Things That Matter

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

@missaragua / Instagram / @Yusnaby / Twitter

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. 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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This Venezuelan Illusionist Is Wowing Audiences With Her Feel-Good Magic Tricks


This Venezuelan Illusionist Is Wowing Audiences With Her Feel-Good Magic Tricks

Women are magic — particularly Dania Díaz, who brought judges and audience members of “Spain’s Got Talent” to their feet with her entrancing card tricks that also told a heart-rending story.

The Venezuelan native, who had only been living in Spain for a few months before auditioning for the talent show, captivated viewers everywhere. The 28-year-old cleverly shared her story, from being a child in South America who lost her mother, to first discovering and falling in love with magic, to leaving her beloved country in the midst of a crisis to follow her dreams, through a deck of cards, wowing the audience, and at times bringing them to tears, with her incredible presentation.

Díaz shared her story of heart-ache through a magic trick on “Spain’s Got Talent.”


Lo que hace esta chica emociona a todos! 😱😍

Posted by Lo Mejor De La Red on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“I’m Dania, I’m a magician and I’m from Venezuela,” she says in Spanish while starting her show shuffling cards. 

“Venezuela is a very big country with more than 30 million inhabitants. 31,529,000 to be precise,” enthralling the previously confused audience as she lays out the cards 3,1, 5, 2 and 9.

Díaz, who continues to wow as she describes Venezuela’s sizable waterfalls through her deck, then begins to share her story. She has two brothers, Daniel and Leo, and was raised in a single-parent home.

“My mother was the queen of the house,” she says, pulling out a queen, “and my father, my father was not very present. In fact, I was happy to see him three or four times a month,” sliding his king card away from the queen.

But that’s not the saddest part of Díaz’s story. The magician reveals that at age 10, her mother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

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No solo me vine a reencontrar con mis personas favoritas en esta ciudad, sino que #Venezuela me sigue regalando amigos 🇻🇪 En 2018 conocí a #PattyCardozo una #GuaraEnEspaña, ella me seguía desde mucho antes de migrar a España y yo empecé a hacerlo justo cuando llegué, un día lleno de dudas me senté con ella y creo que fui uno de los tantos venezolanos que han hecho sesión con ella, admiro su proyecto de migracoaching porque atiende el tema emocional, pues no se trata de meter cosas en la maleta, sino de meter tu vida y tus afectos, apenas regresé coincidimos, y como si fueramos amigos de años, sin planificarlo mucho, todo se dio para volver a reirnos juntos. No se pierdan su proyecto en 👉🏼 @patty_cardozo 👜 En 2018 también conocí el talento de #DaniaDiaz que como muchos supimos de ella cuando se viralizó su participación en #SpainGotTalent, era #LaMagaVenezolana que nos sacó una lagrimita de alegría con su destreza en las cartas, con ese momentazo se ganó un lugar en mi #ConteoLos100Del2018 e incluso pasó a la segunda ronda del Top 25 elegido por el público. Llena de proyectos, esta lista para llenar a España con su magia, y si #DePuntoFijoPalMundo, no le pierdan pista como @daniadiaz1 ♣️ Que felicidad verlas emprendiendo, ellas como muchas más, demuestran que las mujeres venezolanas siempre resuelven, aquí nadie quiere que le regalen nada, solo necesitamos la oportunidad de demostrar lo que somos 👊🏼 #VenezolanosEnMadrid #AhoraQuienBajaALaSraDeAhi #ApreciationPostAlTumbaoDeDania

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“Our lives were never the same again. Mine took a 180-degree turn. I think of her 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” she said, effortlessly drawing those numbers from her deck as she spoke.

It wasn’t until the-then child discovered magic that she found happiness again. One day, while watching television,  she saw a magician appear on a program. “My heart jumped for joy. I had fallen in love,” she said, tugging a hearts. 

Díaz has been a practicing magician for the last eight years. She immigrated to Spain, like many who leave Latin America, for an opportunity to fully realize her dreams.

“I came to Spain in search of a future, a future that in my country I could not have anymore. And even though I knew that many things awaited me along the way, what I did not expect was to fall in love: to love its culture, its food, and its people,” she said, flipping her cards to suddenly reveal words and images that illustrated what she was sharing.

