teleSURtv – 2016-10-31 00:58:34
Guantanamo Base Destroys Ecosystem, Impedes Scientific Research
(October 27, 2016) — The US base at Guantanamo Bay is destroying the local ecosystem and cutting off locals of profit from their biologically rich resources, according to scientists.
Infrastructure from the base, since its construction in 1903, allows only one-fifth of the aquifer to be exposed, preventing drainage from the Guantanamo basin. The effect is increasing salinity, which threatens the fragile ecosystem, scientist Mario Montero Campello told Cuba Debate.
The area is of special interest to biologists because of its unique transition between land and marine life. Continued expansion of the base, which has cleared out local vegetation, is also preventing locals from enjoying the economic benefits of its rich flora and fauna, underdeveloping the region.
Montero Campello speaks out against the blockade and the presence of the base, which was sharply criticized by UNASUR Thursday.
US conservationist Joe Roman made a case for returning the land to Cuba and creating a “research diplomacy” center studying the local ecosystem, published in Science magazine in March.
His dream, as he wrote in the paper: “research and educational facilities dedicated to addressing climate change, ocean conservation, and biodiversity loss. With genetics laboratories, geographic information systems laboratories, videoconference rooms â€” even art, music, and design studios â€” scientists, scholars, and artists from Cuba, the United States, and around the world could gather and study.”
Instead of Closing Guantanamo, the US Invests in Expansion
(July 7, 2016) — The Pentagon will spend $240 million to build new infrastructure and repair old buildings at the Guantanamo navy base in Cuba, according to contract documents.
None of the improvements and repairs will be done to the detention center inside Guantanamo, but at buildings used by personnel assigned to work in the base.
The $240 million budget will be split between five construction firms over a period of five years. One of those companies, Munilla Construction Management LLC of Miami, will be paid $63 million to build a school for the children of military and civilians working in the island.
There are currently two schools for military families in the island, and according to US officials, the facilities are too small for the 6,000 people living in the base.
“The quality of life for our residents and their families is of the utmost importance and the new school will provide a great opportunity for our children for many years,” said Base Commander Captain David Culpepper.
Meanwhile, 779 prisoners have been jailed at Guantanamo since it opened after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Of those, 689 have been released or transferred and nine have died, while 80 are still held, without recognized charges or trials.
US President President Barack Obama promised to close the military base on occupied Cuban soil during his 2008 presidential campaign, but reversed course after taking office in 2009.
Cuba has repeatedly insisted that the US return the occupied territory as part of the normalization of relations between the two countries that began in December 2014.
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump condemned the plan to close down the prison, and promised that if elected in November’s general election, he would “load it up with some bad dudes.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.