Culture

Check Out Venezuela’s Tumultuous And Profound History Through Photos

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While the world is still recovering from the shock of seeing the iconic Notre Dame burn, it’s more important than ever for us to appreciate the artifacts we have access to that show the trials and tribulations of history. Where Venezuela is concerned, there are plenty of things that showcase its tumultuous and amazing history. And so, we’ve found a collection of beautiful, thought-provoking, and politically stark pictures from Venezuelan history for you to peruse.

1. Pre-Colombian Venezuela

Flickr / British Library

Venezuela before Christopher Colombus’ arrival had an estimated population of one million, and hosted a combination of societies: the Kalina, Auaké, Caquetio, Mariche, and Timoto-Cuicas. The Timoto-Cuicas boasted a particularly complex culture, and were known for constructing pre-planned villages and irrigated fields.

2. Discovery by the Spanish

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Christopher Columbus arrived in Venezuela in 1498, effectively naming the country “Little Venice” because the local Indians had built houses over water by using stilts. Columbus’ arrival marked the start of a period of slavery in the region, where the Spanish exploited the locals and gouged the region of pearls.

3. Simon Bolivar

Instagram / @hechoscriollosoficial

Seeing an opportunity in Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory over Spain, Simon Bolivar took advantage of the Spanish instability and launched a revolution that lead to independence for Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia. By 1824, Bolivar was not only the ruler of the new “Grand Colombia”, but also Peru’s liberator. Don’t be fooled, though – no matter his track record for leading successful revolutions, this guy was a dictator.

4. Venezuelan Independence

Instagram / @rafaelcalderaoficial

By 1930, Venezuela had fully seceded from Grand Colombia … and ended up with a series of military dictators for rulers. The first of these was General José Antonio Páez. 

5. Martin Tovar y Tovar

Instagram / @lahistoria200

Born in 1827, Martin Tovar y Tovar is one of the most prominent painters from 19th century Venezuela. He ended up participating in Venezuela’s first ever art exhibition in Exposición Anual de Bellas Artes, and was a favorite of the Venezuelan President at the time, Antonio Guzmán Blanco.

6. Alejandro Chataing

Instagram / @micaracasantigua

This guy made a name for himself creating iconic Venezuelan architecture, designing the Arch of the Federation built in El Calvario, and Villa Zoila in 1904. One of his last works was the Miramar Hotel, in Macuto.

7. Jesús Rafael Soto

Instagram / @bijutsutecho_com

Even though Jesús Rafael Soto made his name as both a sculptor and painter in Venezuela, his artistic career began when he was hired to paint cinema posters as a young boy. Not only did he create interactive works, he also was the director of Escuela de Artes Plasticas, Maracaibo between 1947 and 1950.

8. A Coup or Two

Instagram / @eluniversal

1945 saw the establishment of a civilian government, after decades of military rule. This didn’t last for long, however, because in 1948 Venezuela’s first democratically elected leader, President Romulo Gallegos, was overthrown by the military. This was a little unsurprising, given that Venezuela had been living for decades under military dictatorships, and had seen president after president replaced by force.

9. Maritza Sayalero

Instagram / @joseluisbricenorvzla

Boasting the title as the first Venezuelan Miss Universe winner in 1979, Maritza Sayalero inspired the beauty pageant scene in Venezuela to really pick up its pace. The Miss Venezuela pageant is now one of the most competitive beauty contests in the world. 

10. Democratic Rule

Instagram / @jadsotillo

Once again, Venezuela saw a military coup. This time, however, a civilian won the democratic election, and leftist Romulo Betancourt became the President of Venezuela. He oversaw the 1963 elections, and the first democratic transition between civilian presidents for Venezuela.

11. Puntofijismo

Instagram / @masoneriauniversal

Raúl Leoni became President of Venezuela in 1964, at the start of this period. Basically, elections were limited to competition between two major parties, a practice otherwise known as puntofijismo.

