This year's Miss Colombia beauty pageant was manipulated by its director who had an obvious preference for winner, Valle del Cauca representative Catalina Robayo, says a former Miss.
Last year's beauty queen from the Valle del Cauca department, Diana Salgado, told newspaper El Heraldo that several of the Misses competing in the pageant felt that Miss Colombia director Raimundo Angulo's preference for Miss Valle was obvious.
"Again it was demonstrated that Miss Colombia was manipulated. For the candidates – I talked to several of them – it was very clear that Raimundo had a preference for Catalina. The people do not forget all he has done so she would stay in the race. This paved the way and helped her advance to the others. It's absurd," Salgado told newspaper El Heraldo.
"When I heard the verdict I could not believe it, just like many. To me they stole the title from Magdalena, who was the one who deserved it," she added.
Robayo denies her victory was a set-up. In an interview with the press the day after her victory she stressed she fought for the title.
"I started from scratch ... I find it offensive that many think that the pageant was so kind to invite me to stay ... I wasn't given this crown, I fought for it," Robayo said.
"Although this crown seemed it was meant for Huila or Magdalena, because all media said they were most favorite, I did not let my guard down. I did not feel discouraged at any time; on the contrary, it gave me the strength to keep going. One of my greatest strengths is my calm and that helped me," said the new Miss Colombia.
Last year, the beauty pageant was criticized after dismissing the candidate from Valle for being too fat. The candidate appealed the decision at a court, which ruled that the beauty queen had to be reinstated.