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  • Uruguay President Says Gitmo Detainees Are Basically Vegetables

    During the last run-in with the former Guantanamo detainees President Jose Mujica invited to Uruguay, he told the media the men were weak and unused to hard work.

    Now, Mujica is saying that the men have been “turned halfway into vegetables,” and probably won’t be able to learn Spanish or otherwise integrate into productive society.

    For Mujica, the former detainees simply “lack the inner strength, the will to move on with their lives,” Reuters reports. Uruguay accepted the detainees in December of last year, and so far, they’ve been nothing but trouble.

    Learning Spanish at a residential facility isn’t going well, and neither is their study of Uruguayan culture. Instead of working, the former prisoners have conducted media tours to pressure neighboring Argentina to accept other detainees from Gitmo, all the while asking for generous amounts of welfare. (RELATED: Former Gitmo Detainee Conducts Media Tour In Argentina, Tells Government To Accept Detainees)

    The detainees have refused to work, claiming that they have no means to support themselves. That claim was soon put to rest when local unions told the media that they had offered the men numerous positions, only to be repeatedly turned down. (RELATED: Former Gitmo Detainees In Uruguay Whine About Having To Work)

    Mujica hasn’t been receptive to their demands, though he was originally sympathetic to their plight because, as a former Marxist guerilla, he himself had been tossed in prison during a military dictatorship in Uruguay. What separates Mujica from other world leaders, however, is his straight talk. He rides around in an old, creaky VW Beetle, and instead of spending his salary on a new vehicle, he prefers to give most of it to charity.

    “These people are destroyed,” Mujica stated bluntly on Wednesday. “They could be here for two years and they won’t understand a goddamn thing.”

    The government is in the process of issuing five of the six men passports, so that they can leave Uruguay if they’re unhappy.

    But at least one Uruguayan legislator has defended the former prisoners. According to Sen. Ope Pasquet, “The Guantanamo six were jailed for more than 10 years in dreadful conditions. The psychological damage must be terrible. Making them work now? Premature.”

    One international organization has reportedly stepped up to provide funds to the Uruguayan government for continued welfare and other benefits. Media outlet La verdad oculta in Argentina suspects that it’s the United Nations Program for Refugees.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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