Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Miss Universe had a 'lot of fun' in Guantanamo

A "relaxing, calm, beautiful place" may not be everyone's description of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States holds about 240 prisoners in a detention centre that has drawn condemnation from around the world.
But this was the opinion of reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, who visited the US naval facility in eastern Cuba this month on a trip organised by the United Service Organisations (USO) which supports US troops.

The Guantanamo Bay base, whose presence Cuba's government has contested as illegal for years, is used by US authorities as a prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects. Critics have condemned it as a symbol of abuses in Washington's war on terrorism launched after the 11 September, 2001 attacks.

Caracas-born Mendoza, 22, who visited the facility between 20-25 March along with Miss USA Crystle Stewart, 27, enthused about her Guantanamo trip as an "incredible experience" in a blog entry posted on the Miss Universe website dated 27 March 27, 2009 (

"It was a loooot of fun!," Mendoza wrote, describing how she and Stewart met US military personnel and took rides around the camp, which is encircled by a barbed-wire fenced, minefields and watchtowers. She said they also visited a bar on the base and the "unbelievable" beach there.

"We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the(y) recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting," she wrote.

"I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful," she added.

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