As Gitmo Hunger Strike Grows, So Does "Desperate Situation"

May 10, 2013

Col. Bruce Vargo, the joint detention group commander at Guantanamo Bay, gives a tour of a detainee holding cell to Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - January 13, 2008
Credit Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley / U.S. Navy

More and more detainees are participating in the third month of a hunger strike to protest their treatment at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Suzette Grillot says the hunger strike started over raids in cell blocks and the improper and inappropriate handling of the Qur’an, but the issue has evolved to “When are we going to get out of here?”

Rebecca Cruise says another goal of the detainees is to simply draw attention back to the situation that’s fallen off the front pages in the decade since the camp opened.

“Much of America has forgotten that we have this detention area about 90 miles off our coast with these 160 or so prisoners,” Cruise says.

Grillot says as long as the prison remains open, and Congress and the public don’t want detainees transferred to U.S. prisons, the administration remains stuck in a “desperate situation.”

“The facility itself has declined substantially,” Grillot says. “[The detainees] see no light at the end of the tunnel. And people don’t care about this issue. They consider them terrorists, and they don’t care.”