Miss Belize wins 3rd at Miss Mesoamerica International Pageant

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 35            September 25, 2003

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A winner every time, Miss Belize 2003-2004, Miss Leilah Pandy, received yet another title this month as she was named 3rd runner-up in the Mesoamerica International Beauty Pageant.

    Held recently in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Pageants Belize proudly released this welcome news late last week. In addition, Miss Belize earned the title Miss Academic for receiving the highest score on a test that covered: history, geography, mathematics, grammar, spelling and expression. In recognition of this achievement, she received a trophy and a sash.

    CarnaVe, a world-class celebration of Latin music and culture, honored the beautiful women competing in the pageant. Contestants were awarded points for their evening gown, swimsuit, costume and response during the question and answer segment.

    Excitement mounted as Miss Belize was named one of seven semi-finalists and, following the next round of competition, one of four finalists in the pageant.

    In the end, it was Miss Venezuela, Goizeder Azua, who was crowned Miss Mesoamerica International 2003. Miss Peru, Claudia Ortiz de Zevallos, was named first runner-up, and Miss Mexico, Erika Honstein Garcia, second runner-up in the pageant.

    The Miss Mesoamerica Pageant was created in 1992 by Francisco Cortez to honor the Maya culture. The inaugural pageant, situated on the steps of the Maya ruins of Tazumal, welcomed seven Central American nations: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    In 1993, the pageant was renamed Miss Mesoamerica International and opened its doors to contestants from throughout the Spanish-speaking world. In 1998 and 1999, the pageant was cancelled due to Hurricane Mitch, a storm that devastated many parts of Central America. The pageant continued the following year with the participation of 29 countries.

    In 2001, despite another hurricane, the pageant proved more successful than ever, eliciting worldwide media coverage. Reflecting the increasing global scope of the pageant, contestants included women from such far-away nations as Estonia, South Africa, and the Philippines.

    Competing for the 2003 Miss Mesoamerica International crown were representatives from: Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Belize, Spain, the Dominican Republic and the United States of America.

    September is certainly Belize's month for celebrations. Pageants Belize and all Belizeans congratulate Miss Belize 2003-2004, Leilah Pandy, for "A job well done!" representing our country in this prestigious international pageant.

    Best wishes from all to Miss Belize/Miss Costa Maya 2003/2004, Miss Leilah Pandy! Viva Belice!

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