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National protest against U.S. torture prison at Guantanamo planned for Miami

By Cassia Laham

Painting banner for protest to shut down the U.S. prison at the  Guantanamo Bay.

Miami, FL – Following the recent CIA torture report, determined activists in Florida are gearing up for the annual march and protest to shut down the U.S. torture prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. Anti-war leaders expect hundreds will protest outside the gates of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) on Jan. 11 in Doral, Florida, which is located near Miami. Notable speakers from across the country include Nancy Mancias of CodePink!, Camilo Mejia of Veterans for Peace and Holly Kent-Payne of Chicago with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

“We need to continue to oppose U.S. torture of citizens and non-citizens alike. The detention centers at Guantanamo Bay are symbols of oppression and violence and must be shut down,” said Pamela Maldonado, an organizer with People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR). “Our pressure has already forced the U.S. to begin repatriating prisoners to other countries and safer locations. We won’t stop until the prisons are closed for good.”

The six demands of those organizing the protest are: 1) Shut down Guantanamo Bay now, 2) End the torture of prisoners, 3) Stop force-feeding hunger-strikers, 4) Release detainees who have not been charged with crimes, 5) Transfer cases to federal court if legitimate evidence exists, 6) Repatriate freed detainees or provide asylum for those who need it and 7) Repatriate the families of those who were wrongfully detained.

The U.S. military base at Guantanamo serves as a place to torture and to dispose of Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. ‘War on Terror.’ It also violates Cuba’s sovereignty, as it projects U.S. empire into the Caribbean and South America. SOUTHCOM is a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense and controls Guantanamo Bay. The purpose of SOUTHCOM is to coordinate military, intelligence and naval missions throughout Latin America in order for the U.S. and Wall Street to dominate and exploit other countries.

SOUTHCOM orchestrates low-intensity wars, terror attacks and destabilization campaigns in Latin America, as currently witnessed in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela. SOUTHCOM’s General John F. Kelly sits on the Board of Visitors that oversees the School of the Americas (renamed WHINSEC after a torture scandal) in Fort Benning, Georgia. U.S. military personnel train Colombian military officers to run violent paramilitary groups that kill and disappear people, referred to as “false positives”. These U.S.-trained death squads kill thousands of Colombians each year, especially targeting progressives and labor leaders.

Groups organizing the Jan. 11 march include POWIR, Occupy Miami, Al-Awda, National Lawyers Guild and Students for a Democratic Society. The rally begins at 2:00 p.m. with a march through downtown Doral to the gates of SOUTHCOM. Some protesters will wear orange prison jumpsuits like the prisoners of war. Water will be provided.

More information can be found here:

#MiamiFL #GuantanamoBay #Gitmo