Cuban migrants at Guantánamo base ‘broke rules,’ face restrictions
Posted on Tuesday, 02.07.12
Cuban migrants at Guantánamo base 'broke rules,' face restrictions
By CAROL ROSENBERG
Nearly three dozen Cuban asylum seekers were confined to the Leeward
side of the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Tuesday, no longer able to send
packages to family across the minefield in a security crackdown at the
U.S. migrant center at the base in southeast Cuba.
Officials wouldn't say precisely how the Cubans lost privileges of wider
access on the base. But "several of the migrants repeatedly broke Naval
Station rules in place to ensure base security," said Deborah Sisbarro
at the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
The infractions occurred "in the last several weeks," she said.
The Miami Herald was first alerted to a problem by a pro-Cuban
government blogger in Havana, who posted from the Cuban
government-controlled side of the island that 10 Cuban migrants were on
a hunger strike. But Sisbarro said Tuesday that the hunger strike was
short-lived, Feb 2-4.
As of Tuesday, the base was housing 33 Cubans, ages 18 to 53, who were
picked up at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard and found to be potential
candidates for asylum anywhere but the U.S.
The "migrants," as the U.S. military calls them, have in the past had
wider movement around the 45-square-mile base, escorted by a contract
security group called The Geo Group. Visitors They could spot them ride
the ferry from Leeward side, where they are housed dormitory style in a
renovated Marine barracks, to the Windward side, where they could do odd
jobs and shop in the commissary.
Sisbarro emphasized that the Cuban asylum seekers are held in entirely
different circumstances than the 171 war-on-terror captives at the U.S.
Navy base at Guantánamo. The Cubans have access to a gym and a shop on
the Leeward side, and an 11 p.m. curfew. Muslim Captives are in are in
prison camps on Windward side, a ferry ride away, behind a special
security gate leading to the barbed-wire-ringed prison camps.
Of the 33 migrants, 21 are approved for resettlement in nations other
than the U.S., typically Latin America and Europe. The State Department
is evaluating the other cases.