Things That Matter

Peru’s Former President Alan Garcia Commits Suicide As Police Attempt Arrest In Corruption Charges

Ex-Peruvian President Alan Garcia was in his home when the police approached to arrest him for his involvement in the Odebrecht corruption case. Garcia would have been the latest former Peruvian president to be in jail. While some people are unbothered by his death, some hardline supporters are blaming law enforcement in his death.

Ex-Peruvian President Alan Garcia is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Credit: @jomaburt / Twitter

According to AFP, the Odebercht construction company was involved in paying bribes to presidents and politicians in 12 countries throughout Latin America. The construction company paid $788 million in bribes to get contracts to build major infrastructure projects, including a lot of the infrastructure used for the 2014 Olympics in Brazil.

The news of Garcia’s suicide to avoid questioning in the largest corruption scandal to rock Latin America has received mixed reactions.

Credit: @AmirTaheri4 / Instagram

Garcia served as president of Peru twice. His first term as president was from 1985 to 1990 and his second term took place from 2006 to 2011. Garcia was facing charges and question for bribes he allegedly took from Odebrecht during his second term as president.

Some of the people who have interviewed and dealt with the president see him as a role model for one of the most disastrous and deadly regimes currently in Latin America.

The legacy Garcia leaves behind is one filled with doubt and strong accusations of corruption.

Credit: @michealreid52 / Twitter

Note: being a great orator is not always a good thing. His suicide is leading many to believe he was indeed guilty and that he killed himself so he wouldn’t have to answer for his crimes.

Even those who knew him are unsure of his actions in their entirety.

Credit: @michealreid52 / Twitter

Some prominent journalists are sharing their moments of interviewing and conversing with Garcia during their careers. Despite their closeness with the Peruvian politician, they offer a glimpse into the confusion that surrounds his ultimate legacy.

There seems to be a pattern of people both admitting that he is likely guilty of the corruption charges he faces but might also be innocent. As mentioned in the tweet above, there is a sentiment among Peruvians that Garcia was just another corrupt politician that was getting the justice he deserved.

The death has given rise to some dissent in Mexico as the Odebrecht scandal hasn’t impacted the country as much as the rest of Latin America.

Credit: @CBarreraDiaz / Instagram

The exiting government of Enrique Peña Nieto faced strong criticism for not taking action against the construction company. Current Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ran a campaign promising an end to corruption in Mexico and justice for those involved in corruption.

However, Garcia’s strongest supporters are mourning the tragic death of their leader.

Garcia won the 2006 election with 52 percent of the vote beating his opponent, Ollanta Humala, by fewer than 700,000 votes. Despite being out of office for around eight years, his supporters have stayed true to their commitment to Garcia.

Many of Garcia’s supporters are even accusing law enforcement of killing the former president while he was in his home.

Official reports state that Garcia locked himself in his bedroom and committed suicide as police advanced on his home to arrest him. Rather than face the police and the charges he is accused of, Garcia end his life forever throwing his legacy as president in Peru into question.

READ: 13 People Have Accused Peruvian Photographer Mario Testino of Sexual Assault

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

Entertainment

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

One of the least talked about topics on the realm of American politics has to be the corruption of financial student loan institutions. The immigration crisis, climate change, and even healthcare are discussed more extensively, but when it comes to education and the high cost of college, the voices aren’t enough. However, it should be known that in the United States, the student loan debt is currently at $1.5 trillion. More than 44 million people are drowning in student loan debt, and one of them is a United States representative. 

During a committee meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that she made a student loan payment, but she wasn’t slacking off.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was in the middle of a House Financial Services Committee hearing and said — to make a very valid point — that she had made a roughly $200 payment on the remainder of her student loan, which is now more than $19,000.

“I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here at this chair, and I looked at my balance, and it was $20,237.16,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said during the hearing. “I just made a payment that took me down to $19,000 so I feel really accomplished right now.”

The youngest lawmaker in the House of Congress wanted to show the corruption by student loan institutions and how several of those companies have ties to United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She added that she feels strongly against the Republicans view on this topic, saying, “I’m hearing people on this committee say it’s not our job. This is our job.” 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only lawmaker making student loan payments. There are 70 other members of congress that are still paying off their student loans.

The New York Post is reporting that “70 members of Congress who are still paying off student loans for themselves or a dependent — with an average debt burden of $37,000. Eight lawmakers are said to have more than $100,000 in debt.”

This is not the first time, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has spoken out about the student loans that paid for her college education at Boston University. Back in June, on the steps of Capitol Hill, she said this fight is personal for her“It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt.”

People who are making monthly payments to their student loans, on average, contribute about $300 a month, which is not enough if they owe at least $35,000. According to a report by CNBC, “About one in four Americans has student loan debt, with the average balance just over $37,000. The average student loan payment is $393 a month, which is almost 20 percent of the typical American’s monthly household income.”

Student loan debt is one of the contributing factors as to why people are postponing getting married, starting a family, and purchasing a home. They simply cannot afford to get into the next chapter in their life because they’re drowning in debt.

