How many of you had “beauty pageant contestant at center of allegations to overthrow an authoritarian government” on your 2024 bingo card? We sure didn’t.
But if you did, looks like you can mark your square thanks to Nicaraguan Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios. Palacios was the first from her country to win the competition last month, but focus quickly turned to her life outside of the pageant world.
According to the Telegraph, she was quickly scrutinized for photos of her at “mass anti-government protests in 2018”. And now, the director of the country’s national beauty pageant has been charged with putting together a “foreign-backed plot” due to Palacios’ pro-democracy stance.
Pageant director Karen Celebertti now finds herself wanted by police on conspiracy charges, the report says. She’s facing charges of allegedly rigging the competition to ensure that anti-government contestants won.
Five years ago, over 300 individuals lost their lives when state forces suppressed demonstrations that lasted three months, targeting President Ortega’s regime. Public demonstrations were then prohibited by the authorities, but, following Ms. Palacios’s victory in November, numerous people chose to disregard the ban and openly celebrate in the streets.
“In these days of a new victory, we are seeing the evil, terrorist commentators making a clumsy and insulting attempt to turn what should be a beautiful and well-deserved moment of pride into destructive coup-mongering,” Ortega’s wife commented.
Celebertti hasn’t been let back into the country and is said to be in Mexico. Her husband and son have been detained on conspiracy charges that date back 5 years, The Telegraph writes.
Police accused her of using “spaces supposedly dedicated to promoting ‘innocent’ beauty pageants, in a conspiracy orchestrated to convert the contests into traps and political ambushes financed by foreign agents”.
Celebertti, her husband, and son have not publicly addressed the accusations. Palacios was not mentioned in the police report.
Meanwhile, if you’re in New York, keep your eyes peeled: Palacios has moved to the state to tend to her “Miss Universe duties” (whatever that means) and has stayed quiet about the issue.
Tue, 12/05/2023 – 21:45