12. Carolina Herrera

Instagram / @carolinaherrera

An entrepreneur and fashion designer, Carolina Herrera has been named as one of the world’s best-dressed women. In fact, she was responsible for dressing people the likes of Renee Zellweger and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Beyond her fashion and bridal collection, Herrera has also released 10 fragrances, and been awarded the Gold Medal from the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute (1997), the Award for Excellence from The International Center in New York, and the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts of Spain. You know, just to name a few achievements.

13. Oscar D’León

Instagram / @oscardleon

Recognised by his moniker, El Sonero del Mundo, Oscar D’Leon was the first Latin American to be contracted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). While his career saw him in quite a few different bands, his most well-known salsa music includes, “Deja Que Te Quiera”, “Préstame Tu Piel” and “Esperando Por Ella”.

14. Luis Aparicio

Instagram / @baseballalmanac

Venezuela is no stranger to baseball. In fact, at this stage, it’s had 219 players compete at the Major League level in the US. Luis Aparicio is one celebrated Venezuelan baseball player, having played on teams such as the Chicago White Sox, the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. And, Aparicio commanded some serious bragging rights – he had been a 13-time All Star player, and won the Gold Glove Award nine times.

15. Humberto Fernández-Morán Villalobos

Instagram / @humbertofernandezmoran

Humberto Fernández-Morán Villalobos is a research scientist known for his invention of the diamond knife/scalpel for ultrathin microtomy and the ultra microtome. Basically, he did some great work with cells and tissue.

16. Hugo Chavez

Instagram / @karlmarx8n

Hugo Chavez started his career in politics from a very controversial standing – a failed coup in 1992 saw him imprisoned for a few years. In 1994, he was forgiven by Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera. Which was just as well for him, considering that Chavez ended up successfully running for president in 1998. Chavez didn’t end up leaving his position until 2013, when he died after a severe bout of cancer. 

17. A Venezuela-Russia Partnership

Twitter / @Ruptly

2006 was the year Venezuela signed a 3 billion dollar arms deal with Russia, and two years later the two countries signed an agreement over oil and gas. This saw Venezuela shift away from its efforts to cultivate a strong relationship with the US. In fact, Russia ended up doing joint military exercises with Venezuela – the first time the Russian navy was in the Americas since the Cold War. These events saw the beginning of a partnership that continues to this day.

18. Nicolás Maduro

Instagram / @nicolasmaduro

2013 saw the election of Venezuela’s current President, Nicolás Maduro.

19. Mercosur

Instagram / @sediceenlaweb

In 2012, after vying for a position in the trading bloc for years, Venezuela was finally accepted into Mercosur. At this stage, Mercosur is basically a political and trade agreement Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela – and some would say an indicator of Venezuela’s up-and-coming economy.

20. Gustavo Cisneros

Instagram / @adrianacisnerosceo

A Venezuelan-Dominican media tycoon, this is one guy to watch out for. According to Forbes Magazine in 2014, he is one of the world’s most richest men. His company, The Cisneros Group of Companies, owns Venevision International, a producer and distributer of Spanish-language telenovelas. It also owns Venevisión, a Venezuelan television network, the Leoned del Caracas baseball team, and the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant. The New York Times has said that he’s also “one of Latin America’s most powerful figures”.

And so now you’re one bueno Venezuelan history buff! What surprised you in our short tour of Venezuelan history? Share it with us on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

A Bay Area Family Admits They Have A Secret Room To Hide Their Parents In Case ICE Breaks Into Their Home, Reminding Many Of The Holocaust

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A Bay Area Family Admits They Have A Secret Room To Hide Their Parents In Case ICE Breaks Into Their Home, Reminding Many Of The Holocaust

icegov / Instagram

The president made a show last week of ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids last weekend. None were reported but the continued fearmongering used against the undocumented community for political gain is impacting families across the country. One family in San Francisco admitted to ABC 7 San Francisco that they created an elaborate plan to hide their parents if ICE breaks the law and forces themselves into the home.

