Things That Matter

Babies Are Being Born In Boxes Because No Money, But The Miss Venezuela Pageant Must Go On

The economically crippled country of Venezuela has been making headlines for the horrific, and sometimes apocalyptic, scenes devastating the people. Yet, somehow, Venezuela was able to scrape together enough cash to hold their 2016 Miss Venezuela beauty pageant. Twitter was alive with photos mocking the opening outfits and ignoring the plight of Venezuelans. Here are the things we should really be focusing on when it comes to Venezuela. Spoiler: It’s not the pageant.

These were the #MissVenezuela outfits that made the world pay attention to Venezuela.


Floral, flowing and totally full of great puns and jokes a la Kim Kardashian’s infamous couch dress.

And, of course, people went right for the jokes and mocked the outfits.


But, tbh, this is really not the part of Venezuela that the world should be focusing on. The country is falling apart economically and the victims are numerous. People and animals are suffering, yet the world only noticed the Miss Venezuela opening outfits.

1. Government oil workers are so strapped for cash, they are left selling their uniforms to get food.


According to Business Insider, workers of the government-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), have had to resort to selling their uniforms, boots and gloves at markets to make enough money just to survive. Jobs at PDVSA have long been regarded as a very good job in Venezuela, but severe inflation has left the “above average” salaries feeling like nothing.

“Most of us aren’t as productive as we used to be, because we’re more focused on how to survive economically,” a PVDSA maintenance worker anonymously told Business Insider.

2. Medicine is becoming so rare that a scraped knee could lead to death.


NBC News reports that medical care in Venezuela is reaching a tipping point that is leaving Venezuelans scrambling for help. Since 2014, the number of hospital beds available for sick Venezuelans has plummeted by 40 percent. To make matters more dire, one-third of patients admitted to hospitals died last year.

“I really don’t know of any other country where things have deteriorated so quickly, to such an incredible extent,” Rafael Perez-Escamilla, a Yale University School of Public Health professor, told NBC News. “Venezuela’s health system was a model for Latin America. Now you are seeing an implosion where people cannot get basic care.”

3. Pets are being abandoned by families who can no longer care for them and some are left to fend for themselves on the streets.


A report by CNN shed light on the impact of Venezuela’s economic recession is having on the most innocent of victims: the family pet. According to activists interviewed by CNN, there has been a 50 percent spike in the number of abandoned pets. Dog food has become an unattainable luxury with a 3-lb bag of dog food costing anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000 USD (15,000 to 20,000 bolivares).

4. The collapse of the healthcare system is leaving the mentally ill without help.


Medication used to stop infections are not the only medicine that is going missing in the South American country. As Venezuela slips deeper and deeper into their economic recession, antipsychotic medicine is running out. This is leaving countless Venezuelans dealing with mental illness without the medication they need to keep their ailments at bay. According to The New York Times, thousands of mental patients are being released from wards and hospitals because they can no longer treat them.

Images from the mental hospitals in Venezuela are heartbreaking. They show emaciated patients crawling naked on the floors as medication and food quickly ran out.

5. Children are literally passing out in class because they are starving.


The Telegraph has reported that nearly 50 percent of Venezuelan children are not getting three meals a day. The lack of food and exploding inflation has left parents with the tough choice of either feeding their children or sending them to school. As a result, the number of students attending class has been falling fast.

“In June, practically half [of my students] were not attending school because the families had to choose between spending money on transport or food,” Juan Maragall, who works with hundreds of public schools in the state of Miranda, told The Telegraph.

6. The government is cracking down on people who are buying “too much food.”


The Washington Post has reported that people are being arrested for trying to buy food. Since the recession, the government has implemented punishments and “laws” that did not exist in the past. Mainly, the government is taking part in what is being termed “Dracula’s Bus.” “Dracula’s Bus” is the practice by the Venezuelan national guard where people who are waiting overnight for super markets to open are arrested because they were waiting for food overnight. It isn’t just standing outside of a store after hours that will get you arrested for a food related incident. You can also be arrested if you are suspected of hoarding or reselling goods.

