The gift shops at Guantánamo
The only thing more American than a forever prison are forever-prison souvenirs
Recently, a photo of a souvenir mug set off a mild panic on Twitter. It was a jade-colored cup with a black handle. In calming, lowercase letters it read:
And just below, the place where it was inviting the buyer to be:
Some thought it was a prank. Others noted the poster, Carol Rosenberg, who for two decades has been the dean of the Guantánamo Bay press corps. But even before seeing who took the photo, I had no doubt it was real. That’s because I’ve been to the Guantánamo Bay gift shops. And yes, that’s gift shops, plural.
I spent a week at Guantánamo in 2017, doing research for my book, Gangsters of Capitalism. That book traces the wars that created America’s empire, and the consequences of those wars today. And no place was more formative for that empire, nor is more emblematic of its crimes today, than the naval station on Cuba’s hammerhead southeastern coast.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Racket to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.