San José, Dec 2 (EFE) – The coronation of 23-year-old Nicaraguan Sheynnis Palacios as the first Central American Miss Universe on November 18 was accompanied by joy, euphoria and tears, but also by exile, arrests, accusations of conspiracy, treason, and a power struggle for Miss Nicaragua’s franchise.
A few weeks ago, when it was announced that Miss Universe 2023 was Sheynnis Palacios, Nicaraguans erupted in joy and took to the streets to celebrate euphorically, despite the country’s ban on demonstrations since 2018.
The streets of Managua and other cities were filled with people shouting, dancing, honking their cars and motorcycles, and carrying the blue and white Nicaraguan flag that became a symbol of opposition to the government of Daniel Ortega during the demonstrations that broke out five years ago.
From national celebration to prohibition
Amid the celebrations that night, Managua Mayor Reyna Rueda and Vice Mayor Enrique Armas visited Palacio’s family with bouquets in the red and black colors of the official Sandinista party to congratulate them.
The next day, the government issued an official statement – not signed by Ortega or his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo – saying that they “joined in the just joy of Sheynnis, her family and our people, and in the celebration of Central America” for the Nicaraguan’s triumph as Miss Universe 2023.
The statement also emphasized that “Nicaragua celebrates with its queen!”
However, on the 22nd, three days later, Vice President Murillo denounced people who, in her opinion, were “glorifying the most beautiful woman on the planet” for political reasons, because, in her opinion, “they wanted to turn a beautiful and well-deserved moment of pride and celebration into a destructive coup”.
In response, authorities banned two artists from painting a mural in honor of the newly crowned Miss Universe.
On November 24, the director of Miss Nicaragua, Karen Celebertti, was banned from entering the country as she returned with her daughter from Mexico, where she accompanied the brand-new Miss Universe on a promotional tour.
Celebertti had been briefly detained in March 2019, along with dozens of critics and opponents of the Ortega government, as part of the country’s socio-political crisis, when she called for the release of political prisoners in Managua.
Additionally, after Palacios traveled to New York (USA), where she will live for a year to fulfill her commitments with the pageant, her luggage and belongings were confiscated by the Nicaraguan authorities.
The police, reported on Thursday that they handed over the suitcases containing Palacios’ personal belongings to her grandmother, although they did not explain why they were detained and her luggage searched.
Conspiracy and treason charges
A day later, the police charged Celebertti, her husband, Martín Argüello, and their son, Bernardo, with conspiracy and treason.
“The detainees and fugitives must serve the sentences established by Nicaraguan law,” said the police, confirming the arrest of the relatives of the director of Miss Nicaragua.
The statement also called them “traitors and stateless persons” and allegedly accused them of committing the crimes of conspiracy to disturb the peace and incitement to hatred, violence, terrorism, organized crime, provocation, apology and inducement to commit crimes through information and communication technologies and the dissemination of fake news, treason and money laundering since 2018.
Power struggle over Miss Nicaragua
In the midst of the exile of the director of Miss Nicaragua and the arrest of her husband and son, the local press recalled that a daughter-in-law of Ortega and Murillo, Xiomara Blandino, criticized Celebertti’s management of the Miss Universe pageant.