Miss Nicaragua wins Miss Universe crown

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By LatAm Reports Editor

In a historic win at the Miss Universe pageant, Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua claimed the prestigious title on a glittering Saturday night in El Salvador. This marked the first time a contestant from Nicaragua has captured the crown in the event’s history. At 23 years of age, Palacios, has openly expressed her commitment to championing mental health issues, drawing from her personal struggles with anxiety.

The competition saw strong contenders with Anntonia Porsild from Thailand securing the first runner-up position, followed by Australia’s Moraya Wilson as the second runner-up. A total of 84 participants from across the globe graced the 72nd edition of the Miss Universe competition.

Palacios impressed the judges and audience alike during a pivotal moment in the contest when asked which historical woman’s life she would choose to experience for a year. She confidently chose Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century English writer and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, reflecting her own aspirations to bridge gender wage disparities and empower women in all sectors.

This year’s pageant was notably hosted in El Salvador, a country that last held the event in 1975. The occasion was used by President Nayib Bukele to highlight the positive transformations under his administration, particularly in enhancing national security. Bukele, amidst his controversial bid for reelection despite constitutional term limits, praised the event as a testament to El Salvador’s progress and global standing.

However, Bukele’s administration has not been without criticism. His government has been accused of undermining democratic checks and balances and violating human rights. Since declaring a state of emergency in March 2022 in response to increased gang violence, over 72,000 arrests have been made, often bypassing due process, raising concerns internationally about the continued enforcement of these special powers.