Guantánamo: From Prison to Marine Conservation Peace Park

Elizabeth Kolbert writes about the dream to turn Gitmo into a state-of-the-art marine research institution and peace park in The New Yorker.

From the category archives:

News

Joe Roman discusses the role of right whales and other cetaceans in nutrient cycling on the CBC. Listen here.

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Screenshot 2016-06-21 13.35.26 An extensive history of the base, including the proposal to convert Guantánamo into a research station and marine park. Read it en español in OnCuba Magazine.

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There is growing optimism among scientists in a time of rapprochement highlighted by President Obama’s visit to Cuba in March 2016. Many marine and Earth scientists say the U.S. reengagement with Cuba under Obama is sowing the seeds for a new era of scientific collaboration. Read more in Eos.

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A decline in whales means less whale poop—and disruptions in the ocean’s nutrient cycle. See more on 60-Second Science by Scientific American.

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Joe Roman discusses converting the Guantánamo Naval Base into a peace park and research center on the John Batchelor Show.

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“One way to return the land and improve diplomacy would be to convert the area into a research center that would host both American and Cuban researchers,” says Joe Roman. Casey Williams reports on the Gitmo proposal in the Huffington Post.

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The beauty of the latest proposal, as laid out in Science, is that it turns Guantánamo’s historical liability—its isolation—into an asset. (During the Cold War, the U.S. installed land mines along the perimeter of the base; those have now been removed.) Several species, including the Cuban iguana, that are faring poorly outside the base appear to have thrived inside its fences. And the notion of transforming the site of one of the world’s most notorious prisons into a “peace park” has an undeniable charm. As no less of an expert on reconciliation than Nelson Mandela once put it, the concept of the peace park “can be embraced by all.”

Elizabeth Kolbert reports on the recent Science policy piece in The New Yorker.

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“Almost all the scientists I’ve spoken with, whether they are in the United States or are in Cuba, are excited about the idea that there could be a place in the future where we could work together,” Roman said. Read more about the proposal in The Guardian.

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President Barack Obama has been trying in vain to close the Guantánamo prison for years. In February, as the administration began to reestablish diplomatic and political ties with Cuba, Obama released his latest plan to close the detention center on Guantánamo Bay. On the eve of Obama’s historic visit to Cuba next week, now’s as good time as any to reimagine what will be done with Guantanamo’s aging infrastructure — buildings that just so happen to be sitting in the middle of what Roman called an “unparalleled” environmental Eden. Read more in Grist.

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As President Obama gears up for his presidential visit to Cuba this weekend – the first in 80 years – scientists are pondering the future of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base. One idea proposed is the creation of a transnational conservation area, or peace park. Read more about the proposal in The Christian Science Monitor.

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