Things That Matter

Costa Rican Officials Claim That A Missing Florida Man Wandered Into A River But His Family Doesn’t Believe It

Sixty-two-year-old retired accountant, Charles Hughes of Tampa, Florida has been missing since August 3rd.  The avid traveler had just visited Costa Rica last month. While he was there, he met a man and the two hit it off. Hughes quickly made plans to return to Costa Rica and meet up with his new companion. 

Hughes was staying at Cabinas Jiménez in Puerto Jiménez off Gulfo Dulce and all seemed well until Charlie no longer had steady communication, no more calls or text, no more social media post. Immediately his sister Nancy began to panic. She and their siblings began to reach out to all local law enforcement in the area where her brother was last seen.

Credit: Cabinas Jímenez / Facebook

It has now been nearly a month and Charlie Hughes never made his return flight home. The family is fighting to get more answers. A week ago, local officials made a discovery, Hughes rental car was found at the bottom of Nuevo Rio River in Puerto Jiménez.

According to Hughes sister, Nancy Steffens, officials have told her that her brother most likely “wandered off” into the river.

Credit: Charlie Hughes / Facebook

Hughes’s family has said that they do not believe the story the authorities are giving them. Not only was their brother an experienced traveler but they are a military family who relocated often, therefore Charlie was able to adapt to new spaces quickly. Plus, this wasn’t his first trip to Costa Rica, he was actually returning to the same area he had previously visited. 

The family stated that they are not giving up hope. They are going to fight until they get the truth.

As for the man that was Charlie’s new friend – who is also the last person known to have seen Charlie – Nancy says local authorities told the family they questioned the man and have released him.

Hughes and his companion (who hasn’t been named) hasn’t been seen since. 

Credit: TexasEquuSearch – TEXQ / Facebook

A family that knows all too well what the Hughes is going through, is Carla Stefaniak’s family. The Venezuelan-American was an Insurance Agent and also an experienced traveler, also from Florida (Miami.) Stefaniak had booked a trip to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday.

This new mysterious death in Costa Rica is troubling.

Credit: carla_margarita / Instagram

Ready to ring in around trip around the Sun, she checked into her Airnbn and enjoyed a few days with her sister-in-law who then returned home on that Tuesday and Stefaniak was supposed to return home the following day on Wednesday, but just like Hughes she never boarded her return flight. 

In Carla’s last text to her family, sent November 27, 2018, she told them it was raining pretty hard and the lights kept going in and out at the place she was staying at, her last words read “this place seems pretty sketch.”

By December 3, 2018, the family was working round the clock on a full-scale search, sharing her story with every and any media outlet, in hopes to bring their daughter home safely.

The disappearance of Stefaniak made national headlines in the U.S. as the family searched for their loved one.

Credit: carla_margarita / Instagram

Sadly, a couple of days later her body was found, buried in a shallow grave behind the Airbnb she was staying at. Her family confirmed that is was her. The security guard employed at the gated villa is now being tried for her murder. 

Airbnb has since removed the property from their listings.

Just months before the Carla Stefaniak case, there were three cases of missing tourist whose bodies were later recovered. 

Costa Rica has been known for its beautiful beaches and relatively low crime has always been considered one of the safest tourist destinations. According to the stats at InSight Crime, even though Costa Rica hit a record high in 2017 for homicides, their numbers are still significantly lower than the numbers for the No. 1 Latin American destination place for tourist, Mexico.

InSight Crime lists different reasons for a rise in crime, but there does seem to by a cycle that is followed starting with imperialism that carries over decades that then creates unstable governments and depreciates the value of the currency in a country. When we see the currency drop that creates the perfect storm for criminal organizations to rise-up and recruits. 

We have seen this happen in Mexico and we are currently seeing this happen in Central America. Make no mistake, this doesn’t happen out of anywhere, there is decades build-up to how this rise in crime happens. 

For many Latinos in the United States, especially those on the border, traveling between two countries is nothing new. We grew up already hearing little life lessons from our parents like “esconde el dinero” “no hables ingles” always be aware of your surroundings and never give too much information.

However, for the millennial Latino generation we are traveling solo more often, we are creating content on social media, and we are living in a time of instant access. We now have AirBNB and Uber, so many other apps that make these common-sense tips sometimes get lost in our day-to-day lives.

As with any trip planning to any country, it is always good to do your research and there are plenty of websites, blogs, etc., that can offer safety trips and travel alerts, to keep yourself informed.

Always check the State Department website for travel advisories when planning international travel.

Credit: U.S. State Department

Don’t cancel your plans to visit Costa Rica, just yet. As of a few days ago, the website World Population Review listed their top safest countries to visit in Latin America, Costa Rica ranks number three.

READ: Costa Rica Is Warning Everyone To Stop Drinking Alcohol As 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol

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Florida AG Calls For Investigation Into Mike Bloomberg After He Paid Fines For Felons To Vote

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Florida AG Calls For Investigation Into Mike Bloomberg After He Paid Fines For Felons To Vote

Mike Bloomberg / Flickr

Mike Bloomberg promised during his campaign that he would help the Democratic nominee get elected. The former mayor of New York City is following through on his promise and his first focus is on Florida.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is spending money to help get Joe Biden elected.

During the 2020 campaign, Mike Bloomberg promised to spend his money and use his time to help elect the Democratic nominee. Many at the time were skeptical at the claim but Bloomberg is following through. The philanthropist and businessman is spending millions to advance his cause in Florida.

This is just the beginning of Bloomberg’s work in Florida to defeat President Trump. The New York politician has pledged to spend $100 million to help Biden win Florida. This includes ad buys and other ways to promote Biden within the Sunshine State.

Bloomberg recently raised $16 million to help get felons their right to vote back.

In 2018, Floridian voted in favor of reinstating the voting right of former felons who served their time. Governor Ron DeSantis immediately went to work stopping the voters’ choice and set up roadblocks to prevent former felons from voting. One of those roadblocks was making former felons pay all of their fines and fees before getting their right to vote back.

Bloomberg was able to raise enough money to pay off the fines and fees for 31,000 former felons in Florida. There are more than 1 million currently trying to get their right to vote back. Part of the problem with the fines and fees is that the state of Florida is not compelled to tell felons how to pay the fees nor that they have the fees.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is calling for an investigation.

Moody, a Republican elected in 2018, called for an investigation into Bloomberg’s donation to restore the voting rights of thousands. The investigation is designed to see if Bloomberg violated any election laws.

“Today, I sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into potential violations of election laws,” Moody said in a statement on Wednesday. “And I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call.”

People want Bloomberg to do the same in other states.

Bloomberg committed to helping the Democrats win the White House in 2020 because of damage created by the Trump administration. Bloomberg’s sudden involvement in Florida highlights Bloomberg’s willingness to follow up on his word. Bloomberg’s initiative helped the felons with less than $1,500 in penalty fees and had already applied for their voting rights to be restored.

Remember, your vote is your voice. Make sure you are registered to vote and get your friends registered too. Go to IWillVote.com or VoyaVotar.com and text TODOS to 30330 today to learn what choices you have to vote in your community and get information on where and when to vote.

READ: Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

Things That Matter

Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

joebiden / Instagram

Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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