7. Newborns are being held in cardboard boxes after their birth.


Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, a coalition of organizations that are against the Nicolás Maduro government, released photos of newborn babies in a government-run hospital being held in cardboard boxes. The photos are reportedly taken from Domingo Guzmán Lander Hospital in Barcelona, Venezuela. Some Venezuelan government officials took to Twitter to dismiss the claims that newborns are being held in cardboard boxes and have even released photos of a hospital nursery you would expect.

8. Kidnappings in Venezuela have doubled since 2015.


According to Insight Crime, there were 219 kidnappings in 2015 with nine deaths and 208 people safely rescued. So far in 2016, the number of kidnappings in Venezuela has spiked to 411 with 375 successful rescues and 18 deaths. Runrun.es is the organization that obtained the documents to show the increase in kidnappings, with Miranda being the hardest hit.

9. Venezuelan activists trying to show the world what is happening in their country are being jailed.


According to Fusion, three activists were arrested for creating a powerful political video pointing out the disparity of Venezuelan soldiers repressing protestors. The video shows a young woman text her father that her mother is ill and needs medicine. She then opens the refrigerator and lets him know that she is going to wait in the line for food. As she emerges from the house, she texts him again to let him know that the people he is being told to repress are dealing with the same troubles and problems that they are dealing with.


READ: This Venezuelan Woman’s Desperate Pleas For Help Will Break Your Heart

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The US, Colombia Deny Any Involvement In What Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro Calls Failed Invasion

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The US, Colombia Deny Any Involvement In What Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro Calls Failed Invasion

nicolasmaduro / Instagram

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused both the U.S. and Colombian governments of trying to stage an invasion. President Maduro accused made the accusations towards the beginning of May when two Americans were arrested with a group of other people.

Both the U.S. and Colombia have denied any report of an attempted coup on Venezuela.

On May 3, a group of Venezuelan rebels and two Americans allegedly began a coup attempt in Venezuela. They began on the northern tip of the country and reportedly had plans to take control of Maracaibo and Caracas. They were all immediately captured and 8 Venezuelans in the group were killed during the conflict.

According to the Daily Mail, Jordan Goudreau, 43, was involved with the coup and told a close friend about it. It is alleged that Goudreau bragged about having a contract with the U.S. government to protect oil interests in Venezuela.

The mercenaries behind the attempted coup claim to have done security for a President Trump rally in 2018.

Goudreau, who has been described as the mastermind of the coup attempt, owns the security company Silvercorp. An old Instagram post shows the Florida-based company running security for a Trump rally back in 2018. The company has since deleted the Instagram posts after news broke about their failed attempt to train Venezuelan rebels and capture the South American country.

“He came out to Colorado,” Drew White, Goudreau’s former business partner told Daily Mail. “He said he had a deal from the State Department to protect oil interests in Venezuela. He was saying it was handed to him directly. He was saying it was directed and passed down by the State Department, that it was a legitimate operation and they also had some private funding backing, which isn’t unusual with these kinds of things. Essentially he was like, ‘We’re going to topple Maduro.’ At that point I was like, ‘This doesn’t seem legitimate” and we broke ways.”

Goudreau claims that the Trump administration and Venezuelan resistance leader Juan Guaidó green-lit the operation.

The U.S. and Venezuela have had a contentious relationship over the past few years. The political unrest in Venezuela has continued to draw criticism from the international community as Venezuelans have protested for a new leader. When the relationship with Trump soured, Maduro began to claim that the U.S. was attempting to overthrow the government.

Both the U.S. and Colombian governments have denied any involvement in the alleged coup.

Reports state that the group of men attempting to topple the Venezuelan government did nothing to hide their plan. The security group was tweeting their plans to the open-world alerting anyone with a Twitter account to their plans. SilverCorp USA has since deleted their Twitter account. Experts and officials have decisively denied any collaboration between the mercenaries and the two governments.

