Things That Matter

An American Was Taken Off A Plane Leaving The DR And Died In A Hospital In Santo Domingo

Khalid Adkins is the ninth American to die in the Dominican Republic this year alone, and the fourth in June. The deaths in the Dominican Republic are causing concern in the U.S. as the reasons for the deaths are still unknown. While Dominican officials say the number of deaths is not abnormal, there is a lot of concern about why people are dying while vacationing on the Caribbean island.

Adkins was vacationing in the Dominican Republic from Denver, Colorado with his daughter, Mia, when he reportedly fell ill.

His daughter, Mia, said it started with a painful bump on his leg.

@infowe / Twitter

Mia returned home a few days earlier than her father. Just before her flight, they stopped by their hotel’s medical clinic, but USA Today reports that he decided to delay treatment unless the pain became worse.

He had already boarded the plane to return home, but was removed.

@eurweb / Twitter

Adkins’s sister-in-law, Marla Strick, told Fox 31 that he vomited on the plane’s bathroom and was dripping in sweat when the airline removed him from the plane.

He was sent to a hospital in Santo Domingo where his kidneys started to fail.

@caribbeannewsuk / Twitter

His breathing started to deteriorate and soon after, his kidneys started failing. Strick noted that he had a kidney transplant years earlier but left for Santo Domingo in perfect health.

Nobody notified the family that Adkins died.

@bre2334 / Twitter

Apparently, it was only after his daughter, Mia, frantically called the hospital Wednesday morning when hospital staff relayed the devastating information. He had died.

There is still no official cause of death.

@bdnews24 / Twitter

The family is waiting for authorities to perform an autopsy–a legal requirement when a foreigner dies on Dominican Republic soil. Just last week, Dominican tourism minister, Francisco Javier Garcia, held a press conference assuring the world that, “The Dominican Republic is a safe country.”

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the number of deaths this year is lower than years previous.

@_Raleigh_NC / Twitter

So far, nine American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic this year. According to Garcia, in 2011 and 2015, there had already been 15 tourist deaths by this time of year. He didn’t confirm whether this is American or worldwide deaths.

With the string of deaths, Adkins’s family had already started raising money to medivac him back to the U.S. before his flight.

@nachotweetz / Twitter

Adkins’s family started a GoFundMe page asking for help to get him out of the country. At first, the description looked like this:

“We are trying anything to get him home! When we try to talk to him he is just screaming in pain and saying help him, please! It is the most devastating thing ever!! They said we can medivac him home but it is $20,000 we are lost!! It’s a terrible nightmare!! Anything helps thank you so much!! Please keep praying!!”

Folks are calling on Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to send his body home.

@brookdub / Twitter

So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 by 220 people in 2 days. Wednesday evening, the page was updated to include this:

“I am absolutely detested to make this update but we have lost Khalid!!! We found out this morning that he passed away last night!! I am at a loss for words we have no explanation of what happened all they will say is he get sick!! We need to get his body home anything helps, please!! We really want to know what happened!”

People on social media are sharing their own theories on the string of deaths in the Dominican Republic.

@fuckimagorilla / Twitter

The reality is that the circumstances around most of the deaths are concerning. One man immediately collapsed after drinking from the hotel mini bar. Another couple was found dead in their hotel rooms after drinking from the mini bar.

The FBI has opened an internal investigation to give American families some answers.

@baileyTremayne / Twitter

Many families have opened up about not trusting Dominican authorities because their family members were in good health when they departed for their vacation. We hope the FBI can offer some closure soon.

The deaths are prompting American politicians to call for transparency and answers about the unexpected deaths on the island.

Credit: @SenSchumer / Twitter

New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency to open an investigation into the deaths. Since multiple deaths have been linked back to the drinks guests are having at the mini bars in their hotel rooms.

Widespread coverage of the deaths has seen a severe impact on trips booked and canceled for the Dominican Republic.

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

Total bookings for trips to the island fell by 74 percent in July and August when compared to the same time last year, according to a new study. There was also a 51 percent increase in bookings being canceled following the string of deaths. Other Caribbean islands have seen an increase in tourism at the same time.

