Guantanamo

The U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost more than $6 billion to operate since opening nearly 18 years ago and still churn through more than $380 million a year despite housing only 40 prisoners today.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Steve Wood met in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2004.

At the time, Slahi had been in captivity for two years, accused of acts of terrorism.

Wood, then a member of the National Guard, was assigned to watch the Mauritania native. For nine months, they spent their days together.

After more than a decade, the two saw each other once again this spring, when Wood traveled to Slahi's home in Mauritania to see his old friend.

Courtesy Christina Frohock

Among its demands for normalized relations, Cuba wants the U.S. to leave its naval station at Guantánamo Bay on the island’s southeastern tip. But the lease Cuba signed more than a century ago lets the U.S. stay there forever if it wants to.

Among the many unknowns hanging over this presidential transition: the fate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama has sworn to close it; President-elect Trump wants to fill it up again.

Obama has been promising the closure will happen since his second day in office in 2009. In February, he repeated that pledge one more time, saying, "I'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo."

That same day, at a campaign rally in Sparks, Nevada, Donald Trump was promising the opposite.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was imprisoned by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than 14 years, was released on Monday, according to the Pentagon.

The construction of Camp 5 at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay back in 2003 was taken as a sign that the prison was there to stay — "evolving from wire mesh to concrete," as reporter Charlie Savage wrote then in The Miami Herald. But today, because of a shrinking detainee population, Camp 5 is a thing of the past.

Fifteen prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been transferred to the United Arab Emirates — the largest single release of the Obama administration.

The population of the military prison in Cuba is now down to 61.

Julia Longoria / WLRN

It's been 13 years since the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. To mark that anniversary, this past Sunday protesters took to the streets in cities across the country.

But among all those cities, 64-year-old Miamian Linda Belgrave said Doral was one of the most important places to protest and demand that President Obama make good on the promise he made in 2009: to close the Guantánamo Bay prison.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

    

Photo by Bryan Broyles

Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg has been covering the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba for twelve years.

“The only people who have been at Gitmo longer than me are the prisoners,” she said in a recent phone interview.

We've had to focus on news about the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., since Friday, which means we missed some interesting stories over the past few days. NPR intern Rachel Brody shares one of them.

This is a story about a daily commute that spanned regimes, not just miles.