Things That Matter

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

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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You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

Culture

You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Thanks to Coronavirus, you’re likely not hopping on a plane any time soon to go and visit one of the world’s top destinations – Mexico City. Most of us are still following stay-at-home orders and the rest of the world is pretty much off limits to us all right now. But thankfully, we do have access to the World Wide Web, right?

Sure, we could pass the time binge watching our favorite TV shows, but why not take a little time to go on a little museum tour of one of the most famous Mexicans of all time?

Thanks to some super cool tech – and the magic of Google – Frida Kahlo’s famed Casa Azul Museum is at your finger tips. You can pay a visit from your living room, bedroom, patio – where ever you wanna be.

Frida’s Casa Azul is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Before the pandemic, la Ciudad de México had become one of the world’s top destinations. With it’s rich mix of foods and cultures and tons of attractions and museums (the city reportedly has the highest count of museums in the world!), it was at the top of tourist’s lists.

And at the top of the recommended sights to take in – the famous Casa Azul. Located a bit south of the central city in the beautiful colonia of Coyoacán, is the house where Frida Kahlo was born and spent much of her life.

People would often wait in line for several hours to pay a visit to this venerated museum and garden complex. In fact, it was rated by Salma Hayek as one of her favorite things to do in the city, in an interview with Vanity Fair. But now, Google is bringing the museum to you and it’s incredible. You can follow along with the following tour using this link.

With this virtual tour, you get the chance to pop into the artist’s famed studio.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Inside Frida’s studio, you can truly visualize her experience as an artist. The space is filled with giant windows letting in all sorts of natural light. There’s also a large collection of books and prints that likely provided her with inspiration for her pieces.

Visitors also get a glimpse of her workstation, filled with paints, brushes, canvases and other supplies.

You can visit her kitchen…

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Easily one of my favorite parts of the house, is the cocina – which is beautifully decorated in traditional Mexican style. It’s home to a large collection of pottery and woodworking which lends it a very cozy feeling.

Take a look at the thousands of art pieces that are located inside the museum.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Several rooms of the house and its hallways, are now dedicated to displaying thousands of Frida Kahlo’s works. In fact, Casa Azul is home to the largest collection of Kahlo pieces in the world – which makes sense since this was her actual home.

From photographs and writings, to famed paintings and sketches, a Frida Kahlo fan could easily spend hours walking through these galleries.

Along with many of her iconic fashion looks.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps one of the most popular exhibits at the museum, is the dress vault. This gallery is home to some of the artist’s most famous looks. And let’s face it: Frida Kahlo is a fashion icon in so many ways.

The museum often rotates the clothing that is on display so visitors are often treated to new looks.

And the museum is well-known for its gardens, which you also get the chance to visit.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Casa Azul is also well-known for it’s beautiful gardens. Often home to roaming peacocks, it’s a tranquil setting in the midst of the bustling city and likely one of the top draws for visitors.

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The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

Things That Matter

The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

Bloomberg / Getty Images

Not that we should be traveling right now, as the country’s Coronavirus pandemic continues to spiral out of control – but it’s worth noting that our international options are fewer than they were just months ago.

Historically, the U.S. passport has been seen as the golden ticket to travel with ease across the international community as it was once regarded as one of the strongest passports in the world. But that’s changing.

You can blame the drop in standing of the U.S. passport on our elected leaders who have massively failed to gain an upper hand on this health crisis. As other countries have demonstrated an ability to control Coronavirus within their borders, the U.S. has failed miserably. And that failure – in addition to more than 3 million infections and 130,000 deaths – has resulted in Americans simply being turned away from international destinations.

The U.S. passport dropped in visa-free access from 7th to 25th place as a result of our Coronavirus failures.

In what is a double whammy for the United States, the country recently crossed the three-million mark in terms of the number of registered COVID-19 cases, and more than 132,000 people have died from the disease. Now, its handling of the pandemic has drastically diminished power of its passport. 

Before the pandemic, the U.S. was regularly listed in the Top 10 on the Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of the number of countries a passport gets you into without a visa. The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association. The US usually comes in sixth or seventh and topped the list as recently as 2014. Before the coronavirus pandemic, a US passport would get you into 185 destinations around the world without the need for a visa at all or a visa on arrival.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index, U.S. passports now have access to only 158 countries, putting it on par with a Mexican passport, a significant decline from its previous top 10 ranking in 2014.

“We see an emergence of a new global hierarchy in terms of mobility, with countries that have effectively managed the pandemic taking the lead, and countries that have handled it poorly falling behind,” says Christian Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners, according to Forbes.

The biggest drop came as a result of the European Union banning entry to U.S. citizens.

Many countries across the globe are beginning to open back up as they get their Coronavirus outbreaks under control, and they are limiting or banning travel with countries where the virus is running rampant — including the United States. 

In fact, as Europe has slowly started to reopen its borders to international tourists, it’s specifically left off the U.S. Europe’s decision is responsible for the largest drop in the power of the U.S. passport.

Recently, five Americans who flew to Sardinia on a private jet were turned away and governors in Mexico are advocating for tighter border measures to prevent Americans from going into the country and spreading the virus. 

The U.S. passport is now equal in strength to that of Mexico and Uruguay.

It’s no secret that citizenship is the main factor behind preserving global inequalities today and that simply holding a U.S. passport can grant you access to so many more destinations. But now, Americans are getting to swee just how your government’s actions – or failures – can result in you being treated differently on the global level.

Thanks to America’s failure at combating the virus, U.S. citizens now hold passports that have around the same level of travel freedom as citizens of Mexico (#25 on Henley Passport Index, with a score of 159) and Uruguay (#28, with a score of 153).

Coronavirus continues to rage out of control across the U.S., so it should go without saying that an international trip is not a good idea right now.

Countries are closing their doors to Americans, as the outbreak in the US — the worst in the world — nears 3 million infections with over 131,000 deaths.

The US last week surpassed 50,000 new daily coronavirus cases, and that trend has been maintained this week with multiple states and cities recording record-high new infections, hospitalizations, or deaths. 

Another factor playing into travel restrictions – beyond the surging of cases in the U.S., is that America’s health care system is decentralized, unpredictable and unequal.

Tourism is essential for the economies of many destinations—and the livelihoods of individuals and families—and plays a role in reducing poverty. But right now is not the time for Americans to be traveling.

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