Nuevo Culture

Miss Nicaragua Pageant Director Banned from Entering Home Country – Here’s Why

Nicaragua has reportedly banned Miss Nicaragua Director, Karen Celebertti, from returning to the country. The news was first reported by Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, with others reporting that her family’s home has been subsequently raided

Celebertti, a Miss Nicaragua finalist in 1991, who has served as the franchise director in Nicaragua since 2001, was part of the delegation that traveled to El Salvador alongside Sheynnis Palacios. Palacios was subsequently elected Miss Universe. Celebertti was traveling home alongside her daughter when she was detained and subsequently returned to Mexico. 

Mexico will host the next Miss Universe, so the delegation traveled there after El Salvador.

Celebertti has been critical of President Daniel Ortega’s government. She was briefly detained in 2019 for demanding the release of political prisoners in Managua. And despite the fact that the government did not release an official statement on this current banning from the country, activists and news organizations are reporting that it stems from Miss Nicaragua’s win as a “symbol of opposition to the Ortega government.”

Palacios’ crowning seemed like a win for Nicaragua initially, but the mood turned sour for the government after it was revealed that Palacios graduated from the Jesuit University of Central America –  a hub for 2018 protests against the Ortega regime. The Ortega government seized and closed the university this year.

The new Miss Universe has yet to make any political statement, but celebrations of her win in her home country were jubilant enough that people took to the streets. In a country where protests are forbidden, that’s big. Celebrations also included the Nicaraguan flag, instead of Ortegas’s red-and-black Sandinista banner. This is being seen as a sign of hope for those who oppose Ortega.

Rosario Murillo, Vice President of Nicaragua and wife of Ortega, who has served as President of Nicaragua since 2007, allegedly spoke about Palacios a few days after the Miss Universe win, and said that people are looking to “turn a beautiful and well-deserved moment of pride and celebration into a destructive coup.”

Last week, authorities in Managua allegedly also banned two muralists from painting a mural in Managua in honor of Palacios.

Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios is the first beauty queen from Nicaragua to win Miss Universe.