Things That Matter

While People In The U.S. Are Fighting For Deals On Toys, The Venezuela Government Just Pulled Millions Of Toys

Depending on who you ask, Venezuelan President Nicolás Madura is either the Grinch who stole Christmas or a yuletide Robin Hood who took from the rich in order to sell to the poor.

CNN reports that On Saturday the Venezuelan government confiscated almost 4 million toys from warehouses owned by the Kreisel toy company. Why? Because according to Sundde, Venezuela’s consumer protection agency, Kreisel “committed fraud” against the country by pretending they have less toys available than they actually do to drive the prices up. Toys are on the list of items that the socialist Venezuelan government regulates and therefore have to be sold at approved prices.

Two executives at Kreisel have been arrested. Kreisel hasn’t made an official statement, but they have been on Twitter retweeting supportive messages.

This confiscation of toys came about just two weeks before Christmas, which may make it hard for some people to buy toys for holiday gifts.

Critics of the Venezuelan government toy seizure compared Madura to the Grinch.


Or worse.


Others say they don’t agree with the Robin Hood-like move.


The government, however, seems to think that they’re saving Christmas for the poorer children of Venezuela as they plan to make the toys available for lower-than-market prices to families in impoverished neighborhoods, as reported by CNN.


Only time will tell if this was a Grinch move or a Robin Hood-esque redistribution of toys.


Find out more about Venezuela’s controversial toy seizure here.

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As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

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As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

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The headline gives it away: it’s legit, Trump and his band of merry men are considering taking steps to enact a TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, specifically for Venezuelans in the US. But what does this mean, exactly? Don’t worry, because we’ve saved you the hard work of doing research on the topic – read on to find out all about it.

Why the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

Twitter / @immprobono

Instituting a TPS for the Venezuelan population in the US would essentially protect them from being deported. While at this stage the details are sketchy, it seems that the plan would be to not only allow Venezuelans to continue living in the US, but also have work permits, too. And yes, it would also mean that these same Venezuelans, with their newfound legal status, wouldn’t have to watch out for persecution from ICE officers anymore.

The primary reason the White House is seeking to provide legal protections for Venezuelans is due to the current political environment in Venezuela.

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While it’s a complicated situation, the short story is that Venezuela’s current President, Nicolás Maduro, has been accused of running fraudulent elections by his opposition. This has escalated into military struggles – which, alongside power cuts, and food and medicine shortages, has resulted in an estimated four million Venezuelans leaving the country. As a result, Venezuelan migrants flocked to the US, since it’s one of the closest stable countries to Venezuela. However, that doesn’t mean that all Venezuelan migrants have got current paperwork for them to live and work in the US. Establishing a TPS for these Venezuelans would ensure that they’re rightfully recognized as asylum seekers, and give them the legal status to remain and work in the US.

Why it’s hella weird that the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

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Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that, for once, the Trump administration is considering ways to protect people who are legitimately seeking asylum. But, it’s also weird as heck that it is considering ways of instituting a TPS. Remember, this is the same administration that gave us the infamous Muslim ban, overcrowded detention centers in El Paso, and also jeopardized the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program. Trump and friends don’t really have a great record when it comes to embracing immigration.

The other thing to consider is that the TPS they’re proposing would only be available for asylum seekers coming from Venezuela.

Instagram / @chebt82

People from other Latin American countries aren’t in luck, this time around. Some have speculated that the reason for this is because while Trump and his team consider Venezuelans to be refugees fleeing danger, they see Hispanics from the rest of Latin America as job seekers, looking to leech off of America’s success.

Another theory that’s been floated is that Trump is actually thinking ahead to 2020: Florida, as a key battleground state, is home to a considerable Venezuelan community. Offering TPS to friends and families in those neighborhoods could possibly be the olive branch Trump needs to secure deciding votes in the state. So, for those cynics out there, maybe it’s not so weird that Donald has has a change of heart when it comes to some immigrants.

Why the White House considering a TPS for Venezuelans isn’t a permanent solution.

Twitter / @AmericasVoice

Well, firstly, it’s important to remember that TPS stands for Temporary Protection Status – with emphasis on the temporary. The question remains as to what would constitute grounds for withdrawing such protection: would Maduro have to step down? Would Venezuela’s political system need to be overhauled? Or would Venezuela have to reach a certain GDP threshold before the US considered it stable enough for Venezuelans to return? And, what about potential pathways to gaining full, legitimate US citizenship from the TPS? The terms of the TPS are yet to be fully explored.

