"Granted, returning the base to Cuba may not be politically realistic. So here’s a fallback alternative: turn the base into a research center for tropical diseases.
This was proposed in a medical journal, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a year ago, and it makes more sense now than ever
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are still more than half-a-million cases annually of dengue fever (which causes excruciating pain and sometimes death), nearly 50,000 new cases of leprosy and more than 700,000 cases of elephantiasis (which causes grotesque deformities). In addition, 50 million Latin Americans have hookworms inside them, often causing anemia and making it more difficult for children to concentrate in school.
Peter Hotez, the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute at George Washington University and the editor of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, says that an international center on Guantánamo could become a symbol of United States cooperation in the region.Imagine if people around the world came to think of Guantánamo as a place where America led a battle against hookworms and leprosy. That would help us fight terrorism far more effectively than the prison at Guantánamo ever did.."
Hat tip to Chris Schelleng for pointing this out. The original PLoS NTD article by Peter Hotez is here.