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posted by cmn32480 on Monday March 21 2016, @03:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the how-about-a-democracy-lab-instead dept.

The American presence at the Guantanamo Prison Camp has been deeply contentious since even before terrorism suspects began to be housed there beginning in 2002. Now as President Obama prepares to make the first presidential visit to Cuba in almost 90 years, ecologists Joe Roman and James Kraska have published their case in the influential journal Science for creating a Guantanamo-based research center to study biodiversity in the Caribbean. The primary benefit of a Guantanamo Bay research station is symbolic. "The main goal is trying to take Guantanamo and make it an inspiring place, and redeem it," says Roman. But the case for Guantanamo Bay as a science lab goes beyond political optics. According to Roman and Kraska the land and the sea offer an ecosystem uniquely worthy of study. The research hub of Roman's dreams would be a state-of-the art facility to help understand how biodiversity loss can be prevented across the Caribbean. "A parcel of the land, perhaps on the developed southeastern side of the base, could become a 'Woods Hole of the Caribbean,' housing research and educational facilities dedicated to addressing climate change, ocean conservation, and biodiversity loss. With genetics laboratories, geographic information systems laboratories, videoconference rooms — even art, music, and design studios — scientists, scholars, and artists from Cuba, the United States, and around the world could gather and study. The new facilities could strive to be carbon neutral, with four 80-meter wind turbines having been installed on the base in 2005, and designed to minimize ecological damage to the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems"

According to Roman the main idea is that science can be healing: a way to bring diverse nations together, a way to rectify a complicated history, and a way to help better the lives of all people through research. The biggest roadblock won't be the Obama administration but Congress. Republican lawmakers have derided Obama's preliminary framework for closing the prison so for the foreseeable future, the status quo will remain. But Roman can still dream. "At a certain point, I don't know when, that base is going to close. It's going to return to Cuba at some point. This is a great use of that property. You don't have many places in the world like that."


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President Obama Visits Cuba 28 comments

President Obama has become the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since long before the Cuban embargo began:

President Barack Obama embarked on Sunday on a historic trip to Cuba where a Communist government that vilified the United States for decades prepared a red-carpet welcome. Lifting off from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, Obama headed for Havana where the sight of Air Force One, America's iconic presidential jet, touching down on Cuban soil would have been unimaginable not long ago.

The three-day trip, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years, is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014, ending a Cold War-era estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution ousted a pro-American government in 1959. Obama, who abandoned a longtime U.S. policy of trying to isolate Cuba internationally, now wants to make his shift irreversible. But major obstacles remain to full normalization of ties.

Ahead of Obama's arrival, plainclothes police blanketed the capital with security while public works crews busily laid down asphalt in a city where drivers joke they must navigate "potholes with streets." Welcome signs with images of Obama alongside Castro popped up in colonial Old Havana, where the president and his family will tour later on Sunday.

Also at The Guardian and live at The Washington Post. Voice of America reports that dozens of protesters were arrested hours before Obama's visit.

Extras:

How Canada played pivotal role in Obama's history-making trip to Cuba
How Raúl Castro broke with firebrand brother Fidel to jump start Cuba-U.S. relations
US hotel firm Starwood strikes historic Cuba deal


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @04:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @04:13AM (#320970)

    You only need to solve the problem of the current occupiers, nobody wants them.

    I know! Use them as fertilizer.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @08:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @08:45AM (#321030)

      You only need to solve the problem of the current occupiers, nobody wants them.

      I know! Use them as fertilizer.

      That's a bit harsh. Those soldiers are people too, and have right of life. I doubt that many of them *chose* to be transferred to Guantanamo to torture foreign prisoners for fun. (Those that did choose, well.. you may have a point)

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hartree on Monday March 21 2016, @04:18AM

    by Hartree (195) on Monday March 21 2016, @04:18AM (#320972)

    As Dionne Warwick sang:

    "Anything that's wrong can be just swept away
    Spray it with cologne and the whole world smells sweet"

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 21 2016, @04:29AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @04:29AM (#320978)

      Isn't it good that is so?

      I mean... look... we haven't yet started to colonize the space.
      If we aren't reusing it as "palimpsest", we'd soon run out of "clean parchment".

      Should Guantanamo stay a prisoner camp forever, just to remind us that a US president and his clique stank to the skies and the a station stop after?

      • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Monday March 21 2016, @09:45PM

        by Hartree (195) on Monday March 21 2016, @09:45PM (#321278)

        Redeem the land? Really?

        This is what I'd expect of a Fundy Baptist preacher saying that in order to cleanse the defiled earth of some location we need to build a church/shrine/biggest cross east of whatever landmark. Or the Catholic church in the middle ages building a monastery there to counteract the evil spirits.

        This is religion or spiritualism. The land does not need to be "redeemed". Mom nature could care less about what happened there.

        And if it's closure you want, then building an institute as a monument is just a way of keeping that memory alive.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 21 2016, @10:16PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @10:16PM (#321292)

          This is religion or spiritualism.

