By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, March 31 — Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, is back home from the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and she says she “had a wonderful time” visiting several days with the soldiers as part of the U.S.O. Armed Forces Entertainment Tour.
Occupied territories and prison camps must be a lot of fun when you don’t have to meet the people whose land was taken or the inmates who have faced years of abuse and mistreatment.
One of the highlights according to Dayana’s blog http://www.missuniverse.com/missuniverse/blog.php was the military dogs who gave her “a very nice demonstration of their skills.” Something tells me her visit with the cute dogs was a little different than the canine-human encounters inside the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, established in 2002.
However, don’t get me wrong, Mendoza who traveled with Miss USA Crystle Stewart, did get a glimpse of the prisoner conditions: “We visited the detainee camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting,” said Mendoza.
After Miss Universe got a big welcoming lunch it was off to “one of the bars they have here on the base.” There, Dayana and Crystle heard first hand from the soldiers about life on Gitmo.
“We had a wonderful time, this truly was a memorable trip! We hung out with the guys from the East Coast [of the base] and they showed us the boat inside and out, how they work and what they do… it was a loooot of fun!”
One of the highlights for Miss Universe was: “We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they informed us with a little bit of history.” She didn’t elaborate on the content of the lessons.
The US military has held Guantanamo Bay since 1903 on what Cuba considers a totally illegitimate perpetual lease.
“I didn’t want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful,” said Mendoza who grew up in Venezuela but has lived in the US as a model for several years.
Miss Universe did not express any interest in visiting the part of Cuba governed by the Cubans. Perhaps because that part of the Caribbean island nation doesn’t participate in the contest that made her famous, or could it be that Cuba and Dayana are not really in the same universe?