The illusionist, who prompted laughter from the astonished crowd when she shared the two countries’ different vernacular, ended her demonstration with some inspiration.

“Despite all these differences, there is something we have in common, and that is that everyone in the world is in search for a dream,” she said, flipping cards to reveal related hand-drawn images. “No matter how chaotic your life is at this moment, I invite you to have a little patience, because little by little your life will take order, everything will have a meaning. I’m telling you, this story has taken me here.”

Díaz’s show left both the audience and some judges in tears. They all stood up in applause chanting “golden pass, golden pass.” She did, indeed, receive the pass and was sent into the semifinal of the auditions.

The performer, who now has more than 110 thousand followers on Instagram, is known around Latin America for her charismatic story-telling magic. In addition to her starlight audition, she has won awards, like the FLASOMA prize, given to her by the Latin American Federation of Magical Societies, as well as rewards from Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and the National Congress of Spain.

Díaz, who has performed in 11 countries, travels the world, bringing astonishment to thousands through her feel-good tricks. 

And she has shown for everyone. According to Díaz’s website, she does performances for families, which includes an interactive experience mixing magic, music, and stories that inspire viewers to laugh and dream; for adults, where she reads minds and swallows balloons; and even for business settings, which could be catered to the mission of the corporations. 

For those magic-lovers who are unable to see her live, Díaz also shows some of her mind-boggling tricks on her YouTube channel and on Instagram.

In one of her latest stunts, she takes on the viral bottle cap challenge, removing the top of a bottle without ever touching its lid. In another, she makes a wildly big coin appear, disappear and reappear in her hand.

After watching her magical short clips, you’ll understand why hundreds of thousands of people from across the world are stunned by the Venezuelan maga.

Critics Are Saying Miss Puerto Rico Should Be Stripped Of Her Crown Because She Doesn’t Know Spanish


Critics Are Saying Miss Puerto Rico Should Be Stripped Of Her Crown Because She Doesn’t Know Spanish

The crowning glory of this year’s Miss Puerto Rico was tarnished for 23-year-old Madison Anderson Berríos with the backlash since, unlike previous winners, she wasn’t born or raised on the island. 

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Orlando, Florida to a white dad and a Puerto Rican mom, Anderson Berríos doesn’t speak Spanish fluently so the idea of her not being “Latina enough” quickly came up on social media. After her win, #NoMeRepresenta began trending on Twitter and during the telecast, she was booed by the audience when she explained her first language wasn’t Spanish.

“I am representing the new generation of Puerto Ricans who do not need to live in Puerto Rico or speak Spanish. If you were born in the United States, you are not less Puerto Rican,” she said in an interview with El Sentinel Orlando. “These are feelings that you carry anywhere. That’s the new generation of Puerto Ricans,” she added.

But her place of birth wasn’t the only issue she candidly addressed, she was also open about her trouble learning to speak Spanish. 

It was hard, especially when it came to the language, but I’m so happy with the work I’ve done,” Anderson Berríos said during an interview with Pégate al Medio Día for Wapa TV which broadcast the pageant. “Yes, [I practiced] with everyone,” she said. “With my family, people on the street, even when I needed to order [at a restaurant]. Even things that are so easy, I wanted to practice, and it helped me so much.”

The beauty queen told Metro that she plans to continue to study during her reign, practicing every day. 

Her dedication to learning extends to her schoolwork having studied marketing and public relations. She’s passionate about social work and raising awareness about domestic violence having mentored women during a trip to the Caribbean Island of Saint Kitts and Nevis with plans to do the same at Hogar Ruth Puerto Rico, according to Hola!. 

Her poise and push for authenticity come after some practice on the pageant stage.

