Ten years of shame

The Guantanamo Bay prison is a huge stain casting a shadow over the democratic values our country is so proud of. It is a contradiction that confirms an image of arrogance and illegality when it is convenient, greatly damaging the United States on an international level.

A few days ago, the detention center for alleged terrorists marked its 10th anniversary. This has been an inhumane period from every point of view, holding prisoners in a legal limbo and without knowing what destiny holds for them.

This aberration emerged from the previous administration’s hastily made decisions after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan.

The idea of a prison on an island that is outside all legal jurisdictions challenges every concept of international lawfulness. As if that were not enough, the majority of those detained were not at all “the worst of the worst,” as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to repeat.

Several detainees were just teenagers and individuals whose worst fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The slow and quiet release of a large number of detainees later on was the best example of the George W. Bush administration’s lack of sound judgment.

Guantanamo’s existence represents a victory and is a terrorist flag that still waves. It powerfully proves that terrorists succeeded in making a democratic society betray its values because of the fear they awaken.

President Obama came to office with the promise of closing the prison, and has yet to fulfill his promise. Some regulations have been changed and courts have ruled in favor of detainees, but that is not enough. The prison must be closed.

The idea and existence of a place like Guantanamo would fit into Latin American dictatorships, which resorted to torture and disappearances because they did not know how to tackle terrorist threats within the law. Our democracy is solid enough to try suspects under the laws of the Constitution.

Guantanamo’s 10 years are a decade that should inspire shame in everyone who believes in democratic values.