World

Uruguay: national controversy flares over new lives of Guantanamo refugees

  • In this frame grab taken from Barricada TV, former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab, one of the Syrian refugees recently released from Guantanamo and now living in Uruguay speaks during an interview, in Buenos Aires Argentina, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Barricada TV)

    In this frame grab taken from Barricada TV, former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab, one of the Syrian refugees recently released from Guantanamo and now living in Uruguay speaks during an interview, in Buenos Aires Argentina, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Barricada TV)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 photo, former Guantanamo prisoners, from left, Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi from Tunisia, Ali Husain Shaaban from Syria, Abedlhadi Omar Faraj from Syria, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri from Syria, and Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan interact with journalists standing under the balcony of the home where they're living in Montevideo, Uruguay. Controversy is flaring in Uruguay over the six Guantanamo detainees taken in for resettlement in the South American country. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 photo, former Guantanamo prisoners, from left, Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi from Tunisia, Ali Husain Shaaban from Syria, Abedlhadi Omar Faraj from Syria, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri from Syria, and Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan interact with journalists standing under the balcony of the home where they're living in Montevideo, Uruguay. Controversy is flaring in Uruguay over the six Guantanamo detainees taken in for resettlement in the South American country. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)  (The Associated Press)

Controversy is flaring in Uruguay over six Guantanamo detainees taken in for resettlement.

The men were locked up for more than a dozen years at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba before they were sent to Montevideo in December.

Uruguay's government offered them a residential facility to study Spanish, learn about Uruguayan culture and integrate to their new home.

But Syrian refugee Abu Wa'el Dhiab says the men have "walked out of a prison to enter another one." In a recent TV interview he expressed thanks to Uruguayans, but said they need a plan for helping the ex-detainees.

Meanwhile, a labor union helping the men says they've turned down job offers. President Jose Mujica recently visited them and asked them to start working.

Opposition lawmakers have criticized their resettlement.