“There is no way that I can see any kind of U.S. involvement,” Fernando Cutz, who served as a Latin America adviser on the National Security Council under both Obama and Trump, told the Huffington Post. “There were no logistics, the numbers were a joke, they clearly didn’t have any intel. A group of high schoolers would have done a better job.”

Social media has spent time dragging the security company over its failed coup attempt.

There is still a lot of speculation swirling around the “coup.” However, Goudreau’s friend is pretty sure that the missions was not as official as Goudreau claims.

“He’s a good man,” White told Daily Mail. “He was the best man at my wedding. We have a lot of history together and it never seemed like he was lying like that. But once you started looking at it, none of it really added up. He kept asking to meet with people for funding. But typically with a State Department contract, the funding is shored up. You might have some private entities helping here and there. But it was pretty obvious that it was not a state-sanctioned activity.”

READ: Venezuela’s President Maduro And Opposition Leader Guaidó Are Allegedly In Secret Talks And The World Wants To Know The Details

Venezuela’s President Maduro And Opposition Leader Guaidó Are Allegedly In Secret Talks And The World Wants To Know The Details

Things That Matter

Venezuela’s President Maduro And Opposition Leader Guaidó Are Allegedly In Secret Talks And The World Wants To Know The Details

Vítor Garetol / Getty

Despite a global pandemic – or maybe because of it – Venezuela’s two governments are holding high-level talks, according to several sources – as reported by Reuters.

The breaking development comes as the U.S. ratchets up pressure on the Venezuela and a growing number of countries now recognize the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

The two sides are discussing everything from the Coronavirus pandemic to fuel shortages and hyperinflation.

Credit: Venezuelan Presidency / Getty

According to a report by Reuters, the two sides have come together to discuss a variety of issues despite a growing bitterness between the two leaders.

Obviously, Venezuela faces ongoing crises but the global health pandemic has heightened fears within the country of all out chaos. The country is barely equipped to handle normal, everyday health emergencies let alone a global pandemic.

The U.S. and its international allies have also tightened the already unprecented sanctions on the country and has issued an arrest warrant for Maduro. Many within the government, according to sources, say this has motivated them to seek political survival under a possible change of government.

Other than the Coronavirus and ongoing domestic economic issues, the talks are said to have no clear agenda.

Credit: Felipe Escobedo / Getty

It’s not entirely certain what either side is hoping to achieve with these talks. “There are two extremes: Maduro and those who believe that the virus will end Guaido’s leadership, and those on the other side (who) hope this crisis will bring down Maduro,” said an opposition legislator in favor of the discussions.

Maduro and Guaidó are competing with one another to help combat the effects of the pandemic, with each side convinced the outbreak will undermine the other politically. But it remains to be seen which side will come out ahead given the vacuum of leadership and the growing crisis everyday Venezuelans face.

Activists and rights groups around the world have urged the two factions to seek a truce in order to coordinate the delivery of aid and boost gasoline imports.

Meanwhile, the United States has put ‘maximum pressure’ on the Maduro regime to try and force a change of government.

The US state department in March offered to begin lifting parts of the sanctions if members of the Socialist party formed an interim government without Maduro, a plan backed by Guaidó but quickly shot down by the government.

The U.S. has also issued an international arrest warrant for Maduro – accusing him of drug trafficking and money laundering. This allegedly has members of his government looking for an exit strategy.

Venezuela has so far escaped the worst effects of the Coronavirus.

Venezuela is particularly vulnerable to the wider effects of the pandemic because of its ongoing socioeconomic and political crisis causing massive shortages of food staples and basic necessities, including medical supplies. The mass emigration of Venezuelan doctors has also caused chronic staff shortages in hospitals.

So far, the country has seen just 311 confirmed cases and 10 deaths related to the virus – but these numbers are suspected to be unreliable because of a lack of testing in the country.

Maduro has reacted to the pandemic by reversing his opposition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and asking for $5 billion in international aid to help his government combat the virus. The county has also suspended all international flights and borders between Venezuela and Colombia and Brazil have been closed since mid-March.