Gitmo Renovation Costs Top $500 million

By Daphne Eviatar, Senior Associate, Law and Security

The Washington Post this morning has done us the favor of obtaining and publishing a comprehensive list of the item-by-item costs of construction and renovation of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. Adding up to at least $500 million, the Post notes that the U.S. government spent $188,000 to spruce up the navy base’s welcome signs; paid $249,000 to fix up a volleyball court; laid out $296,000 for an an unused Go-Kart track for troops; and spent another $3.5 million on 27 playgrounds that often stand vacant.The local ice cream and Starbucks cafe cost another $683,000 to build, and the base’s KFC/Taco Bell, housed in an unprepossessing cinder-block building that was almost completely empty when I stopped by there in April, cost another $773,000 to remodel.

For a glimpse at the base and inside that unimpressive Taco Bell, check out the Gitmo video diary I made after my trip there in the Spring.

It’s worth noting that in addition to the more than $500 million construction costs, the government recently acknowledged that it costs $150 million a year to operate the Guantanamo detention camp. That’s double the cost of operating a prison on U.S. soil, the Post notes.

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Published on June 7, 2010

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