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11 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 187 (1998)
How We Closed the Guantanamo HIV Camp: The Intersection of Politics and Litigation

handle is hein.journals/hhrj11 and id is 193 raw text is: How We Closed the
Guantanamo HIV Camp:
The Intersection of Politics and Litigation
Michael Ratner*
Fortunately, there's an alternative model to relations with the
Clinton White House: the legal and grass-roots campaign to
free Haitian refugees at Guantanamo. As soon as Clinton's
betrayal was evident, their advocates organized demonstra-
tions, petitions and media blitzes on campuses and in com-
munities around the country. The result: When U.S. District
Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. ordered President Clinton to do
what candidate Clinton had promised, the administration was
left with little alternative but to abandon any appeal.1
For over a year and a half, from 1991 to 1993, the United States
government ran a special detention camp, Camp Bulkely, at its Naval
Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In one sense, the camp represented
just another episode in the sad global epic of the denial of refugee
rights that fills our century. But the Guantanamo camp was unique;
its 310 Haitian men, women, and children were prisoners in the
world's first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV.2
As co-counsel,3 I was part of the struggle to free the Haitians and
shut down the Guantanamo HIV camp. Our litigation was successful.
* J.D., Columbia Law School, 1970. Michael Ratner is an international human rights attorney
who works with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He was one of the
lawyers for the Haitians detained at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At the time
of the litigation described in this Article, he and Professor Harold Koh were co-teaching the
Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School. The litigation arose out of work with the
clinic. The author wishes to thank Harold Koh, a tenacious and brilliant litigator, as well as Sara
Miles, Lisa Daugaard, Michael Wishnie, and William Broberg for their helpful comments on this
1. No More Nice Guy, 1992 NATON MAG. 891, 892.
2. Harold H. Koh, No Vacancy in the Land of Liberty, CONN. L. TfuB., Aug 2, 1993, at 22.
3. Co-counsel included Harold Koh, a professor at Yale Law School and Director of the Schell
Center for International Human Rights; Joseph Tringali, a partner at Simpson, Thacher &
Bartlett; Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU's Immigrants Rights project; and Robert Rubin

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