Nicaragua’s President, Daniel Ortega, and Vice President, Rosario Murillo, have recently declared their official withdrawal from the Organization of American States (OAS). This decision has been met with criticism from the US State Department, who view it as a step away from democracy.
The OAS is a regional body that has been consistently critical of human rights violations occurring under President Ortega’s administration. This includes allegations of crackdowns on opposition groups, the closure of universities, and the outlawing of civic organizations and NGOs.
President Ortega and Vice President Murillo have rejected these criticisms and have initiated the two-year process to formally leave the OAS, set to be completed in November 2021. Their decision to withdraw from the regional organization raises concerns about Nicaragua’s commitment to international standards of democracy and human rights.
In a separate development, Nicaraguan police are currently seeking the arrest of Karen Celebertti, the director of the Miss Nicaragua pageant. She is accused of rigging contests in favor of anti-government beauty queens, part of an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
The charges against Celebertti come after Sheynnis Palacios, who won the Miss Nicaragua pageant and became the first Nicaraguan to win the Miss Universe title, posted photos of herself participating in anti-government protests in 2018. These protests were met with violent repression from government forces.
The National Police have accused Celebertti of participating in “the terrorist actions of a failed coup” and claim that she was in contact with traitors and foreign agents. While Celebertti’s husband and son have reportedly been taken into custody, she remains at large after being denied permission to re-enter the country.
The situation in Nicaragua highlights the increasing tensions between the government and its critics. With Ortega’s administration cracking down on opposition groups and now targeting individuals associated with the beauty pageant industry, concerns are growing about the state of democracy and human rights in the country.
So far, Palacios, the Miss Nicaragua titleholder, has not commented on the situation. Her silence raises questions about the potential impact of this controversy on the reputation of the pageant and its involvement in political affairs.
As Nicaragua moves forward with its withdrawal from the OAS and the arrest warrants against Celebertti, both domestic and international observers are closely monitoring the situation. The country’s commitment to democratic principles and respect for human rights hangs in the balance, attracting significant attention from those concerned about Nicaragua’s future.