Obama wants to close Gitmo so he can give it to Cuba's tyrants

Benny Avni:
It didn’t take long for the two Cuban-American presidential contenders to smell a Havana rat.

“You wake up this morning to the news that the president is planning to close Guantánamo — maybe even giving it back to the Cuban government,” Marco Rubio said Tuesday while campaigning in Las Vegas.

Dropping the “maybe,” Ted Cruz said at a Reno rally, “I believe that President Obama intends to try to give the Guantánamo naval facility to Raúl and Fidel Castro as a parting gift.”

Indeed, a diplomat familiar with the administration’s Cuba maneuvering tells me the White House has seriously considered giving in to Raúl Castro’s demand to hand over Guantánamo. America has controlled the naval base since 1903. Since the 1959 revolution, the Cuban government has said Guantánamo is an occupied territory that must be returned.

Most recently, Raúl Castro demanded turning Gitmo over as a condition for renewing relations.

White House officials say that, yes, Obama believes the detention facility should be closed down — but no, not the naval base. Raúl opened a US embassy last year anyway. So unless there’s some secret deal to change all that during Obama’s March 21 visit, let’s assume that, for now, we still have the base.

And remember: Even closing the detention center is far from a done deal. For one, Congress has ruled out any transfer of detainees to US soil. That’s unlikely to change in an election year. So what to do with the 91 terrorists still held at Guantanamo, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as the brain behind 9/11?

In fact, Obama’s entire Cuba strategy is just as tough to implement as his “shut Gitmo” gambit.

The administration insisted that replacing an unproductive embargo with enlightened engagement would lead to much-needed Cuban reforms. That promise is fizzling faster than a Caribbean tropical storm.
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In fact, Obama's visit will likely lead to more Cubans being rounded up and thrown in jail to keep them from embarrassing the despots in charge of Cuba.   Congress should make clear that it would not approve a move to close the base, just as it has made clear it does not approve of attempts to move the terrorist to the US.

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