US should pay to resettle ex-Gitmo detainees – Uruguay president
The four Syrians, one Tunisian and one Palestinian were freed
from the notorious American detention facility in December and
resettled in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital.
Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica made the offer to receive some Gitmo prisoners, many who are being held without any charges, saying it would be a humanitarian gesture for "human beings who were suffering an atrocious kidnapping at Guantanamo."
Vazquez said he would bring up the issue of supplying the new
arrivals with financial assistance when he meets with Obama this
week at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
“Uruguay gave them asylum, but the US government should provide all the necessary means so that those citizens of other countries can have a dignified life in our country,” Vazquez said in statements provided to local media.
Vazquez noted the numerous challenges the men face in adapting to their new home.
“I put myself in their place and it must be very hard to come from another part of the world, with other cultures, other religions, other customs, and be planted in a foreign country,” said Vazquez. “I’m also worried because their arrival, this placing of Guantanamo prisoners here, has also impacted our society.”
Vazquez, newly elected to the presidency on March 1, has said his country would not accept any more released Guantanamo prisoners. He has also put on hold a second arrival of Syrian refugees.
The president has said the asylum program required “profound
analysis” before any more former Gitmo detainees could be
accepted. The Uruguay public has quickly changed its attitude
about the new arrivals, who have become somewhat of a financial
burden on this poor country of 3.3 million people.
The men - suspected by the US government of being al-Qaida militants who spent 12 years in Guantanamo without being charged for any crimes - reportedly receive a monthly spending allowance of $600 (15,000 pesos) from the Uruguayan government to cover basic needs. However, they refused to accept jobs they were offered in February.
In December, in addition to the six former detainees sent to Uruguay, the US sent four detainees to Afghanistan, while another 13 detainees released in 2014 were shipped to Algeria, Georgia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia.
As of January 2015, 122 detainees remain at Guantanamo. A total of 81 of them are from Yemen.