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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Guantanamo prisoners coming to Uruguay.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 637 times Debate No: 66541
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




I'm proposing this debate as an open quest for opinions because this for me as a Brazilian citizen is something really intriguing with potential tragic consequences. One might take, especially my fellow countrymen, a point against this question besides that of the Guant"namo prison close down. Some would say I'm just a pathetic neurotic person who believes cheap conspiracy theories. Well, that is not the case. If any of you guys would take the time to make some serious research about how Brazilian politics and economics have been conducted in the last 6 years it would become almost for sure crystal clear to anyone that this country is consistently marching to become a new kind of monster in the world.

So, my concerns are that transferring prisoners captured in Pakistan, a widely acknowledged Muslim republic to not only support but protect terrorist groups, to a country like Uruguay would have some sort of reasons beyond those weak arguments posed by Obama's and Uruguayan's administrations. I'm not supposing anything but rather proposing some questions like for example why Uruguay when there's no previous records of any anti-terrorist policies nor any recent experience in the country? Why now?

The U.S. Defense Department says these are low-level detainees so why have they been kept in Guant"namo for more then 10 years? The detainees being transferred are all of Muslim culture so why take Uruguay as a destination to them? The U.S. says these men cannot go back home... Why?

The worst of my concerns is that Brazil and other countries in the region are studying offering U.S. Defense Department similar aid to find a new home to Guant"namo detainees. Moreover all the commotion around the alleged human rights questions is a strong selling point to the public opinion and also makes a great cover for what seems to really be going on.

Uruguayan president, Mr. Mujica, is well known as a great guy with all his humbleness public demonstrations but I cannot see much of his past as an urban guerrilla activist back in the 70's in the news. And he has already declared the Guant"namo detainees will receive a refugees status basically meaning they will have the right to pursue Uruguayan citizenship and be free to walk around. That makes me freeze! Uruguay may very well become the new base to Muslim extremism and terrorism in the years to come which casts a huge danger over Brazil.


Thanks for proposing this debate, and welcome to DDO, Anderson

First I think we need some clarifications about the resolution of this debate. In my understanding, the resolution my opponent is trying to negate is that Uruguay should receive Guantánamo prisoners, and therefore I will assume the position in favor of this affirmation.

As my opponent have already partly explained, six people who were held prisoner in the prison of the American naval base at the Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba were recently transferred to Uruguay in an offer from the Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica to house those prisoners who had been rejected by all American states, which caused a problem for the American government, which has vowed to close the Guantánamo prison but has failed to do it so far due to the failure to find a place to send the remaining detainees[1].

I'd like to remind my opponent that Uruguay is a sovereign nation under a democratic regime, and therefore its government must be accountable to the concerns of its own population, whom it represents, and not to the paranoias of the Brazilian right-wing. Nevertheless, these worries may be quite possibly raised by Uruguayans themselves, and therefore may be considered a valid position only as far as they are expressed from the point of view of the Uruguayan society instead of the Brazilian one.

Now, in order to understand the attitude of the Uruguayan government in relation to the Guantánamo detainees, we must evaluate the reasons that led it to make such a decision:

1) Soft Power

Uruguay is a country of merely 3 million inhabitants, if it relied in the traditional attributes of hard power, that is, military and economic power, it would never be powerful enough to have a relevant position in the world, independently of how many weapons or wealth it had - it's just too small for that. Therefore, Uruguay can only hope to gain importance in the world stage by relying in soft power, that is, the power to lead by example rather than coercion, which can only be done by building and promoting a positive image based on credibility and admiration. No contemporary world leader have been more successful in raising its nation's soft power than Pepe Mujica, an evidence of that is the fact that a Serbian film director made a documentary on his life, describing him as the "last hero of politics"[2].

In this particular case, the goal is to raise Uruguay's prestige and credibility around the world by promoting it as a nation that is willing and able to solve other's problem, even if it's a problem that the most powerful country in the world (at least in hard power) created and is unable to solve by itself, as is the problem with Guantánamo's prisoners.

2) Pepe Mujuca's history as a prisoner

One of the reasons why Pepe Mujica decided to help solving the Guantánamo prison problem may be his own past as a prisoner during Uruguay's military dictatorship, in which he was tortured and sent to solitary confinement in a hole in the ground for years, a situation that several of his friends didn't resist [3]. He probably must have become identified with the situation that the prisoners at Guantánamo, who were arrested without trials for an indefinite period. One of the men that is being received by Uruguay was submitted to force-feeding after he started a hunger strike in protest against his situation. Issues like this, which Mujica most probably also experienced or witnessed might have compelled him to take action regarding the situation in Guantánamo.