The continuous threat of immigration raids has prompted immigrants across the nation to take action and protect themselves.

Credit: @abc7newsbayarea / Twitter

The president of the United States continues to call for immigration raids nationwide, leaving families and communities an edge. The political war waged from the White House on the immigrant communities is taking a toll on families wishing to live in peace.

In response to the raids ordered last weekend, ABC7 news interviewed a mixed-status family about how they planned to deal with the raids. They admitted that it is something they are constantly concerned about and a year ago they planned a way to avoid having their family ripped apart.

“This weekend was very scary. I don’t want to lose my parents,” a young woman told the reporter while standing next to her mother.

The ABC 7 reporter asked the family if they have a plan and they admitted that they do have a plan. Not only do they know their rights and acknowledge that they do not answer the door if there is a knock they were not expecting. The family has a plan if ICE breaks the law and forces themselves into the home, something we have seen happen to multiple families in the past.

“So, we always say that if we do have people knock at the door, to not answer, to pretend like we’re not even home,” the young woman said. “If there is, like, a forced entry, we also have a hiding spot for our parents.”

It might seem extreme, but immigration advocates are ringing the alarm about just how the ICE agency works.

Credit: @TheTinaVasquez Twitter

ICE has been terrorizing immigrant families for years. There have been several examples of immigration authorities breaking down doors to arrest undocumented people despite the laws restricting them from such actions.

The historical comparisons made by politicians and activists is startling for many Americans.

Credit: @hondanhon / Twitter

The camps along the southern border of the U.S. have been compared to concentration camps by many Americans. Jewish activists have drawn this comparison as well as calling on the end of such conditions. However, some politicians are fighting to change the semantics around the camps detaining migrants in inhumane conditions. For some, they fear being connected to a party allowing these concentration camps to reemerge in 2019.

Watch the video of a family admitting their desperate plan to stay together.

READ: What You Need To Know About Elizabeth Warren And Her Newly Unveiled Immigration Plan

It Hasn’t Always Been A Crime To Cross The US-Mexico Border, So When Did Things Change?

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It Hasn’t Always Been A Crime To Cross The US-Mexico Border, So When Did Things Change?

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Let’s start from the beginning. While immigration has been an issue on everyone’s lips over the past while after the Trump administration started enforcing a zero tolerance policy against border crossings, a new way of thinking about the issue was introduced during the Democratic debates.

Presidential hopeful Julián Castro suggested that border crossings should be decriminalized. Because if border crossings aren’t a criminal offense, then people can’t be charged for crossing the border illegally, right? Well, in short, yes. But the issue concerning what’s officially known as “Section 1325” is more complicated than what it initially seems, on the surface.

Decriminalization does not mean a free-for-all across the border.

Credit: megaballs / Instagram

As much as the Trump administration would likely characterize the proposed policy as a stab at open borders, that’s not the case. The reality is that crossing the border at the moment is treated as a criminal offense, meaning that those without the appropriate documentation are automatically detained indefinitely: they are treated as a criminal.

However, decriminalizing border crossings would instead ensure that those who do attempt to cross the border are not slapped with charges of a criminal offense.

Instead, border crossings without appropriate documentation would be treated as a civil offense. In the same way that people aren’t considered a criminal for accruing a speeding fine, people crossing the border also wouldn’t be automatically treated as a criminal. This proposed approach is also more consistent with the US’ role as a signatory for the United Nation’s 1951 Refugee Convention. That is, that it’s not illegal for people to cross international borders and request asylum from another country.

Decriminalization would mean considering a new model for regulating the traffic of people across the border.

Credit: lacabrona92 / Instagram

Granted, the US still has to consider its security interests when processing requests for asylum. However, the current state of things has seen exponential overcrowding and related issues in detention centers near the border, with no indication as to whether people are seeing their requests for asylum considered at all.

Beyond the human rights problems this presents, there is also a legal quandary that must be considered in the US judicial system. Currently, the appropriate punishments for migrating across the border include both detainment and deportation – which, let’s face it, cannot be fulfilled at the same time. 

