Hugo Chávez offers to accept Gitmo detainees

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said April 1 that Venezuela would be willing to accept detainees from the Guantánamo Bay military prison. Chávez made his statements in an interview with Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera while attending the Second Summit of Arab-South American Countries in Qatar. In the interview, Chávez also called for US President Barack Obama to complete the release of all Guantánamo detainees and completely return Guantánamo to Cuba. Given the tense relationship between the US and Venezuela, it is unlikely that detainees will be sent to Venezuela.

US Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters in March that the Department of Justice would consider accepting in the US the 17 Uighur detainees who have been cleared for release. The European Union has urged member nations to accept former Guantánamo prisoners, but EU leaders have requested complete background information on each prisoner they would receive before making a decision to accept them. Spain, Ireland, and Portugal have already expressed their willingness to host detainees. Other EU members, including Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, have expressed strong reservations to doing so. (Jurist, April 2)

We assume the Uighur detainees are not those Chávez was referring to. Accepting them would not play well with Hugo’s pals in Beijing, who are demanding extradition of the Uighurs.

See our last posts on Venezuela and the detainment scandal.

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