The Venezuelan beauty pageant was temporarily canceled due to corruption scandals
Leer en español: Miss Venezuela: La fea corrupción eclipsa a la belleza
Venezuela is experiencing a deep crisis in every aspect; the economic disaster has left much of the population mired in poverty and food insecurity. However, there are still elements that seem to be typical of stable societies, as it is the case of beauty contests. Miss Venezuela was still standing, at least until now, because it has been canceled due to a corruption scandal that extends to the suspicion of being part of a prostitution network.
Beauty contests enjoy less and less popularity, the feminist struggle has sought to reclaim the role of women in society beyond being an "object" appreciated for its beauty, which is also based only on a strict canon, leaving the vast majority of women outside that range. Each year, when the national competitions or the international Miss Universe are held, the criticisms fall on the organizers, as well as on the participants and the spectators for promoting stereotypes.
Although various competitions have tried to change this perception by giving greater emphasis to the professional activities of the participants, they have not managed to remove the negative image they have. Some critics argue that presenting women as objects leads to their continued exploitation in prostitution networks, and recent scandals related to Miss Venezuela seem to ratify these theories. Not even the United States has escaped the accusations, Donald Trump himself was part of Miss Universe and has been repeatedly singled out for his reprehensible treatment of women.
This week, Miss Venezuela's promoter Cisneros Media Group, announced in a brief statement the suspension of the contest in order to carry out an internal investigation. The contestants themselves have made mutual accusations of being "companions" of political figures and businessmen in Venezuela, which has been interpreted as prostitution in view of the retributions that the contestants obtain by relating to these characters: houses and luxury cars, trips, designer clothes, jewelry, etc; which has generated public opinion criticisms.
In addition to the suspicion of the prostitution network, several ex-contestants are accused of being part of corruption networks involved in looting of companies such as Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Ex-contestants such as Zoraya Villarreal and Claudia Suárez Fernández have been linked to officials of the oil company and were identified as facilitators of the looting, being part of fraudulent foundations and banking triangulations.
Osmel Sousa, leader of Miss Venezuela, had retired a few weeks ago because of the scandal; however, his departure did not stop the accusations, but it had the opposite effect and more cases were uncovered, especially when Annarella Bono, who was close to the Chavista circle, made public several cases of ex-colleagues that were part of the corruption network. Miss Venezuela is looking for a way out of the problem by trying to obtain the endorsement of the public opinion using its internal investigation to give some type of answer to the Venezuelans. The scandals of corruption and prostitution, added to the general crisis of the beauty contests, have the event on the brink of disaster, which will require enormous guarantees and conditions so that it can come afloat again. The commotion that this situation has generated in Venezuela could also lead to the unveiling of other cases in the contests of the region and eventually lead to a change in the direction of these events.
Latin American Post | Luis Liborio
Translated from "Miss Venezuela: La fea corrupción eclipsa a la belleza"