Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios wins Miss Universe crown
Miss Palacios, a 23-year-old communicologist, wins Miss Universe, aims to promote mental health and close the gender salary gap. President Bukele praised El Salvador.
Miss Palacios, a 23-year-old communicologist, expressed her desire to work towards promoting mental health after experiencing debilitating anxiety. The Miss Universe competition saw 84 women vying for the crown, with Miss Thailand and Miss Australia securing the first and second runner-up positions, respectively. Miss Palacios impressed the judges with her answer to a question about which woman's shoes she would like to spend a year in, choosing Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century English writer and feminist pioneer.
The event, held in El Salvador, provided President Nayib Bukele with an opportunity to showcase the country's progress under his administration, particularly in terms of safety. Despite facing international criticism for his handling of human rights and constitutional term limits, Mr. Bukele remains popular for his crackdown on gang violence. However, concerns have been raised over the erosion of checks and balances on his power, as well as the arrest of over 72,000 people without due process following a state of emergency declared in response to gang violence.
The Miss Universe pageant, last held in El Salvador in 1975, allowed the country to demonstrate its capabilities on a global stage, with Mr. Bukele thanking participants for being a part of El Salvador's rebirth. The event marked a significant moment for the country, showcasing its progress while also raising questions about its political landscape and human rights record.