Upcoming Events

Still A Beast At Bay: Thirty Years of Resisting the United States’ Suspension of Universal Human Rights at Guantanamo Bay

April 24, 2024 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
James Chapel, Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Can perpetrators of human rights violations be advocates and agents for human rights?

Since 2002, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, the United States has maintained Guantanamo Bay as a site of torture and brutality – holding detainees indefinitely and without trials. Prisoners held at Guantanamo have languished within its prison cells for years without due process, while civil rights organizations worldwide have condemned the United States Government for the civil rights violations and inhumane treatment of Guantanamo’s detainees.

Join us for a discussion called “Still a Beast at Bay: Thirty Years of Resisting the United States’ Suspension of Universal Human Rights at Guantanamo Bay.” Hosted by Dr. Samuel Cruz and featuring keynote speaker Don E. Walicek.

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Don E. Walicek is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of English and the Graduate Program in Linguistics. His main academic interests are in the areas of cultural studies, language contact, sociohistorical linguistics, and translation theory. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, as well as a Visiting Scholar at New York University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Bamberg, among other institutions. His publications include chapters and articles on linguistic and cultural contact and decolonization, focusing on places such as Anguilla, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. In addition, he is a published poet. He is co-editor of the book Guantánamo and American Empire: The Humanities Respond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and the Sargasso volume Guantánamo: What’s Next? He has completed public humanities projects built on partnerships with the Anguilla Library Service, Casa de la Historia (Guantánamo City, Cuba), and the Center of Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz (Austria). Walicek serves as Editor of the Caribbean Studies journal Sargasso, and he is co-founder of the Camps conferences, a series of academic conferences dedicated to the study of the various types of camps that have been constructed at Guantánamo Bay and their relationship to camps elsewhere in the world.



Mohamedou O. Slahi (Houbeini) is a writer, human rights advocate, and former Guantánamo Bay prisoner. Originally from Mauritania and trained as an engineer, he was detained at the U.S. government’s Guantánamo Bay naval base without charge for fourteen years. Slahi wrote a memoir during his incarceration. An international bestseller and the first memoir to be published during the author’s detention at Guantánamo Bay, it was published with hundreds of redactions in January 2015 as Guantánamo Diary. A restored edition was published in 2017, following his release. The memoir was used as the basis for “The Mauritanian,” a 2021 film. His friendship with Steve Wood, his former guard, is chronicled in the documentary “My Brother’s Keeper.” In 2021, his novel The Actual True Story of Ahmed & Zarga was published by Ohio University Press in its Modern African Writers series. He is currently writer-in-residence at Noord Nederlands Toneel, a Dutch theatre company.


Reverend Dr. Juan A. Carmona, D.Min. is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. He was born and raised in New York City by his Puerto Rican family. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Comparative Religions from the State University of New York, a Masters of Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Liberation Theology from the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He is a retired prison chaplain with the New York State Department Correctional Services and has taught at various institutions of higher education, including having served as a Visiting Scholar at the Tainan Theological College & Seminary in Taiwan. Dr. Carmona is the author of two books: “The Puerto Rican Diaspora: A Model Theology,” and “The Sovereignty of Taiwan: A Theological Perspective.” He is married to Ruth Ayala-Carmona and has three children, Dr. Geoffrey Antonio Carmona-Baez, Jennica Carmona-Arandia, and Jessica Carmona-Baez.


Rev. Samuel Cruz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Religion and Society at Union Theological Seminary. He completed his Ph.D. at Drew University (Madison, NJ) in 2002 under the directorship of internationally renowned Philosopher and Sociologist of Religion, Dr. Otto Maduro. Dr. Cruz also received his M.Phil. degree from Drew University in 1999 and M.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Cruz is a 1987 graduate of the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y.. Prior to Union, Cruz was a lecturer in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department at Rutgers University. He has also been a professor at Drew University and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.