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Miss Universe Against the Witch: Nicaragua in Full Turmoil

The latest Miss Universe, Sheynnis Palacios, is very poorly regarded by the First Lady of her country, Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, who is reputed to be despotic

The recent victory of Sheynnis Palacios at Miss Universe 2023 has propelled the Nicaraguan to the rank of an unexpected symbol of resistance against President Daniel Ortega and his media-savvy and judged despotic wife Rosario Murillo. Photos from 2018 show the Miss waving the national flag during deadly anti-government protests, highlighting her political commitment.

Vice President Rosario Murillo, married to Ortega for decades, harshly criticizes the political appropriation of this victory. Describing the reactions as "crude exploitation" and "terrorist communication", she rejects the idea that this moment of national pride could be transformed into an instrument of protest.

Palacios’ family home in Managua has become a place of popular celebration. However, the government only acknowledged her victory after a wave of public parties, sparking accusations of opportunism from opposition media.

Palacios’ victory comes in a context where the ruling party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), has tightened its grip on Nicaragua. The FSLN now controls all the country’s municipalities, after an election marked by the absence of credible opposition and allegations of fraud. The Ortega-Murillo couple has locked down power, pushing foreign NGOs and intellectual figures to leave the country.

This situation has led to increased international isolation, while the regime continues to tighten its grip on the country. Amid this political repression, Palacios’ triumph and her position as a symbol of hope and resistance appear as a ray of light for many Nicaraguans, aspiring to a freer and more democratic future. Who is still against beauty pageants?