The fate of Guantanamo now rests with President Trump

World Today

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Ben Fox, File)

The issue of what to do with Guantanamo is now landing in the lap of newly-minted President Trump.

The 41 detainees left at the facility will now be under the jurisdiction of a Trump administration.

CGTN’s Yasmeen Alamiri reports.


The fate of what happens next in Guantanamo now rests with newly-minted President Trump.

In it’s 15-year history, Guantanamo and its closure has evaded two presidential administrations. President Obama made it an early mission to close the facility, which has held well over 700 detainees since it’s opening in 2002.

President George W. Bush started trying to close the facility by the end of his time in office. He handed over 242 detainees to President Obama. Even before winning the presidency, then-Senator Barack Obama vowed to close Guantanamo.

The promise went on to become one of President Obama’s first executive orders signed—vowing to close the facility within one year.

In 2009, the president told federal authorities to scout out a prison in Illinois to transfer the Guantanamo detainees to.

In the midst of a massive hunger strike at Guantanamo where prisoners were protesting their detention, President Obama in 2013 again renewed his promise to close the facility.

“Well, it is not a surprise to me that we’ve got problems in Guantanamo, which is why when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008, and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantanamo. I continue to believe that we’ve got to close Guantanamo,” Obama said in the 2013 press conference.

He addressed the issue again during his 2014 State of the Union Address. “This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.”

In his final year in office, the president put forward a plan to close the facility. In February of 2016, the President urged “let us do what is right for America. Let us go ahead and close this chapter, and do it right, do it carefully.”

President Obama has insisted that he wants to close the facility under his administration. “I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next President, whoever it is. And if, as a nation, we don’t deal with this now, when will we deal with it? Are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years, another 20 years, another 30 years?” Obama said in 2016.

Despite his desires, the prison will be inherited by the Trump administration. And while it is not clear how the Trump White House will approach Guantanamo policy, he has been clear about his intention to keep it open.

“This morning, I listened to President Obama talk about Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, by the way, we are keeping open. Which we are keeping open, and we’re going to load it up with some bad dudes, believe me. We’re gonna load it up,” Trump said during a February 23, 2016 campaign rally.

The end of the Obama administration has brought with it an end to the closure of Guantanamo in the near future. The inauguration of President Trump will surely usher in a new future for Guantanamo and its remaining detainees.