Things That Matter

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

The Dominican Republic has been dealing with some really horrible press lately. Hundreds of people are falling ill while visiting the island and 11 tourists from the U.S. have died since last May. A bulk of the deaths occurred in the last couple of months and people are getting concerned. However, some people are trying to make sure the entire country isn’t thrown away because of this news.

The Dominican Republic is facing some really hard press lately and it has people concerned.

Credit: @davidalangrier / Twitter

There are at least 11 Americans who have died while in the Dominican Republic or shortly after coming home from their vacations. Hundreds more have reported falling extremely ill while on vacation. The most notable examples of people falling ill are at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana. According to reports, the culprit is the liquor in the minibars in the guest rooms.

The stories have people on edge about possible trips and outings to and in the Dominican Republic.

While everyone is showing legitimate concern or cracking jokes, Dominicans are getting pretty upset about the collective call to cancel the DR. Not only are they bothered that their home country is being treated with such disrespect.

Jokes aside, here are some reasons people want you to stop trying to cancel the Dominican Republic.

Sasha Merci is not here for you and your willingness to just write the whole country off. Her biggest concern about the movement to cancel trips to the DR is the lack of people looking to find solutions for what is happening in the country.

And she’s not alone.

Credit: jacobbergeractor / Instagram

For so many people, the deaths in the Dominican Republic, while horrible, should not keep people scared from traveling to the Caribbean island. According to officials on the island, the deaths in the DR are not abnormal when compared to years before, however, the reaction to the deaths is at a peak.

There are also DR defenders who claim those canceling the island have never even been.

Credit: wiillygaga / Instagram

There are plenty of people telling people to cancel their trips to the island. However, there are other people pushing for people to educate themselves so they can still go to the Dominican Republic, have a good time, and stay healthy.

Those who are already planning a trip to the Caribbean island are staying firm and telling everyone else to calm down.

Credit: ot.does / Instagram

It does seem like a severe reaction to a level of deaths that Dominican officials claim to be normal for this point in the year. People are joking that they just won’t touch the mini bar to guarantee their safety. However, the consumption of alcohol is one of the main factors linking the deaths together.

A couple of social media users are hoping the fear of traveling to the Dominican Republic will lower the cost of plane tickets.

Credit: @jtripnation / Instagram

Low key, who wouldn’t be down for a trip to the DR if the tickets are just $108? It seems like too good of a trip to miss out on. Cheap, international, and a quick trip since it is pretty close to the U.S. According to reports. 6.5 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic in 2016 and 2.2 million of them are from the United States.

Despite the number of people calling for understanding, some people are just ready to write-off the whole nation.

Credit: imkingricky / Instagram

People were quick to defend the island in the face of this comment. A lot of commenters pointed to all of the things happening in the U.S. and asked why there hasn’t been a call to cancel the U.S.

If you are canceling your trip to the Dominican Republic, there are people willing and ready to take your tickets.

Credit: ohhjani / Instagram

The deaths in the Dominican Republic are tragic. No one should be losing their lives while on vacation in a resort. However, while calling for a boycott of a country might feel good and necessary, it does not to address the problem. Fortunately, authorities are starting to investigate the deaths to try and prevent them moving forward.

READ: 11 U.S. Tourists Have Died In The Dominican Republic Of Illnesses Since Last May, What’s Going On In The Dominican Republic?

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These Long-Time Best Friends Just Found Out They’re Biological Sisters

Things That Matter

These Long-Time Best Friends Just Found Out They’re Biological Sisters

Photo via Cassandra Raquel Madison/Facebook

We’ve all had those friends that are so close to us that they feel like they’re family. Well, in the case of these of two Connecticut women who had the same feeling, that ended up being the case.

Best friends Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison learned that they were biological sisters, adopted from the Dominican Republic.

The story is stranger than fiction. Julia and Madison met in 2013, when they both worked at a bar called The Russian Lady in New Haven, Connecticut. The women immediately bonded when they discovered that they both had tattoos of the Dominican Republic’s flag.

Cassandra rehashed the meeting via a Facebook post: “Julia notices the Dominican flag on my arm and makes a comment about how she’s Dominican too BUT she’s adopted from there. I stop her in her tracks and tell her I’m adopted from there too.”

“After that moment, we were so tight,” Julia told Good Morning America. “We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike.”

Apparently, Cassandra felt the same way. “I thought she was cool,” Cassandra said to GMA. “We just kind of hit it off right away. It was very natural.”

According to them, coworkers were always telling them that they looked like sisters. But when the two of them cross-referenced their birth certificate, their information didn’t add up.

“Papers said we were from two different cities [with] different last names,” Julia explained. “And, our mothers’ names on our paperwork were different.” But the two women believed they were somehow connected–they just didn’t know how.

The mystery finally began to unravel after Cassandra took a 23andMe DNA test.

Through 23andMe’s genetic database, Cassandra tracked down her biological family in the Dominican Republic through a first cousin. She then traveled to the DR where she met her bio-family for the first time–an incredibly emotionally experience. While Cassandra’s bio-father was still alive, her bio-mother had passed away in 2015 from a heart attack.

Years later, Cassandra finally pressed her bio-father on whether or not he had put up another child for adoption. While at first he was hesitant to talk about the painful memory, he finally admitted that he had, indeed, put another child up for adoption years ago.

It was then that Cassandra finally urged Julia to take a DNA test so they could finally put their questions to rest.

The results came back on January 28th, 2021 and finally confirmed what they had long suspected: they were biological sisters.

The entire ordeal has been both thrilling, joyful, and emotionally taxing for the women. At times, it has even been bittersweet, considering the trauma their biological family endured in the past.

“On top of the DR being a very poor country, [our family] couldn’t take care of us,” Julia explained. “I was [born] 17 months later and they weren’t ready.”

All in all, Julia summed up how she feels about the situation in a very direct way: “This is the type of thing you see on TV.”

We couldn’t agree more!

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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