Guantánamo as a site whose legal contortions and human rights abuses have global reach and urgency has long been the focus of the many scholars, lawyers, and activists who have fought to keep its detention centers in the public eye. And yet, alongside advocates who have insisted on the site’s urgent moral ties to the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the international community broadly defined—and in defiance of both a US war on “terror” and a Cuban war on “imperialism”—there have persisted smaller-scale gestures aimed at situating the Guantánamo naval base as geographically continuous with, and affectively connected to, Cuba. This article reads the poetry of Mohammed el Gharani and Ibrahim al-Rubaish, former detainees included in Marc Falkoff’s collection Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak, and of José Ramón Sánchez, longtime resident of the Cuban city of Guantánamo, as a form of regional literature produced on contested ground. It proposes that, when read across the dividing line and between languages, poetry presents a more intimate and locally specific Guantánamo than the widely known version.

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