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

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Venezuelan Politics Are In Turmoil As Maduro’s Military Blocked The Opposition From Entering Parliament

Things That Matter

Venezuelan Politics Are In Turmoil As Maduro’s Military Blocked The Opposition From Entering Parliament

Paul Rivera Gallegos / Getty

It is sometimes hard to keep up with the roller coaster that are current Venezuelan politics. Since opposition leader Juan Guaido self-proclaimed as Interim President in his capacity as head of the National Assembly, international actors have recognized him as the leader of the South American nation while on the ground political power keeps resting on the socialist government led by Nicolas Maduro. Now a new development has maintained the status quo when it seemed that Guaido would get a boost in his political influence and power and present a bigger challenge to the Maduro regime that some, including most US politicians, call a “dictatorship”. Guaido was set to be re-elected as head of Congress but he was blocked from entering the building by security forces. 

Maduro’s government snatched the National Assembly from opposition leader Juan Guaido and las cosas se pusieron color de hormiga.

The Venezuelan government has now used its security forces to stop Guaido from being re-elected as Head of Congress. As Reuters reports from Caracas: “Troops with riot shields blocked opposition leader Juan Guaido from entering parliament for what was expected to be his re-election as head of Congress, at one point pulling him off the compound’s iron railings after he tried to push past security forces”. Because Guaido could not be elected, Maduro’s party, the Socialist party, handed the post to Luis Parra, who has recently faced corruption allegations. 

However, an alternative vote was held at the headquarters of a newspaper that is favorable to the opposition, and Guaido was re-elected.

National Assembly President Juan Guaido swears himself in as President of the National Assembly with opposition lawmaker votes at the newspaper El Nacional’s headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrea Hernandez Briceño)

So now there are two de facto Heads of Congress in a country that is deeply divided in political issues and is facing economic challenges that seem insurmountable. The opposition’s tally shows that 100 out of 167 legislators voted for Guaido. 

World powers are divided over Venezuela and that is a worrying sign, the United Nations is growing increasingly worried.

As if the tension over Iran wasn’t enough to get many thinking that the world is on the verge of a major military clash, Venezuela is another hotspot of geopolitical tension. While the European Union, the United States and most Latin American countries have condemned Maduro’s forceful cling to power, Chine, Russia and Cuba remain supportive of his regime. Venezuela has rich oil reserves and sits at a key location in the Southern Hemisphere.

Things could get ugly very quickly. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Guaido on winning a second term as Head of Congress: “Venezuela’s political parties came together in a resounding display of unity to support Juan Guaido’s re-election. No regime thugs, no jail cells, and no bribery or intimidation can subvert the will of the Venezuelan people.”

But regardless, things in Caracas remain tense and opposition legislators are being stopped at checkpoints around Congress. As reported by Sputnik News, the United Nations is worried at the recent developments and has said through its spokesperson: “The Secretary-General is following with concern the events surrounding the election of the president of the National Assembly, which make urgently needed dialogue even more difficult to achieve. The Secretary-General calls on all actors to take immediate steps to lower tensions and to work towards a peaceful and sustainable solution to the political crisis”. 

The United States has condemned the move and congressmen have used harsh words.

The United States has long had an antagonistic relationship with the socialist regime in Venezuela first led by Hugo Chavez and then by Nicolas Maduro. The most recent development in the convoluted political landscape in Venezuela has been received with harsh words by US congressmen.

For example, congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade, released the following statement: “Having dismantled every other democratic institution in Venezuela, yesterday the Maduro dictatorship tried to seize the country’s last vestige of democracy, the National Assembly. Maduro’s months-long effort to bribe legislators to vote against Juan Guaidó failed, so he used force as a last resort to block assembly members from entering the chamber and re-electing Juan Guaidó as their leader.”

US politicians still recognize Juan Guaido as the Interim President.

The statement continued its condemnation of Maduro’s effort to maintain the status quo: “Yesterday’s action changed nothing; it merely revealed the Maduro dictatorship’s desperation to cling to power at any cost. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the legitimate government of Venezuela, led by Interim President Juan Guaidó, to support the Venezuelan people in their continued effort to restore democracy. The need for free, fair, and fully democratic elections in Venezuela has never been more urgent.”

