By Carol Rosenberg
Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — With the prison camps now in their 13th year, the U.S. military is willing to allow some war-on-terror captives to have family visits — if the International Red Cross can find a Caribbean country to host the prisoners’ relatives between day trips to this remote U.S. Navy base.
It is not yet known which captives would be allowed to meet wives, children or other relatives at this base. Of the 155 detainees, federal review boards have approved 77 for release, with security arrangements.
A key obstacle to the visits is the U.S. Southern Command’s insistence that family members would be forbidden from sleeping at this 45-square-mile outpost of more than 5,000 residents with hotels, a tent city and suburban-style neighborhoods.
So such visits would require the International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.S. government reaching agreement with a third country in the region as the base of an air bridge for captives’ relatives on day trips to family reunions.
At SOUTHCOM, the commander, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, “is in favor of doing that,” said his spokesman Army Col. Greg Julian. “We don’t want to put them up overnight; it would be just a day’s visit.”
Any negotiations would be handled by the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defense and the State Department, he said. Kelly has oversight of the running of the prison camps.