Bukele's latest image-making project: Miss Universe Pageant 2023
The last time that organizers held a Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador, in 1975, rioting students staged demonstrations that ultimately ended in a massacre and plunged the country into a brutal civil war....
Meanwhile, San Salvador locals are protesting the national government having spent a reported $12 million in public funds to host the event in a country with rising levels of extreme poverty.The protests recall the July 1975 demonstration by a group of impoverished students who blasted the then military government of strongman Arturo Armando Molina for spending $1 million on the pageant. Less than two weeks after Miss Finland, Anne Marie Pohtamo, was crowned Miss Universe, the country’s armed forces occupied a local university and massacred more than 100 students.
When El Salvador bid successfully to host this year's “Miss Universe” contest, the Government saw the press and television coverage as an opportunity to promote this tiny Central American republic as a Pacific Coast tourist attraction.But while a worldwide television audience saw El Salvador's, sunny beaches before the “Miss Universe” finals July 19, off camera heavily armed troops were called out to halt demonstrations by students protesting the Government's expenditure of $1‐million on the contest.A week later in the western city of Santa Ana, students took to the streets to protest the banning of the “Miss Universe” demonstration, and sevferal youths were injured and arrested during clashes with the National Guard.Then on July 30 about 3,000 students demonstrating in San Salvador against repression of the two earlier marches were stopped by machine‐gun and automatic‐rifle fire from soldiers.
But how much is El Salvador spending on the pageant? The rights to host the pageant were reportedly purchased for $12 million. El Salvador’s ambassador to the United States told an interviewer that the country was spending an extra $60 million on top of buying the rights.
The costs include completely remodeling the National Gymnasium to host the spectacle, changing out the remodel of that building, just completed for the Central American and Caribbean Games in June to make it a sporting venue, into a venue where the pageant could host thousands and broadcast to a worldwide audience in air conditioned comfort.
Me parece banal y hasta grosero, esto de las candidatas con gorras de Bukele.— Alex Kravetz (@aaKravetz) November 12, 2023
Pero lo que verdaderamente ofende, es haberle agregado “BITCOIN” a nuestro
DIOS, UNION, LIBERTAD. pic.twitter.com/Q7ziMJ5NvF
JKN Global Group made the announcement in a statement to the Thai Stock Exchange two months after it missed a deadline to repay bonds worth around $12 million.
The company, owned by media mogul and transgender rights campaigner Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, bought the pageant - previously owned by former US president Donald Trump - in 2022 for $20 million.
The female body seduces, the sequin makes what it touches shine and the feathers decorate what they wear. Beauty queens, publicists and marketers know this well. Maybe that's why Nayib Bukele paid millions of dollars to fill the country with "Misses" in the middle of a pre-election year. In the face of terror and barbarism, it is normal for us to cling to beauty as an act of salvation, but when beauty is served in a show and sponsored by a politician, we must also question his intentions and pull back the curtain to see the trick....Beauty – traditionally associated with the feminine – is power. Divine grace to guide the way out of barbarism and perverse mirage to move perceptions. Buying the attention caused by more than 80 made-up and decked-out women parading and competing in feathers and sequins (or in swimsuits) is a well-known advertising strategy: using the female image as bait. Brands of all kinds do it to sell their products or decorate their businesses: air conditioners, alcoholic beverages and Donald Trump himself.
Milena Mayorga junto a Miss Guatemala y Miss Estados Unidos, y entre ellas, el ex dueño de la franquicia de Miss Universo, Donald Trump (actual presidente de Estados Unidos), 1996. pic.twitter.com/jkG4DRO1tZ— HistoriadeElSalvador (@EShistoria32) July 24, 2018