          Or bioremediation.

          The land does not need to be "redeemed".

          In many cases, especially when it comes to former military bases, it needs [google.com] a bit of help.

          Mom nature could care less about what happened there.

          True, it doesn't even care how long it will take to make that land proper for human life.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday March 21 2016, @05:27PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday March 21 2016, @05:27PM (#321159) Journal

      You can also make the world smell better by emptying the cat's litter box. Guantanamo is one rank catbox....

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 21 2016, @04:27AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @04:27AM (#320976) Journal

    Neocons took a good military base, and turned it into the laughingstock of the world.

    For once, a liberal has a good idea, and wants to close the prison.

    And, some fruit-loops scientific guy wants to do WHAT with it?

    Why can't we just go back to pissing off the Cubans, and torturing American sailors with PEB's and such? Weeks and weeks of exams to make sure that you're ready to kick someone's ass - that's what Gitmo is all about. That, and torturing American Marines, standing watch at pointless posts, because NO ONE really wants to take Gitmo from us. Damned neocons . . .

    --
    This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @04:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @04:36AM (#320980)

      Why can't we just go back to pissing off the Cubans, and torturing American sailors with PEB's and such?

      Do the other way around for variation.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 21 2016, @05:16AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @05:16AM (#320987) Journal

        You wanna torture American sailors, then piss on the Cubans? Well - I guess that somewhat different.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @06:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @06:09AM (#321001)
          No, silly. Cubanize off the piss and torture PEB's with American sailors. That'll do it.
  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 21 2016, @05:03AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @05:03AM (#320986) Journal

    "The main goal is trying to take Guantanamo and make it an inspiring place, and redeem it," says Roman.

    A half-assed and costly research station may be better than what Guantanamo is currently used for, but the idea has the typical sloppiness of an economically illiterate approach. Who cares how much it costs or how much it would delay actual research in the field as long as we're doing a token bit of science at some point?

  • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Monday March 21 2016, @02:48PM

    by Alfred (4006) on Monday March 21 2016, @02:48PM (#321102) Journal

    [Black]
    VO: In a world gone mad... [sorry, it was obligatory]
    [Fade in Old, happy wedding video]
    VO: A man begins his journey
    (Audio: needle scratch)
    [car crash video]
    (Audio: Sad music)
    [Bandaged woman in hospital bed]
    [man in the rain]
    Male Lead: "I don't know what to do without her."
    [home interior]
    Mom: "She is still there, her heart still beats for you."
    Male Lead: "But *what* can I do?"
    VO: where love and life collide
    [office interior]
    Commanding Officer: "Soldier. Leave is over."
    [Cut to Smart Attractive Lead Woman™ clumsily dropping papers]
    Commanding Officer: "She is your new assignment"
    [Male lead making stupid face]
    (Audio:"walking on sunshine", also obligatory, I actually hate this song)
    [Exterior Female Lead walking dog, spilling coffee]
    VO: She was on top of her game...
    [Interior laboratory]
    Colleague: "Genetics, plants, ...science; You are the best there is"
    Female Lead: "Yeah, but this could be so much more"
    [Interior Office]
    Boss: "We made a deal and you are getting the new lab you need"
    Female Lead: "wow your the best"
    Boss: "It's on an island"
    VO: Together they would change the world
    Male Lead: "So this plant science you do could help someone in a coma?"
    Female Lead: "Sure if it goes that way. Genetic engineering isn't just for crops you know"
    [island base fly over shot]
    Commanding Officer: "You and your team are to escort the doctor to the Facility and establish her research center."
    [Base interior]
    "This is your new home, we expect great things"
    (Audio: ominous drums)
    VO: A top secret facility..
    [unnoticed spilled beaker, liquid goes into crack in concrete floor]
    VO: Still has secrets...
    [office interior] "Underground Sector 5 was sterilize and sealed, the door doesn't even exist anymore, it won't be a problem"
    VO: That are no longer secret
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    [base interior, lights flashing, floors cracking and heaving]
    (Audio: That Violin sound associated with spiders)
    [Base exterior] "Oh my God ! What is it?!"
    [Cut to exterior with big green plant monster rising from the earth]
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    VO: To save the girl he loves
    "get the vial"
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    VO: He must survive
    "the Chopper is this way!"
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    VO: and save the girl that loves him
    "Not on my watch"
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    VO: while destroying everything that brought them together
    "Where's the detonator
    [Black, quiet]
    Female lead: "did we make it?"
    VO: If you liked "Lord of the Rings", "Contagion", "The Notebook", "Star Wars: The Phantom Meanace", "The Rock" or "Casablanca" then this movie is for you
    (Audio: Inception style foghorn)
    [Show title]
    [Indie film festival awards]
    [Summer 20XX]
    [fade to black]
    ---

    Ok that was kinda rough, not subtle at all, but... casting ideas anyone?