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article imageOp-Ed: Uruguay will accept Guantanamo inmates with conditions

By Ken Hanly     Mar 22, 2014 in Politics
Washington - The president of Uruguay Jose Mujica said that he would be willing to take five Guantanamo inmates but in return he claims to have asked the U.S. to release detained Cuban spies.
Early reports indicated that the request had been accepted: Mr Mujica said he had agreed to a request from President Barack Obama to take some of the detainees remaining at the controversial US military camp. He added that the five inmates would be welcome to "work and stay with their families in Uruguay".
Later however Mujica admitted that the talks were far from over and that the detention of Cuban prisoners held as spies should also be settled at the same time. The White House said they consider Mujica a valuable partner but that they were not aware of the request to release Cuban prisoners. Perhaps people at the White House do not read the press.
In a radio program Mujica had said: "We are not doing this for money or for material things, But we have no qualms in asking the North American government to please do what is possible to release those two or three Cuban prisoners who have been there for many years, because that is also shameful," While Mujica did not name the prisoners they are no doubt the remaining three of five convicted of spying in 1998. Two have already been released. The continued imprisonment of the three has been an impediment to improving U.S. Cuba relations.
There are still 154 inmates at Guantanamo although Obama has recently picked up the pace of releases. A panel has also been reviewing cases to see if more can be cleared for release. Recently they cleared a Yemeni Mahmud Mujahid for release who was regarded before as a "forever prisoner" too dangerous to release but with not sufficient evidence to charge and convict him. Now he is no longer regarded as a danger. However it is not clear when or to where he will be released.
In spite of demands from Yemen and protests there, Obama has so far refused to repatriate any Yemenis in his latest drive to transfer out inmates. Over half the prisoners cleared for transfer out are Yemenis:"Nearly 80 other prisoners at Guantanamo have been cleared for transfer or release, of which more than 50 are from Yemen." The appended video shows one of several protests in Yemen. The US organization Code Pink organized this one together with Yemenis.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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