Things That Matter

Now That Evo Morales Is In Mexico, Here Is What Bolivia’s Interim President Has Planned

The past few months have been a political and social turmoil in Bolivia. The South American nation has seen power shift from the leftist Evo Morales, who was reelected but then was forced to resigned due to electoral irregularities, to a self-proclaimed female president, Jeanine Áñez, who has made it clear that her political compass moves to the right. She even proclaimed that the Bible was back after the ousted Evo left for Mexico. The separation of Church and State that has permeated Bolivian politics during the Evo Morales 13-year administration was factually erased when Jeanine Áñez took power. 

Violence has escalated since Evo Morales went into exile in Mexico.

Credit: KaosEnLaRed

Bolivia has experiences gruelling scenes since Evo left, as security forces, many of which have stated an ultra-conservative and anti-indigenous stance, have cracked down on protestors. As Postmedia Breaking News reports, this week saw heartbreaking events that have resulted in deaths and the further segregation of pro-Morales indigenous communities: “Supporters of ousted Bolivian leader Evo Morales marched into the capital La Paz on Thursday carrying coffins of people killed in clashes with the military and police, drawing attention to the human cost of the crisis gripping the South American nation.”

This scene reminds us of other places where state forces use fatal force against protestors, such as the Palestinian territories. International bodies are alarmed at the escalation of violence. As CE Noticias Financieras reports, José Miguel Vivanco, Director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, has stated: “We are deeply concerned about the measures taken by the Bolivian authorities, which seem to prioritize the brutal repression of opponents and critics and give the military a blank check to commit abuses, rather than focusing on restoring the rule of law in the country.”

All eyes are on Jeanine Áñez, the now president who has said that indigenous costumes are “satanic” and do not belong in the capital city of La Paz. 

Jeanine Áñez has now sent a project to Congress to hold elections, but so has MAS, Morales’ party.

Credit: Eduard Ibanez / Getty

In the past month, 32 people have died after Morales’ departure has triggered social unrest and deep divisions in an already polarized nation. To curb violence, Congress, also known as The Plurinational Legislative Assembly,  is considering two projects: one of the provisional government of Jeanine Añez and another from Movement to Socialism (MAS), Morales’ political party. The chairman of the commission expressed the urgency of holding elections as soon as possible, as the bloodshed could intensify As CE Noticias Financieras reports, he said that the confrontational political climate in the country is intensifying, and that they have to solve “this demand for elections in the shortest possible time, with a new electoral court with reliable men and women”. The sitting and self-proclaimed president has been vocal in the need for elections, blaming the crisis on the alleged fraud committed by Morales: “This bill can be perfected and serve as a basis for consensus. The electoral fraud caused the convulsion that the country is experiencing”.  

But would Morales run for the presidency again? Unlikely.

Credit: Gulf News

The big elephant in the room is of course whether Morales can run again. As CE Noticias Financieras reports, “Senators and deputies should agree on election dates and decide whether Morales can stand for election”. The MAS, however, has hinted that they would choose someone else to run for president. As the Associated Press reported: “While some Morales supporters want him to return from exile and he has described himself as “president-elect,” some leading lawmakers in his party are taking a more nuanced position”. 

However, Evo Morales could return and play a different political role.

Credit: Latino USA

The now ex-president Evo Morales has been a fierce critic of State repression during his stay in Mexico, and has said that he is more than willing to return to Bolivia. But Bolivia is now basically split between pro and anti-Evo groups, so under this climate of polarization his return could trigger more violence.

However, indigenous voices are being shut down and they need a line of political defense. As Matthew Peter Casey wrote in The Conversation in relation of the worries many original owners of the land now known as Bolivia have in regards to their place in today’s sociopolitical climate : “Many say they fear repression from the military under the interim government. They worry that the political violence that has gripped Bolivia since its Oct. 20 election will turn into a racialized, religious violence targeting indigenous people”. This polarization is also taking religious connotations, as Catholic hegemony is being sought in government, while indigenous groups seek to preserve their customs and beliefs.

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

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After four long years, we finally know why Trump didn’t want to release his tax returns: abominably, he thought his terrible haircuts and adult age children were worthy of write-offs. Oh yeah… and the year he was elected he only paid $750.00.

Long before his 2016 presidential election bid, Trump dodged calls to reveal his tax returns. At the time of his bid, however, he refused to take part in a 40-year tradition carried out by presidential nominees to release tax returns to the public. During his initial run, Trump falsely claimed that he was unable to release his returns publicly while they were under audit, and throughout his presidency, he has avoided sharing them despite grand jury subpoenas. Fortunately, thanks to a piece published by The New York Times, they’re finally getting a chance to see the light of day.

On Sunday, The New York Times published the first of several reports examining Trump’s tax information.

In 2016, Trump became the first president since 1976 to not release his tax records. The decision promptly roused dismay and questions about whether the records carried “undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions.”

According to NYT’s latest exposé, Trump (a man who has long boasted about his wealth and has also claimed a net worth of billions of which he has also declared to be self-acquired) paid a mere total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

While the Times report did not cover 2018 and 2019 tax filings, the newspaper looked into 18 years of Trump’s tax returns. They also looked into his business dealings as far back as 2000 and found that in 10 of those years, the president of the United States failed to pay any income taxes “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

The Times also revealed that Trump “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes” despite millions in income and property. In a statement for the piece, Alan Garten an attorney for the Trump Organization claimed to the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts, appear to be inaccurate.” NoteL the Times underlined that Garten appeared to be “conflating income taxes with other federal taxes.”

According to the article, beginning in 2010, Trump had been given a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS.

The Times article explains in detail how Trump has managed to handle his business and categorize his wealth. The paper found that most often, Trump claimed his expenses as deductions from his tax bill chalking them up to business expenses. These include nearly $70,000 in hairstyling costs for his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice” over $300,000 for landscaping of the Mar-a-Lago Club and $95,000 written off for hair and makeup done for his daughter Ivanka. That’s right, the president wrote off his own adult children.

Addressing the report, the Times noted that they would not include the actual tax documents in its coverage to avoid outing its sources.

“We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in an editor’s note. “Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.”

In response to the reports, Trump called the story “fake news” during a White House press conference on Sunday.

Speaking about the piece, Trump bemoaned that the IRS “does not treat me well.” “It’s totally fake news. Made-up, fake,” he continued. “We went through the same stories, people you could’ve asked me the same questions four years ago. I had to litigate this and talk about it. Totally fake news… Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns — it’s under audit,” Trump went onto explain. “They’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well. … They don’t treat me well; they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS, they treat me very, very badly…But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you, but that’s just fake news.”

It’s important to note that even an audit could not prevent Trump from releasing his tax records to the public.

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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

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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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