Obama, Keep Your Promise: Close Guantanamo Bay

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day when the first prisoners arrived at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. It’s also the first day of a new campaign by activists to close down Guantanamo Bay for good. The campaign is called the 100 Days Campaign to Close the Guantanamo Bay & End Torture. Witness Against Torture, the ACLU, and Amnesty International are among the coalition of groups who are coordinating 100 days of actions aimed to pressure Obama to keep his campaign promise of closing Guantanamo Bay and ending torture.

From the 100 Day’s Call to Action:

“With Barack Obama taking office, we have a historic opportunity to reverse the disastrous policies of the last eight years. As activists who have been working for the closure of this illegal prison and torture chamber, we are glad to hear the President-elect’s commitment to “close Guantánamo” and “make sure that we don’t torture.” But we know that political promises can be little more than words without continuous, visible and effective pressure. We insist on action.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. With Obama on his way to the White House, we now have a chance to undo the damage done by the Bush administration. One of the first steps to regaining international confidence in the United States is to close Guantanamo Bay. Obama stated on Nov. 16 of this past year, “I have said repeated that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture.” But what are words without action, right?

On its website, the 100 days anti-torture group says that they will take part in demonstrations, educate Congress and the public, and engage in nonviolent direct action. And their movement has already started. After a procession through streets of Washington, over 80 people began the Fast for Justice, a nine-day hunger strike at Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. The fast will be broken at sunrise on Jan. 20, when the fasters—in a spirit of hope and renewal—will join the inauguration-day crowds with their message that Guantanamo must close and torture must end.

Let’s hope these next 100 days are Guantanamo Bay’s last days.

UPDATE: It was announced today that President-elect Obama plans to close Guantanamo during his first week of presidency. This is promising news, however there still remains the issue of what to do with the current detainees. With about one week until Obama takes office, there should be some interesting developments soon.

photo credits: flickr via creativecommons.org


Laurie R.
Laurie R5 years ago

If I'm not mistaken, this is an action he could take on his own, without Congress -- so, he should just do it! He should remand prisoners into stateside federal prisons and the federal court system, giving them all rights other non-citizens enjoy when accused of crimes. The judicial system should proceed in the usual way to process their arrests, and those with insufficient evidence against them for prosecution should be released to their home countries. Once dismantled, the Guantanamo institutions, military tribunals and other special arrangements could not be easily restored, so this action would not become a back-and-forth battle ongoing. He should inspire the country to admit this was a wrong we must right, and that if there are negative consequences, we must endure them. The whole absurd accusation by Repubs that acknowledging our wrongs and errors and making amends is somehow "weak" needs to be staunchly countered by moral leadership. We all know that refusing to admit wrongdoing out of fear of consequences is what is weak. It is the strong and just who admit fault, take responsibility, pay consequences and make such amends as they can.

Gretha Loubser
Past Member 9 years ago

What are Obama's options with dealing with the detainees once Guantanamo has been closed?

Cynthia Simonian
Cynthia S9 years ago

Please make all necessary plans to close Guantanamo Bay and stop unlawful detentions.