Less than five miles from the Guantanamo Bay military camp, where inmates are allegedly abused and tortured, is a gift shop that sells themed T-shirts, beer koozies, and mugs that say: "Straight Outta GTMO."
Welcome to southwestern Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an island that's home to a US naval base and notorious high-security detention camp. The gift store and military prison are about 4.5 miles away from each other.
Surrounding the gift shop — which is operated by the US Navy Exchange — are a number of familiar outlets, like Subway and McDonald's.
The base is home to about 6,000 people, which includes members of the US Navy, the 40 prisoners in the detention camp, and the 1,800 troops and contractors that operate it.
But the people who live on the base have a fairly normal, almost suburban life. "Nobody likes talking about the prison. Illegal detention operations are the big elephant in the room," Mirk told Business Insider.
When Mirk visited the base earlier this year, the local library was hosting an Escape Room — "not ironically," she noted.
Here's what the entrance of Guantanamo Bay's Navy Exchange looked like in 2012. The souvenir shop is one part of the complex.
The items on sale at the shop range from touristy to downright bizarre. First, here's a shelf of mugs with photos of the bay.
Some other mugs have the flags of the US, Cuba, and Jamaica on them — likely representing the countries whose citizens live on the base.
This mug also references the base as GTMO — the US military's code name for Guantanamo Bay — playing on the 1988 NWA album "Straight Outta Compton."
You can also find this graphic on various colors and styles of caps.
Elsewhere in the shop, you can also find branded Frisbee-style discs ...
... and even beer koozies.
Even though Mirk said most of the base's residents try not to bring up the detention camp, it looks like the shop doesn't mind mentioning it. This T-shirt with the words "JTF [Joint Task Force] GTMO Detention Operations" emblazoned on a graphic of barbed wire and security guards.
You can also buy hoodies with that wording and graphic in different colors.
Less serious T-shirt options are also available. Here's a shirt depicting a shocked-looking minion — from the "Despicable Me" movie franchise — with the words "Guantanamo Bay" on its chin.
The shop also sells caps and T-shirts of Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears with the words "Dad" and Mom" on them, with — of course — "Guantanamo Bay" underneath.
Kids can also go home with a stuffed, Guantanamo Bay-branded stuff vulture...
... or this branded, stuffed lizard-like creature. "The image the items in the gift shop presents is that Guantanamo is a 'fun in the sun, place full of exotic animals and beaches," Mirk said.
"That's the image the United States government wants to maintain, too," Mirk added. "That the prison is 'safe, humane, and legal,' and the prisoners aren't having such a bad time on this tropical island."