3) Human Rights issues

The main reason that turned the Guantánamo Bay prison into a controversial issue and a big problem to the American government is that it violated all the traditions of the USA regarding the respect to the rule of law and due process, and also violates the following articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Righs: [4]

V: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

VIII: "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law."

IX: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

X: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."

XI:"(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed."

Since the people detained in Guantánamo were arrested arbitrarily and no independent and impartial trials have been granted to them, there is no place in the world where they could be hold prisoners, except at Guantánamo, where the most powerful military in the world guarantees that the US government has absolute right to act as it pleases, without any regards to the law, which is quite hypocritical considering that the American constitution was one of the first documents to introduce the ideas of rule of law, due process, fair trial and rejection of cruel and unusual punishments.

By offering to receive the Guantánamo prisoners, the Uruguayan government also helps to boost its soft power by presenting itself as a country concerned with human rights issues, especially the ones related to people arrested without due process, something the president of Uruguay himself experienced. At the same time, it also conveys an underlying critic to the American government, once it shows that a small South American country may be more concerned with upholding human rights and due process than the country that introduced these ideas to the world.

These are the main arguments that support the action taken by the Uruguayan government regarding Guantánamo prisoners; I'll save the rebuttals to my opponent's arguments to the next round.


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Debate Round No. 1


anderson.carloto forfeited this round.


Unfortunately my opponent forfeited, which means he'll have to elaborate his arguments on the next and last round. I hope he'll come back to finish this debate, so I'll just skip this round and extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, joepbr, for accepting to debate.

Let's go! I apologize for having not been able to manage time to post my arguments before. But I haven't surrendered.

Well, first of all, my opponent doesn't need to remind me that Uruguay is a sovereign nation and everything it means. By the way, joepbr clearly shows some hostility alluding to what he or she maybe consider to be my political standpoint referring to (sic) "...paranoias of the Brazilian right-wing." As far as I haven't yet made any statements which could lead to that conclusion his or her harsh words could only be related to his or her own views. Despite his or her outrageous way to qualify me (as a paranoic right-wing which would never be a polite way to address anyone) I think he or she deserves an answer.

Although it may seem to some people that terrorism is a national question which could be restrained and adequately solved to local governments alone. The facts witnessed in the last 15 years tell the contrary. Terrorism does actually concern to all the people across the countries all over the world since there's no limit or boundaries to the terror. Each individual who going out the street can be a victim of a terrorist bomb blast has the right to discuss anything related to terrorism no matter where in the world the threat is. Besides, as part of a free human right to think and speak anyone is entitled to freely speak for what ones believe. And for anyone who tries to silence by moral of physical coercion the voices of dissension I think Iran would make a perfect home to live in.

Regarding my opponent's arguments I think they do not even apply to this debate. Whatever be the Mr. president Mujica's reasons to offer a way out of the problem the point here is the consequences and not the causes. I can see a lot of disturbing questions about the causes but that is not the main concern anyone should stand up against moving terrorists to a country not prepared to handle them. And when Mr. Mujica publicly says those terrorist will be free to live in society well that makes it a lot worse. So, I do not stand here for any hypothetical surreal scenario but rather against a real potential threat that will come from a vulnerable situation we are allowing to take place in south america.

Brazilian authorities instead of taking diplomatic and security measures in order to mitigate the risks of terrorist cells start to operate in its territory are volunteering to also receive Guantanamo prisoners. I cannot see any good coming from this... All of the arguments my opponent have opposed do not hold to defend such an absurd. Let us go over each of them:

1) Soft Power:

no strategy to increase the global relevance should be even considered if it compromises citizens' security;

2) Pepe Mujuca's history as a prisoner:

this is only relevant in order to attack his hypocrite speech. His counter-intuitive manners as a president ostensibly showing himself as humble man could not serve as a better way to disguise himself as an angel of light who fights for the Human Rights. Mujica's past as a Tupamaro's guerrilla member who used to plan and execute banks robbery among other tactic actions is never mentioned. A member of a Marxist urban guerrilla group which today resembles what we would call a terrorist group. That is where he really feels any compassion and empathy with the detainees from Guantanamo. But that has been kept under the rug for so long time that he now can even afford to pose as a political pop star in defense of people and democracy. So, your counterargument here doesn't hold just because Mujica's is a blatant political lie backed by his own personal history.

