(MENAFN) In a shocking turn of events, the owner of Nicaragua's Miss Universe franchise, Karen Celebertti, is now under investigation by Nicaraguan police for allegedly orchestrating a plot to rig the Miss Nicaragua pageant. Authorities claim that this conspiracy was aimed at ensuring the victory of an anti-government activist, as part of a broader scheme to overthrow the Central American country's government.
According to a statement released by the police on Friday, Celebertti, who serves as the director of the Miss Nicaragua event, is accused of manipulating the pageant results to favor a government critic who would then represent Nicaragua in the Miss Universe competition. The reigning Miss Nicaragua, Sheynnis Palacios, claimed the coveted Miss Universe title last month in the 72nd edition of the event, hosted in El Salvador.
Palacios' victory initially garnered praise from Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, who expressed that her win brought "legitimate joy and pride" to the nation. However, the celebration was short-lived as it came to light that Palacios had actively participated in mass anti-government protests in 2018. Human rights officials reported that government forces allegedly killed 355 people during these demonstrations, which Ortega's administration insisted were part of a foreign-backed attempted coup. Critics of Ortega, on the other hand, argued that the protests were a response to what they deemed autocratic governance and the president's prolonged rule since 2007.
The unfolding controversy surrounding the alleged manipulation of the Miss Nicaragua pageant has cast a shadow over the prestigious beauty competition. Questions arise about the integrity of the selection process and whether political influence played a role in determining the winner. As investigations continue, the incident not only threatens the reputation of the pageant but also raises concerns about the broader implications for freedom of expression and dissent in Nicaragua.
The Miss Nicaragua scandal adds a new dimension to the ongoing political tensions in the country, shedding light on the intersection of beauty pageants and political activism. With the eyes of the nation and the international community on this unfolding drama, the repercussions could extend beyond the realm of the beauty pageant, impacting the discourse on governance, human rights, and the delicate balance between entertainment and political expression.
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