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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Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

Things That Matter

Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

Beauty pageants have long been an integral part of Mexican celebrations – from Carnival to fiestas celebrating a Pueblo’s patron saint, they’re extremely common. However, as violence against women soars to new records across the country, Mexico’s newly formed ‘Gender Equality Commission’ has introduced new measures that would effectively ban beauty pageants.

The commission sees beauty pageants as contributing to gender stereotypes, machismo attitudes, and, in turn, endemic violence against women.

However, many Mexicans have already voiced their strong opposition to the proposed rules and intent to fight back against them.

Mexico’s Gender Equality Commission has announced new rules that would ban beauty pageants in the country.

The Mexican Congress has taken up recommendations that the country move to ban beauty pageants. The new bill, based on recommendations from the Gender Equality Commission, would include new provisions to the general law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.

The commission introduced several new provisions meant to help reduce violence against women, but the one that many Mexicans are talking about is the potential beauty pageant ban – as beauty pageants are a major part of Mexican society.

Members of the commission expressed their objection towards any such form of competition in which beauty or physical appearance of women, girls, or adolescents is evaluated in full or in part based on sexist stereotypes.

“We believe that beauty contests are events which show women through socio-cultural standards and under gender stereotypes as an instrument to maintain the concept of a female body as an object. This limits the personal development of the participants,” the members added.

Under the new guidelines, pageants will not be able to use public resources, official promotion, subsidies and any kind of economic or institutional support for carrying out these kinds of shows. It’s also possible that privately-funded pageants could be subject to the ban.

Mexico has long suffered from gender-based violence but the issue is getting worse year after year.

Credit: Toyo Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

In Mexico, the rallying cry “Ni Una Menos” has been on the tips of everyone’s tongue as violence against women has spiraled out of control in 2020. Before the Coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans took part in some of the largest protests ever seen across the country, denouncing the growing violence epidemic.

So far, an average of 10 women are killed everyday in Mexico. And 911 calls for domestic violence are up more than 60%, as women are forced to stay home with their abuser.

Meanwhile, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has brushed off the killings as being sensationalized by his opposition to make him look bad. In fact, after news broke of a recent woman’s murder, AMLO was asked about her death at a press conference. However, he told reporters that he did not want to talk about gender-motivated killings of women because he did not want “femicides to distract from the raffle,” referring to a raffle his administration had organized around the sale of the presidential airplane.

The country has a long history of competing in international beauty pageants.

Credit: Miss International Queen

Beauty pageants have been popular in Mexico for several decades and many Mexicans have preformed well at both national and international competitions. So it’s no surprise that many have come out against the announcement and expressed their sadness about the end of pageants.

Several Mexican women have won big at international competitions, including: Vanessa Ponce De Leon (Miss World 2018), Sofia Aragon (2nd Runner Up Miss Universe 2019), and Andrea Toscano (1st Runner Up Miss International 2019).

A Mexican transgender woman also won out over contestants from 21 countries, at Thailands Miss International Queen. Valentina Fluchaire was crowned queen in 2019 at the annual pageant for transgender women in Thailand.

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Colombia’s Beauty Queen Winner Shared Her Brave Decision To Have Her Leg Amputated

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Colombia’s Beauty Queen Winner Shared Her Brave Decision To Have Her Leg Amputated

danielaalvareztv / Instagram

Miss Colombia of 2011 has long been a light and a role model to little Latinas around the world. At the time of her win in 2011, little girls across Colombia and the world watched as she earned the highest score of 9.6 in the evening gown competition and was crowned while representing the Caribbean coastal department of Atlantico.

The model and former pageant winner who represented Colombia at Miss Universe 2012 is inspiring girls once again.

Earlier this week the model revealed that she had her knee amputated below the knee.

Earlier this month, Alvarez shared with fans that a mass had been discovered in her abdomen and she’d undergone surgery to have it removed. Unfortunately, soon after her operation, she had experienced ischemia in her left leg, meaning the blood supply to the area was cut off. After several operations and complications, Alvarez decided that she would have her leg amputated.

Sharing news of her progress, Alvarez revieled that she loved her body just as much as she did before the amputation.

“I want to share with you my new version, I love my body as before, I am happy to be here in this world to overcome all the challenges that come in my new life. I know that by the hand of God I will achieve EVERYTHING. ‘Feet, why do I want them if I have wings to fly” let’s go forward !!,'” Alvarez wrote in a post shared with fans to her Instagram page. In the image, Alvarez can be seen smiling while surrounded by her family soon after the operation.

In a separate post, Alvarez shared that she had no regrets about the amputation and had not cried about the surgery.

“With my two favorite men in the world who help me recover day by day with his love and company @rickialvarezv @alvarezcamera !!! My @ Lenard.vanderaa was missing ❤️❤️❤️ Here I go, my beautiful people, my third day of recovery, I have not cried for a second (I think only once and it was because of the pain after the surgery).”

So far, Alvarez has received an outpouring of support from her fans. Her posts have received millions of likes and it looks like her recovery is on the up and up.

Here’s to Alvarez and her Latina strength!

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