Monday, August 19, 2013

VIDEO: The Haitian Guantánamo Bay Experience // The Legal Journey (directed by Rachelle Salnave)

This personal memoir is part of The Guantánamo Public Memory Project.

Mr. Ira J. Kurzban litigated over fifty federal cases concerning the rights of immigrants, including Jean v. Nelson, Commissioner v. Jean, and McNary v Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., all of which he argued before the United States Supreme Court. He has also litigated numerous cases under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act, including obtaining a $500 million judgment against Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former dictator Haiti. He was one of the leading attorney's fighting for the civil liberty of Haitian's detained in Guantánamo.

“Guantánamo” has become an international symbol of torture, detention, national security, and conflict over America’s “War on Terror.” But this “state of exception” in Cuba has been opened – and closed—for more than a century before 9-11. Facilities for new uses are now being constructed. The 1903 lease with Cuba grants the US total jurisdiction over the bay until both countries agree to end the arrangement. For better or for worse, then, GTMO is open and available for any future administration to use – in the War on Terror or otherwise. How did we get here? What should happen next? Over 100 historians, artists, archivists, activists, and others came together to discuss and debate building a public memory around the US naval station at Guantánamo Bay. They explored the site’s long history and why it matters today more than ever.

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