Ana Gabriela Molina Has No Arms, But That Won’t Stop Her From Competing To Be ‘Miss Veracruz’

Things That Matter

Ana Gabriela Molina Has No Arms, But That Won’t Stop Her From Competing To Be ‘Miss Veracruz’

Gabriela Molina / Facebook

Ana Gabriela Molina de los Santos, is a young woman with no arms who is competing to become ‘Miss Veracruz’. The criteria of beauty pageants is usually archaic and problematic: women must be of a certain age, height and weight and their body measurements must not exceed certain inches. Women with different body types, and conditions are not usually part of these competitions, but Gabriela is determined to participate and set and example. 

Ana Gabriela Molina de los Santos has no arms.

Credit: Gabriel Molina / Facebook

The contestant in the Miss Veracruz 2020 beauty competition is spreading the message that no obstacle is too big when you’re prepared to work hard for what you want. During the presentation of all the beauty queens participating to become ‘Miss Veracruz’, Molina was the one that sparked the most interest in the audience. 

Ana Gabriela already took home the title of beauty queen of her own town ‘Miss Nanchital’

Presentación de candidatas Miss VeracruzMuchas gracias a todos sobretodo a mi familia que pudo acompañarme y a los que…

Posted by Gabriela Molina on Monday, December 16, 2019

Molina already won the competition in her hometown for Miss Nanchital 2020, and caused a sensation after participating in the presentation of Miss Veracruz contestants last weekend in Xalapa. “Thank you to everyone, most of all my family who were able to come and those who, despite distances . . . have always shown me their support,” she said in a post on Facebook. 

She’s a psychology graduate and motivational speaker who wants to raise awareness for people with disabilities. 

Presentación oficial de candidatas a MISS VERACRUZ 2019-2020

Posted by Canal 12 Súper Cable on Sunday, December 15, 2019

Molina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology on December 10 and is a motivational speaker, hosting conferences on personal development. She says that completing her degree was key in helping her gain the strength of mind and confidence to participate in a beauty pageant. “No dreamer is too small and no dream is too big,” she wrote in another Facebook post.

Beauty pageants have long been criticized for reinforcing unrealistic standards for women.

Competitions judging women based on their looks, their smiles, their hair, make-up and clothing have been critiqued for years. Some of these contests promote standards of beauty that are unrealistic. In fact, the criteria by which women are chosen or even eligible to compete is very problematic in itself: she must be between the age of 18 and 25, a certain height and weight and her body measurements must not exceed a certain number of inches —but for Ana Gabriela, none of that matters. She wants her success to be an example for other girls who look just like her. 

Molina is working toward more inclusivity in beauty pageants, and she might just succeed by becoming ‘Miss Veracruz’.

Ningún soñador es pequeño y ningún sueño es demasiado grande… 👑💙♿Mil gracias Alondra Aguirre Professional Makeup y SoulDesigns Fotografía Profesional

Posted by Gabriela Molina on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ana Gabriela hopes that her participation in the competition will show others that her disability has not stopped her from chasing her dreams and that if she can accomplish her goals despite having no arms, then anyone can accomplish their own.

If she were to win, she’d use her title to raise awareness of disability.

Everyday, the Veracruzana wants to encourage children with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

Hoy tenemos a una super modelo de lujo Gabriela Molina

Posted by Pericentro Fashion on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

“The word ‘pity’ is not in my vocabulary. And the term ‘pobrecito’ really angers me, because I can do just as much as you can.” she says. 

She was always drawn to beauty pageants, even as a child. 

Ever since she was a little girl, Gabriela dreamed of participating in a beauty pageant, “I always told my family, one day, they’d see me there, modeling or competing.” she said in an interview with Mexican news channel, Noticias La Fuente. At the time, her family dismissed what she said. “No one would imagine a person with a disability participating in a platform like that.”

 The winner of the Miss Veracruz 2020 competition will go on to represent the state in the Miss Mexico pageant. Last year’s Miss Veracruz, Marilú Acevedo, was the first runner-up in the Miss Mexico competition, barely losing the crown to Ashley Alvídrez of Chihuahua.