12/12/2012 10:43 am ET

Miss Universe 2012: Meet The Most Beautiful Latinas Of The World (PHOTOS)

Miss Universe 2012 - Contestants

Latinas' beauty has been celebrated by many and awarded over the years by international organizations such as Miss Universe, where contestants must excel physically and orally in performance and projection.

For decades, Venezuela and Puerto Rico have maintained a strong rivalry, since their contestants have been the only ones to win the competition at least once each decade over the past 40 years.

The South American country is ahead, boasting six crowns, while the Caribbean island has earned at least five victories. And in 2009, Venezuelans set a world record when they became the first to crown two queens consecutively.

Furthermore, in the past 20 years, Latinas have won more than half of the top positions provided by the organization, including the most recent winners: Mexican Ximena Navarrete (2010), Venezuelans Stefania Fernandez (2009) and Dayana Mendoza (2008), and Puerto Rican Zuleyka Rivera (2006).

This December 19, the annual beauty contest will take place in Las Vegas. The event will be televised at 8 pm on NBC, and current Miss Universe Leila Lopes will say farewell to the title and crown the contestant who will be considered the most beautiful woman in the universe (at least until the following year).

Above we bring you the competitors from each country in swimsuits. So start making a list of your own Top 10. Will a Latina win this year? It’s time to choose!



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