3) Human Rights issues:

there's an alternative way to see things when speaking of human rights. You can state that human rights shall be concerned about the prisoner's rights. The Guantanamo prisoners are claimed to be not treated properly, to have suffered torture and been kept captive without prove of their crimes and in bad conditions. I'd say that holds and Guantanamo really has to be closed as soon as possible. I never intended to dispute that claim... But on the other side we also could think about the human rights applied to those who are victims of terrorist attacks. I'm not stating that it justifies what has happened in Guantanamo. But how are we about increasing the risk of new terrorist attacks in south america or any part of the world just to fulfill the rights of a few individuals who nobody denies to be related to terrorist activities although it could not be proved?

One single terrorist carrying a bomb can kill dozens of innocent people. This is not fairy tale. It's true. This is not a fare crime combat we see in the streets between criminals and police. This is 'bloody' true war! It's naive to think about the human rights of people who clearly state their mission as to kill other people in the name of their God.

Only people like Mujica and our enlightened Dilma could really stand up for a fight in these terms in the international community. I'm just depicting Dilma's famous speech in UN recently defending to dialogue with ISIS as diplomatic way out in the current middle-east scenario.

Regarding Obama's foreign policy

Obama just wants to get rid of Guantanamo to lower down the pressure on his administration. And that is another problem I see. How bad is nowadays U.S. foreign policy. They want to fight terrorism in the middle-east but don't care about bringing terrorists to live as civilians in a country which could not stand by itself if a terrorist menace scenario emerges (what is likely to occur). It's such an ambiguity the way Obama's international policy for security matters has treated identical problems.

The geopolitics questions related to terrorism are crucial to any nation's foreign policy. Witnessing a terrorist attack with a lot of victims in homeland is the last thing any chief of State would want. Security is the main concern in people's everyday life because survival is the primary animal instinct. A society pervaded by fear would accept anything in order to keep safety. We have many examples of that in history being the Sep. 9/11's aftermath and consequences the most emblematic. Therefore, the deliberate omission by Brazilian authorities regarding this question couldn't be by a mistake. That is not the same as occurred to M. P"tain in 1940.

That foreign policies intervene and affects each other's nations questions is perfectly normal and expected. Nations acting in the best of their interests will imminently come to some sort of conflict with each other since they are competing with the powerful ones overcoming the weak ones most of the times. There is nothing wrong with that. And that is why Brazil should take some course of action about former Guantanamo prisoners set free so close to its borders.

Terrorism is globalized inasmuch as any economic activity. Terrorist forces spread around the world are now more numerous and better armed and prepared than some of the UN nations member's armies. It's a myth that countries like Brazil or Uruguay are not hot spots or potential targets for terrorism. That myth could very well be the common sense in U.S. territory until Sep, 11th 2001. That changed the way americans view things. In the last decade terrorism activity has taken the world.

I hope to have made my points clear.


1. Washington Post - Uruguay has taken in six Guantanamo prisoners. Will they stay there? - ;

2. The New York Times - Uruguay accepts 6 detainees held at Guantanamo. - ;

3. The National Interest - Jos" Mujica and Uruguay's 'Robin Hood Guerrillas' - .


Thanks for posting your argument, anderson.carloto

First I'd like to clarify that my point in my first paragraph in R1 is that this is an issue that should be approached by an Uruguayan point of view, since there is no reason to demand the Uruguayan government to be accountable to the Brazilian population. I'm sorry if I sounded offensive by alluding to my opponent's point as paranoic, but I should remind that he himself believes that his ideas can very well be considered "cheap conspiracy theories". But I do agree that it may have sounded somewhat demeaning, which wasn't my intention, so please, accept my apologies.

I believe I could summarize my opponent's arguments as follows:

The prisoners are terrorists
Wherever there are terrorists there is a threat to security
Therefore, the prisoners will be a threat to the security of Uruguay (and Brazil) if allowed to go to Uruguay.

Thus Con only has a case if he can prove that the prisoners are really terrorists and that their presence in Uruguay in itself is enough to pose a threat to both Uruguay and Brazil.

1) The prisoners are terrorists

It's quite clear that my opponent cannot prove the first premise, as he has repeatedly admitted so. He just assumes that this is an indisputable fact. This is a major fallacy, Con's entire case rests on this claim, if he can't prove it, he has no case. Now he may say that the mere fact that they were in prison is an evidence, but as I already showed, and Con agreed, those people were sent to prison without having any of their human rights respected and without any access to a fair trial where their guilt or innocence could be actually, in fact, even if they had a fair trial, the fact that they are in prison isn't on itself a proof of their guilty. Among the prisoners that did (supposedly) have access to due process in the USA, over 2000 people were exonerated as wrongfully convicted and the US Justice Department estimates that between 8% to 12% of all imprisoned people on the state level are innocent. [1]

So, if a considerable amount of innocent people are wrongfully imprisoned despite having access to due process, how can one be so sure that people arbitrarily detained are in fact guilty?
Besides we don't even know for what specific action these prisoners were accused, the only thing we know is that they were considered to have had "association with terrorist", that could very well mean that they just played on the same team as some terrorists in a casual football game. And even if they really did something that could get them in jail, it's quite possible that they did something that would have granted them equal or less prison time than the 11-12 years they spent in Guantánamo, in which case they still should have all the right to walk freely to wherever they want, including Uruguay.

