban and the aluminium-Qaida was spent after Guantanamo Bay, where them its rights as prisoners of warremained refused. Instead it as so mentioned unlawful combatants (illegal Kombattanten) in special camps of the base are interned. Camp delta is called of critics alsoconcentration camp “. The classification as illegal Kombattanten is with international law and Human rights not compatible.

Luftbild der US-Basis Guantanamo Bay
Aerial photograph of the US basis Guantanamo Bay
official photo of the US Navy from the Camp X-Ray
entrance to the Camp delta

in November 2003 rumors arose in the world-wide press that after Guantanamo Bay also children and young people, duringthe Afghanistan war (2002) imprisoned taken, had been kidnapped are. Also the entrance to some fundamental human rights remained refused for them. In January 2004 three arrested young people at the age were returned between 13 and 16 years to Afghanistan andreleased. They are “no more endangerment for the security of the United States”. About ten were again arrested by altogether 200 dismissed prisoners later with the fight against the multinational troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The international committee of the red cross (IKRK)after reports the New York Time already in July 2004 in a confidential report to the US Government the applied cross-examining methods torture called and the prison conditions sharply criticized. Also in repeated medium reports those is from torture and inhuman treatmentSpeech, see. e.g. the report in

The responsible US authorities denied the raised reproaches regularly, by appointing themselves to the Visiten of representatives of the red cross, while the IKRK can confirm nor disclaim the correctness of the information neither,because the privacy of the reports is a condition for the execution of the Visiten.

Still 510 humans are arrested, to who both the prisoner of war status and any legal advice are refused. After a decision of the highest court of the USA in June 2004 must the prisoners the possibility have of examining their arrest. Up to the completion of the examination at the end of January 2005 the status in 327 cases was confirmed. With the remaining arrested ones the decision is still pending.

Joyce Hens Green [1], Richterin toDistrict Court for the District OF Columbia, has in their judgement [2] of 31. January 2005 the practice of the arrest without tidy legal proceedings as illegal and as offence both against those Geneva conventions and against the condition thatThe USA designates.

To 15. February 2006 demands for the first time since the establishment of the camp the UN-Menschenrechtskommission in a special report [3] the dissolution of the camp. The prisoners are to be supplied or released immediately to fair legal proceedings. In the report is also from torturethe speech. The use of dogs and force feeding hunger strike that of prisoners are criticized. So far the USA refuse however following this request and appoint themselves on the fact that the report relies on selective perceptions. Force feeding as example of torture to consult, is befremdlich, if by the measure the life of the arrested one is to be protected.

So far 242 prisoners were again released.

Countries of origin of prisoners (April 2006)

Country of origin number of prisoners
Saudi Arabia 132
Afghanistan 125
Yemen 107
other ones (38 countries) 294


At the beginning of of 2004 confirmeda Pentagon report the torture reproaches. Were called:

  • Threat of examining magistrates opposite a prisoner to pursue its family
  • Stick together the mouth of a prisoner with tape because of quoting Koranversen
  • Smear the face of a prisoner under indication, the liquid are Menstruationsblut
  • Chainof prisoners in fetaler position
  • false indication of examining magistrates as coworkers of the State Department
  • Koran violating

Beyond that the practice of the so-called Waterboardings was called usual cross-examining method, with which a person under water is held, around the impression of drowning tooproduce. Guantanamo is quite regarded of the US Government as “without rights area”. The passengers are usually held without preceding court hearing.

The case Murat Kurnaz

the South German newspaper reported [4] to 15. December 2005 over the hearing of the Turkish born in BremenCitizen Murat Kurnaz by the German intelligence service, which is held since 2001 in Guantanamo Bay. The Karlsruher Federal Prosecutor's Office stopped already in the spring 2002 a preliminary investigation against it, because it does not give “a reference to radical-fundamentalist procedure ways”. Thus it saw alsothe Richterin in Washington (D.C.). Despite these decisions it did not come until today to the release of the Bremers. This now already is for four years in the Camp and became psychologically, mental and sexual according to data of its American lawyer of the US military “tortured ". Since Murat Kurnaz is not a German citizen, the possibilities of the German Federal Government are very limited. Turkey however does not seem to strive for the release of Murat Kurnaz.

List of well-known prisoners

  • Murat Kurnaz, caught Turkish citizen, grown upin Bremen
  • Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, former Talibanbotschafter in Pakistan, dismissing September 2005

see also

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Web on the left of

of medium reports

coordinates: 20° 0 ' 33 " N, 75° 9 ' 51 " W


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