This turns into an argument around semantics: should someone be deported if they haven’t served their time in a detention center? And should someone stay in a detention center when they really should have been deported long beforehand, to prevent them from accessing the US at all? Castro’s proposal is not just about alleviating the stress being placed on US resources by detaining considerable numbers of immigrants, nor is it only about correcting human rights atrocities. It’s also about considering how immigrants are treated by the legal system.

It’s actually possible that decriminalization could reduce the number of illegal immigrants who stay indefinitely in the US.

Credit: fairplanet_ / Twitter

And yes, that’s including those who have been detained. Instead, if an immigrant was caught crossing the border without papers, they would be detained only for a brief amount of time. Once it is determined by authorities that the immigrant doesn’t raise any red flags, they would be released into the US, complete with a case management system to check in on them. The immigrant would then have to attend an immigration hearing, which would determine their status. Should it be found that the immigrant did not qualify for asylum, they then would accordingly be deported.

The positive of such a proposal is that family separation would be a thing of the past. Because border crossings wouldn’t involve criminal prosecution, there would be no reason to detain, and thus separate, families. Children would not be psychologically scarred for life simply because their parents sought a better future for them.

In fact, the US has had a longer history of decriminalized borders than criminalized ones.

Credit: the_second_revolution / Instagram

It’s worth noting that this idea of decriminalized borders isn’t really a new one. It wasn’t until 1929 that the US passed a bill that considered border crossings as a criminal misdemeanor, which meant that people could be prosecuted for entering the US without the proper authorization.

Most immigration laws before this point were focused on keeping out alcohol, gun traffickers and Asian immigrants. But, it was a white supremacist senator, Coleman Livingston Blease, who suggested fees and testing at the US-Mexico border – or, Section 1325 of Title 8 in the US Code. Are we surprised? In retrospect, no, no we are not. 

To be honest, even with this relatively short history of the criminalized border crossings, most presidents paid immigration little attention, as doing so would result in forever prosecuting misdemeanor illegal entry cases. Generally speaking, those caught crossing the border were simply informally returned.

Granted, there were some exceptions to this attitude. For example, The Great Depression saw Mexicans demonized for taking much-needed work, and deportations spiked around that time. However, it wasn’t really until the Bush administration that more decisive, ongoing action was taken on immigration. This gradual escalation in enforcing immigration policies led us to the catastrophe we’re seeing today at the borders, under the Trump administration.

So, how can you look forward to a future of decriminalized border crossings?

Credit: mashupamerican / Instagram

Voting for 2020 presidential candidates who favor decriminalized border crossings are your best bet, if you’re keen on seeing the law changed. It’s worth listening to each candidate’s stance on immigration. For instance, aside from Castro, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren has also endorsed repealing Section 1325. On the other hand, Beto O’Rourke rejected the idea from the outset, proposing his own set of aggressive immigration plans. The key is to listen to the policy proposals – not just smooth platitudes.

While voting strategically is probably one of the most effective ways to see decriminalized border crossings, you do have other ways of continuing the conversation. Sharing articles on social media, like this one, can educate people and start worthwhile discussions around the issue. Writing, and even meeting with, your local political representatives can increase their own awareness of constituent interests. After all, it’s their job to represent you! Getting involved with activist groups that promote immigrant rights is another way that you can promote and work towards the decriminalization of border crossings.

Anyway, we’ll leave you with this: the wildest fact is that, from 1980 to 2010, the Border Patrol budget was increased 16 times. This was despite the reality that the number of attempted undocumented entries did not rise during this time. Considering the mounting numbers of detainees at the border, it stands to reason that immigration is yet another issue reduced to sound bites and narrative twisting from those politicians seeking to Make America Great Again – despite human welfare being at stake. While we can discuss all we like about when and how border crossings have been treated by the criminal system, the important thing to focus on is how we value human lives.

READ: Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

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