The detainees from Guantanamo Base in Cuba that arrived in Uruguay on Sunday as part of an agreement with the US, can leave the country whenever they wish, since they come as 'refugees', announced President Jose Mujica.
In an interview with the Ecuadorean government television channel, Mujica revealed that Uruguay did not accept the US demand that the six detainees freed from Guantanamo must remain in the country for at least two years.
For me, the institute of refugee is one of the most noble institutions that makes humanity viable. Because there will always be people that want, need to run away said the Uruguayan leader.
He added that Guantanamo is not a jail, it's a kidnapping nest, because a jail means some rule of the law system; the presence of prosecutors; some magistrate's decision, whatever it is, and a minimum reference to some legal point of view. Of that there is nothing.
Mujica said that if this situation had been in some other country, human rights organizations and the UN would be very much mobilized, but the big are the big in clear reference to the US. However he pledged to continue criticizing the US interventionism and 'abuses', but at the same time admitted he would feel a 'coward' if he didn't do something for the imprisoned in Guantanamo, particularly when ”there is a president (Obama) who wants to finish with this great miserable mess he received; to turn a back on him would be cowardice when one thinks this way.
Last Friday the Uruguayan Executive site released the text of an open letter to the Uruguayan people and to President Obama in which he confirms the commitment to receive the six Guantanamo inmates but at the same time requests the liberation of four Cubans sentenced for spying in the US and of a Puerto Rican who has been jailed for over thirty years under the charge of 'sedition'.
Mujica also calls on Obama to lift the US embargo on Cuba which has been ongoing for over half a century. Last March when the first rumors of a possible negotiation to send Guantanamo inmates to Uruguay, Mujica said he would also 'pass the bill', meaning he was after something in exchange.
In the two pages letter to Obama, Mujica recalls Uruguay's long tradition and commitment to asylum and points out that making the most of that meritorious will, we have offered our hospitality to human beings that were suffering an 'atrocious kidnapping in Guantanamo: the reason is inevitable, it's humanitarian”.