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Aquí les comparto un corto video de mi última visita al Hogar Ruth, @hogarruthpr y Damaris les explica un poco en que consiste la ayuda que proveemos desde aquí. El hogar Ruth sirve como albergue para mujeres y niños víctimas de violencia doméstica en sus hogares. Entre los servicios de rehabilitación y ayuda que ofrecen están: – Intervenciones en crisis familiares – Intercesión legal – Talleres para auto manejo financiero. El año pasado hubo un total de 5,846 casos de violencia domestica a la mujer y cada vez la cantidad va en aumento. Es nuestro deber como seres humanos educar y crear lazos con nuestros amigos y familiares en los que haya un canal de diálogo abierto. También, una forma de ayudar es identificar las señales que presenta la victima. En muchos casos las mujeres tememos a hablar, pero es importante que nosotros como familiares y/o amigos podamos identificar ciertas acciones y comportamientos para diligenciar la ayuda. Algunas de la señales son: – No toman decisiones sin el consentimiento de su pareja. – Se muestran sumisas ante la figura de l hombre. – Presentan síntomas depresivos y/o ansiedad. – Recurren a excusas. Las utilizan para incurrir cualquier tipo de rasguño o moretón del que se les pregunté. – Justifican a su pareja. – Suelen tener pocas interacciones en sus redes sociales o un grupo muy pequeño de amistades. – Cambian su manera de vestir. – Entre otros.. Si has identificado algún de estas características en algún amigo y/o familiar, sé un agente de cambio y muéstrale tu apoyo. Gánate su confianza y busca ayuda. Ninguna mujer merece ser víctima de violencia doméstica! La violencia la detenemos nosotras! #Niunamas #HogarRuth #brillalabelleza #metamorfosis #Amovivirsinmiedo @muniversepr @hogarruthpr

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In 2014, she participated in Miss Teen USA and two years later represented Puerto Rico in Miss Grand International. In January, she was the first runner-up in the Miss Florida USA contest, although she has always identified herself as Puerto Rican, according to  El Sentinel Orlando

Now she’s prepping to represent Puerto Rico in the 68th Miss Universe international contest taking place in December in South Korea.

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Está bien… Dios siempre está en control. Hoy puedo sentarme a escribir estas líneas para ustedes ya con lo pies en la tierra, luego de dos días en las nubes viviendo mi sueño. Ya puedo mirar mi corona y mi cinta que dice Puerto Rico y realizar que todo esto es verdad y que podré gritar nuevamente el nombre de la patria que me enseñaron a amar desde niña ante el universo. Cada verano y navidades que pasé en esta tierra con mis abuelos y el resto de la familia, fueron aumentando el amor por mis raíces y hoy con orgullo puedo decir #SerBoricuaSeLlevaEnLaSangre y en el corazón. Nunca olvidaré el día que Peter Morales dijo: “ella será Miss Puerto Rico” a penas era una niña. Gracias por ayudarme años más tarde a descubrir el potencial en mí. Gracias por haber traído a mi vida @dianamcortes , no pudiste haberme puesto en mejores manos. Diana, nunca voy a cansarme de agradecerte todo lo que haces por tus hijas adoptivas, tu amor, labor y entrega hacia nosotras es incalculable. Más que una promotora, eres familia. Que el mundo sepa que como tú no hay dos. Cuidas cada detalle, nos proteges y nos pones en las manos de los mejores recursos y tu única recompensa es vernos felices y ayudar a otras chicas a cumplir sus sueños. Que Dios multiplique lo que haces por mi y por todas en salud, amor y bendiciones. Gracias a todo mi equipo de trabajo que se desvivieron en ayudarme a lucir bien en cada faceta. A Denisse Quiñones y toda la organización de @muniversepr GRACIAS. Gracias por darnos la oportunidad a 28 candidatas de aprender y adquirir herramientas que nos servirán para toda la vida. Gracias por diseñar una plataforma perfecta donde crecimos, no solo como candidatas, también como mejores seres humanos. Gracias Carmencita por cuidarnos a todas como lo haría una madre. Mensaje continúa en los comentarios. Gracias @tofervg por la hermosa fotografía que capturaste.

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“It’s my dream. This is not just for my beautiful people of Puerto Rico, but for the diaspora because being Puerto Rican is carried in the blood,” she said in an interview with Wapa TV. And that’s a sentiment that’s just like her Instagram bio reads: #SerBoricuaSeLlevaEnlaSangre 

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