Unfortunately, all these conjectures are void, since, as my opponent himself states, there is no evidence against the prisoners, in fact the only evidences here are their own testimonies, and they all claim to be innocent. One of them wrote that he was captured by the Northern Alliance troops and turned over to the Americans for a cash reward [2]. Now, isn't it possible that, with all the commotion with 9/11 still fresh in memory at the time, the Americans would be willing to pay any amount of money to their allied Afghan to bring them terrorist without having much caution to make sure that they were actual terrorist? And isn't it possible that some corrupt Afghan could turn over someone with whom he had a quarrel in exchange for that money? We may never have answers to these questions, but they still remain unrefuted possibilities

2) Terrorists are always a threat to security

Unlike my opponent claims, terrorism isn't equivalent to a globalized economic activity. Terrorism can best described as: "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal" [3]

As we can see, terrorism is merely a mean to achieve a goal so even if it was really an indisputable fact that the prisoners are dangerous terrorists, they only would pose a risk to the safety of Uruguayans or Brazilians if they did have a political goal in those countries which they'd be willing to use violence to achieve. What kind of political goals does three Syrians, one Palestinian and one Tunisian captured by Afghan troops while trying to escape to Pakistan could possibly have in Uruguay or Brazil?

Well, I believe that here is where my opponent's "cheap conspiracy theories" could come in handy for him, but unfortunately, he never really gave any satisfactory explanation, conspiratory or not, to this question in his arguments. The closest he got of doing so was by implying that Pepe Mujica may be some sort of evil conspirator only pretending to be humble and to care for human rights simply because he had been member of a guerrilla in the past, but Con still doesn't present any possible conspiracy in which Mujica could be working. Also I must notice that independently of what crime he might have committed, it's a fact that Mujica had his human rights violated in prison which makes his concerns for human rights quite legitimate.

Therefore, we can say that as far as we know, the prisoners have no particular reason to engage in terrorist activity in Uruguay (or Brazil for that matter), and, since a person can only commit acts of terrorism if they have a specific political goal, we can conclude that they don't pose a threat to either Uruguay or Brazil, and therefore, all two of my opponent's premises have been refuted,

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Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Gabe1e 2 years ago

I've just changed the title according to your suggestion. Thanks. So, now could you please come up with your two cents on that?"

I don't even know what the hell this means, but thank you?
Posted by imabench 2 years ago
First off you seem to be looking for a discussion, not a debate, this would be best addressed in the forums.

Anyways, the reason why the US is sending Guantanamo prisoners to weird places is because Obama failed to authorize the closure of Guantanamo chiefly because it couldnt be decided where to send the prisoners. Naturally no US state would want to house the most hazardous potential terrorists in the world or even house the torture of them, so many states balked at having the prisoners transferred somewhere into the US.

So, the US looked to outside nations who would be willing to hold them, and thats when they ran into their second problem. Because many nations absolutely condemn torture, many european nations like England, Germany, and France refused to house potential terrorists for the US since they believed that the US would continue to torture them for information.

Then there were other countries that are too weak or prone to attack that caused the US to not consider transferring prisoners to. (Things arent going very well in Haiti for example), so that cut down the possible places to ship prisoners also.

Looking for a nation looking to hold suspected terrorists for the United States knowing that they will likely be tortured and okay with it, yet are also stable enough to be able to adequately prevent the terrorists from being freed, Uruguay is probably one of the few countries that met all the requirements. In exchange for holding suspects, Uruguay probably reached some type of deal with the US where Uruguay would hold onto the suspects, and the US would give them money via foreign aid or something.
Posted by anderson.carloto 2 years ago

I've just changed the title according to your suggestion. Thanks. So, now could you please come up with your two cents on that?
Posted by anderson.carloto 2 years ago
That's a rethorical question in case you have not noticed... Besides, that's not the point. The debate is set up to discuss if sending Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay is or not a good way out. My thoughts here are about the possible disguised interests and hidden dangers in that. So, are you pro or con?
Posted by Gabe1e 2 years ago
You really did set up this debate wrong. You made the statement a question. If you wanted to make this debate, state something like: "Guant"namo prisoners should go to Uruguay." then make yourself Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheNamesFizzy 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF, so conduct to Pro. S&G to Pro and sources are equal.