SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Miss Universe's blog posting about
having fun at Guantanamo Bay has vanished from the pageant's Web
site as embarrassed officials try to quash what they call a
A flurry of critical commentary and news stories over the
Venezuelan beauty queen's lighthearted post underscores that the
military prison at Guantanamo remains a damaging symbol for the
Dayana Mendoza's now-deleted late-March posting sounded like a
note home from a spring breaker.
"We hung out with the guys from the East Coast and they showed
us the boat inside and out, how they work and what they do, we took
a ride around the land and it was a loooot of fun!" Mendoza wrote.
"The water in Guantanamo Bay is soooo beautiful!" she wrote at
Those descriptions did not refer to the detention center for
alleged terrorists, which occupies a sliver of the 45-square-mile
In a brief mention of the detainee camp, Mendoza said her group
"saw the jails, where they shower, how they recreate themselves
with movies, classes of art, books." She described the prison only
as "very interesting."
In place of her posting Wednesday was a statement from Paula M.
Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, who said
Mendoza and Miss USA Crystle Stewart had gone to Guantanamo on a
USO tour to boost the morale of U.S. troops.
Shugart said Mendoza, in her post about having a fun trip, was
referring to "the hospitality she received while meeting the
members of the U.S. military and their families."
Still, the affair angered some Venezuelans, who said Mendoza had
harmed their country's image by speaking positively about
Guantanamo, where 240 men remain locked up by the U.S.
The beauty queens weren't the first celebrities to go to the
isolated U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba. Country rocker Charlie
Daniels was there in 2002, singing "The devil went down to Gitmo,
he was looking for some Taliban" in front of cheering soldiers.
The Victoria's Secret models visited in December 2007, and
participated in a Christmas parade. Portland rockers Everclear were
there in 2008 and Art Alexakis, the band's leader, said "we had a
Mendoza was crowned Miss Universe last year at a pageant in Nha
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