Director of the Miss Nicaragua pageant accused of organizing a plot to “hit the beauty queen”: police

Nicaraguan police said Friday they want to arrest the director of the Miss Nicaragua pageant, accusing her of intentionally rigging pageants so that anti-government beauty queens would win the pageants as part of a plot to overthrow the government.

The charges against pageant director Karen Celebertti would not be out of place in a classic James Bond film with a repressive and closed government, accusations of coup plotting, foreign agents and beauty queens.

It all started on November 18, when Miss Nicaragua, Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua, won the Miss Universe pageant.

President Daniel Ortega’s government briefly thought it had achieved a rare public relations victory, calling its victory a moment of “legitimate joy and pride.”

But the tone quickly soured the day after the victory when it emerged that Palacios had posted photos of herself on Facebook participating in one of the massive anti-government protests in 2018.

The protests were violently repressed and human rights officials say government forces killed 355 people.

The charges against pageant director Karen Celebertti would not be out of place in a classic James Bond film with a repressive nature. karencelebertti/Instagram

Ortega claimed that the protests were a foreign-backed coup attempt, aimed at overthrowing him. His opponents said Nicaraguans were protesting his increasingly repressive government and his seemingly endless need to cling to power.

A statement from the National Police stated that Celebertti “actively participated, on the Internet and in the streets, in the terrorist actions of a failed coup,” in apparent reference to the 2018 protests.

Celebertti apparently slipped through the fingers of the police after he was reportedly denied permission to enter the country a few days ago.

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But some local media reported that her son and husband had been detained.

Newly crowned Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua waves after winning the 72nd Miss Universe pageant on November 18, 2023. AFP via Getty Images

Celebertti, her husband and son face charges of “treason.” They have not spoken publicly about the charges against them.

Celebertti “remained in contact with the traitors, and offered to use the franchises, platforms and spaces supposedly used to promote ‘innocent’ beauty pageants, in an orchestrated conspiracy to turn the pageants into political traps and ambushes financed by foreign agents,” according to the statement.

It didn’t help that many ordinary Nicaraguans, who are largely prohibited from protesting or carrying the national flag in marches, used Miss Universe’s victory as a rare opportunity to celebrate in the streets.

Celebertti “remained in contact with the traitors, and offered to use the franchises, platforms and spaces supposedly used to promote ‘innocent’ beauty pageants, in an orchestrated conspiracy to turn the pageants into political traps and ambushes financed by foreign agents.” karencelebertti/ instagram

His use of the blue and white national flag, as opposed to Ortega’s red and black Sandinista flag, further angered the government, who claimed that the conspirators would “take to the streets again in December, in a repeat of the worst chapter of the history”. of vileness.”

Just five days after Palacio’s victory, Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo lashed out at opposition social media sites (many fleeing exile) that celebrated Palacios’ victory as an opposition victory.

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“In these days of a new victory, we are seeing evil terrorist commentators making a clumsy and insulting attempt to turn what should be a beautiful and well-deserved moment of pride into a destructive coup,” Murillo said.

The Ortega government confiscated and closed the Jesuit University of Central America in Nicaragua, which was a center of 2018 protests against the Ortega regime, along with at least 26 other Nicaraguan universities.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo salute during a parade marking the 202nd anniversary of the signing of the Central American Independence Act on September 14, 2023. Presidency of Nicaragua/AFP via Getty Images

The government also banned or closed more than 3,000 civic groups and non-governmental organizations, arrested and expelled opponents, stripped them of their citizenship, and confiscated their assets.

Thousands of people have fled into exile.

Palacios, who became the first Nicaraguan to win Miss Universe, has not commented on the matter.

During the pageant, Palacios, 23, said she wants to work to promote mental health after suffering debilitating anxiety attacks herself. She also said that she wants to work to close the gender pay gap.

But the tone quickly soured the day after the victory when it emerged that Palacios had posted photos of herself on Facebook participating in one of the massive anti-government protests in 2018.

But on a Facebook account in her name that has since been deleted, Palacios posted photos of herself at a protest, writing that she had initially been afraid to participate. “I didn’t know whether to go, I was afraid of what might happen.”

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Some of those who attended the march that day remember seeing the tall, striking Palacios there.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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