READ: Dominicans Are Taking To Social Media To Make Sure That People Stop Trying To Cancel The Dominican Republic

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Women Are Marching In The Dominican Republic As Part Of A Green Wave To End The Country’s Total Abortion Ban

Fierce

Women Are Marching In The Dominican Republic As Part Of A Green Wave To End The Country’s Total Abortion Ban

For years now, women across Latin America have been fighting for their rights. In too many countries women are literally fighting for their safety and lives, not to mention access to equal pay, education, and safe and legal abortion.

Recently, these activists have started to see victories pop up across the region in what many are calling a green wave. With Argentina having legalized abortion late last year, many are hoping that the momentum will carry over into other countries.

Dominican feminists are demanding an end to the nation’s total abortion ban.

The Dominican Republic’s current penal code (which penalizes abortions) dates all the way back to 1884. It should go without saying that the time to update these archaic laws is long overdue.

The group of feminists use the hashtag #Las3CausalesVan and wear green, representing the latest in a green wave of reproductive rights that has spread across Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We are manifesting in front of Congress to demand respect to the life, health and dignity of women, emphasizing the inclusion of the three causals in the penal code,” Saray Figuereo, one of the activists involved in the movement, told the APP. “And we won’t let them make up an excuse that they’ll include them in a special law.”

The movement for the “Las 3 causales” (3 “causals” or “grounds/circumstances” in English) demands the approval of abortion in three extreme cases:

  1. When the pregnancy is a byproduct of a rape or incest
  2. When it represents a risk for the woman (or girl)
  3. When the fetus is nonviable

It’s the first time in generations that there is hope to update the country’s laws.

In 2020, the Dominican Republic held a historic election where Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party won the presidential elections—the first time an opposing party won after a 16-year rule by the Party for Dominican Liberation.

In an interview with El País, he said, “Look, I disagree, as does the majority of the population, not only in the Dominican Republic but in the world, with free abortion, but I do think that there must be causals that allow the interruption of pregnancy. That has been the official position of our party.”

Reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic have long been an ongoing issue. The ratio of maternal mortality in the country is 150 per 100,000 births, higher than the average of 100 in Latin America.

“It’s been over 25 years fighting for this and all the lives that we keep losing, especially marginalized lives that are not even valuable enough for the media and the press to cover them, because the erasure of these voices is constant in the Dominican Republic,” activist Gina M. Goico told the AP.

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

Things That Matter

Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

The United States is one of the world’s most successful countries when it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine program. So far, more than 200 million vaccines have been administered across the U.S. and as of this week anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.

Meanwhile, in many countries around the world – including Mexico – the vaccine roll out is still highly restricted. For many, who can afford to travel, they see the best option at a shot in the arm to take a trip to the U.S. where many locations are reporting a surplus in vaccines.

Wealthy Latin Americans travel to U.S. to get COVID vaccines.

People of means from Latin America are chartering planes, booking commercial flights, buying bus tickets and renting cars to get the vaccine in the United States due to lack of supply back in their home countries. Some of those making the trip include politicians, TV personalities, business executives and a soccer team.

There is an old Mexican joke: God tells a Mexican he has only a week left to live but can ask for one final wish, no matter how outrageous. So the Mexican asks for a ticket to Houston—for a second opinion.

Virginia Gónzalez and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then boarded a bus to a vaccination site. They made the trip again for a second dose. The couple from Monterrey, Mexico, acted on the advice of the doctor treating the husband for prostate cancer. In all, they logged 1,400 miles for two round trips.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gónzalez told NBC News, of getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”

Mexico has a vaccine rollout plan but it’s been too slow in many people’s opinions.

With a population of nearly 130 million people, Mexico has secured more vaccines than many Latin American nations — about 18 million doses as of Monday from the U.S., China, Russia and India. Most of those have been given to health care workers, people over 60 and some teachers, who so far are the only ones eligible. Most other Latin American countries, except for Chile, are in the same situation or worse.

So vaccine seekers who can afford to travel are coming to the United States to avoid the long wait, including people from as far as Paraguay. Those who make the trip must obtain a tourist visa and have enough money to pay for required coronavirus tests, plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and other expenses.

There is little that is fair about the global race for the COVID-19 vaccine, despite international attempts to avoid the current disparities. In Israel, a country of 9 million people, half of the population has received at least one dose, while plenty of countries have yet to receive any. While the U.S. could vaccinate 70 percent of its population by September 2021 at the current rollout rate, it could take Mexico until approximately the year 2024 to achieve the same results.

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