Another, secondary, thing to think about is the fact that not all Republicans are on board with the TPS.

It’s entirely possible that party politics may stand in the way of successfully implementing a magnanimous TPS program.

At the end of the day, while it’s great to see the Trump administration reconsidering its harsh stance on immigration and asylum seekers, at the same time, if they’re planning to institute policy to accommodate for refugees, then they need to plan for the long term. The reality is that if people are being settled in the US under a TPS to escape the hardships and traumas of their native countries, they are inevitably going to build a life, make friends and potentially create a family, under the auspices of a temporary program. Removing them from that life would further traumatize these people and also damage the community. Let’s hope that the current administration keeps this in mind when they’re debating the TPS. After all, these are human lives they are talking about.

Countries Are Warning Their Citizens About Traveling To The US Because We Are A ‘Gun Society’

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Countries Are Warning Their Citizens About Traveling To The US Because We Are A ‘Gun Society’

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Just days after two mass shootings that left 31 people dead, multiple foreign countries are issuing warnings to their citizens about traveling to the United States. Venezuela, Uruguay and Japan have all released statements urging its citizens to postpone or reconsider trips to the U.S. after the “recent acts of violence.”

Here’s why some countries are calling on their citizens to reconsider making their way to the U.S anytime soon.

Credit: @apjoshgoodman / Twitter

The Venezuelan government has advised its citizens to “avoid visiting some cities that are among the 20 most dangerous in the world.” The list includes Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Stockton and Buffalo, “ which is all in reference to a Forbes 2019 article.

“These growing acts of violence have found echo and sustenance in the speeches and actions impregnated with racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed from the supremacist elite who hold political power in Washington,” the country’s foreign ministry wrote in a statement. “This year alone, these actions have cost the lives of more than 250 people.”

“We warn Venezuelans, living in or aiming to travel to the U.S., to be extra careful or to postpone their travel, given the recent proliferation of violent acts and hate crimes,” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro tweeted Monday.

The warning from Maduro came shortly before the White House announced that President Trump signed an executive order that expanded sanctions against the country. Back in April, the U.S. State Department also issued a warning to Venezuela when it came to travel. The U.S. gave Venezuela a Level 4: Do Not Travel, which is it’s most severe travel advisory due to crime, civil unrest and the arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.

On the same day that Venezuela advised a travel warning, Uruguay followed suit. The country said those who visit the U.S. must take “extreme precautions” because local authorities are unable to stop mass shootings.

Credit: @washingtonpost / Twitter

The Uruguayan government has also issued a similar warning about the increasing dangers if they are making a trip to the U.S in the near future. In a statement, the foreign ministry told people to be extra cautious if traveling to the U.S. because of its “increasing indiscriminate violence” and “racism and discrimination that cost the lives of more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.”

The Uruguayan government specifically said to take notice and urged citizens to avoid places that have a large concentration of people such as theme parks, malls, concerts, religious activities, food festivals, sports events, and large city protests. Just a few days ago, the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory level for Uruguay “due to an increase in crime,” from a Level 1 warning (exercise normal precautions) to Level 2 (exercise increased caution).

Japan has also issued a warning citing the U.S as a “gun society” and it’s lack of control when it comes to shootings.

Credit: @dailysabah / Twitter

The Japanese Consul in Detroit also issued an alert quickly after news of a second shooting broke. The Consul said Japanese citizens “should be aware of the potential for gunfire” everywhere in the U.S., which they described as a “gun society,” according to the Los Angeles Times. But the Japanese government currently still lists travel to the U.S. as safe. 

This isn’t the first time that countries have gone forward to issue travel warnings because of gun violence in the country. France, New Zealand, and Germany have previously issued travel advisories to the U.S. shortly after mass shootings. 

Among the 22 people that were killed in El Paso, eight were Mexican nationals. Foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard has even suggested that Mexico may even seek to charge the El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, with committing terrorist acts against its citizens.

“It is not our disposition to involve ourselves in the internal affairs of any country, but this topic should be considered again because it affects many people, in this case, Americans, as well as Mexicans,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said on Monday.

The deadly attacks over the weekend occurred at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, and a popular housing complex in Dayton, Ohio. The El Paso and Dayton killings have added to what has already been an increasingly deadly year for mass killings in the U.S.

READ: After The Mass Shooting In El Paso, ‘Amor Eterno’ Becomes An Anthem Bringing Latinx Communities Together

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