That is why Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians are fighting to forgive student loan debt and make college tuition-free.

Some may say people should have to pay their own debt, but others such as presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders said that millennials shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of corrupt student loan institutions.

“It is time to end the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation—the millennial generation—to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of doing the right thing: getting a college education,” Sanders wrote in Fortune

Furthermore, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates are also running on a promise to make college tuition-free, mainly state schools. New Mexico just announced they are offering free college education for state universities. Other states that are now offering a free college education includes Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, and Indiana.

“This program is an absolute game-changer for New Mexico,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “In the long run, we’ll see improved economic growth, improved outcomes for New Mexican workers and families and parents.”

READ: It Is So Hard To Pay Back Student Loan Debts In The US That American Borrows Are Fleeing To Live Abroad To Avoid Paying

Archaeologists Found 250 Child Corpses In A Sacrifice Site In Peru And We Have Answers

Things That Matter

Archaeologists Found 250 Child Corpses In A Sacrifice Site In Peru And We Have Answers

Programa Arqueologico/AFP/Getty Images

Every once in a while, archaeologists make a finding so incredible, that headlines all throughout the world exploit the sensational aspects of the discovery. Such is the case of a recently unveiled mass grave containing the remains of 250 sacrificed children in Peru. The lead archeologist in the site, Feren Castillo, told AFP: “This is the biggest site where the remains of sacrificed children have been found. It’s uncontrollable, this thing with the children. Wherever you dig, there’s another one”. It is believed that more remains could be found.  

This is what you need to know about this amazing discovery that unearths more knowledge about the Chimú civilization from Northern Peru, specifically from the Moche Valley.  Alongside the Incas, the Chimú created a network of trade, political systems, religious institutions and enviable skills as craftspeople. 

So first things first, who were the Chimú people?

Credit: Instagram. @bygabrielagil

Chimú culture is responsible for much of the development of pre Columbine Northern Peru. Power was concentrated in the city of Chan Chan, a large adobe settlement on what is modern day Trujillo. They succeeded the Moche people and their civilization arose around 900 AD. Their downfall, around the year 1470, was product of an invasion by the Inca emperor Inca Yupanqui. The Spanish obliterated what was left of this proud indigenous civilization. 

We have to get rid of our colonialist gaze before reading the details of the finding!

Credit: Instagram. @isavillanuevav 

When we read stories like this our mind tends to judge them by current standards. Words like “savage” and “barbaric” often are used in media reports and everyday conversations. This inquisitive worldview is product of the mixing of European and indigenous moral and ethical standards. Latin America is largely a mestizo region where European worldviews prevailed. Yes, of course sacrificing children is appalling, but we should not perpetuate the idea that the original inhabitants of the continent were a bunch of blood-thirsty savages before colonization. Doing so only keeps racist ideas alive and this affects indigenous populations even today.

So who were the children and where were they found?

Credit: Programa Arqueologico/AFP/Getty Images

The finding is as important as it is perplexing: the remains of up to 250 underage individuals. According to scientists, the bodies indicate that the children were aged from 4 to 12 years old. As reported by Andina, the Peruvian state media agency, the remains of up to 40 warriors were also found. The sacrifices occurred between the 13th and 15th centuries.  The site is located in Pampa La Cruz, an archaeological site in Huanchaco-La Libertad, north of Lima. The reason for the ritual offering hits close to home in our turbulent times and the climate crisis we are experiencing.

The Chimú knew how to survive in the desert, so any change in the climate was devastating. This is the reason behind the sacrifices.

Credit: Instagram. @sheyllamoncada

Northern Peru is an arid landscape where human settlements need to run like clockwork to guarantee survival. The Chimúdepended on the replenishment of a network of rivers and streams that were fundamental for irrigation and human consumption. Too much water also brought disaster. Changes in the weather spelled doom for the Chimú. In an attempt to make peace with their gods they made an offering of children and warriors. Deutsche Welle reports: “Castillo said in this case he believes they were killed in hopes it would appease the gods and bring an end to El Nino, a cyclical climate pattern that can result in heavy rainfall and storms on the western coasts of South America. His theory is backed up by the fact that soil samples show that the children died during an extremely wet season, and that they were facing the sea”.

Human sacrifice was not uncommon in pre-Columbine civilizations. The Aztecs in what is now Mexico, for example, often sacrificed their own, as well as their adversaries, to their deities.

All hail Pacasmayo: they sacrificed their children to the moon.

Credit: Instagram. @andeanlab

Among the deities that the Chimú worshipped, the moon of Pacasmayo ruled supreme. Because the moon can be seen both during the day and at night, it was believed to be much more powerful than the Sun. Pacasmayo received animal and human sacrifices. Some parents even sacrificed their own children. They believed that through this ritual practice the children, often five years-old, would become deified. The Sun, Mars, Earth and some constellations were also worshipped. The magnitude of the recent discovery implies that the situation was urgent. As Sputnik News Service reports, Gabriel Prieto, professor of archeology from the National University of Trujillo, said: “This number of children, this number of animals—it would have been a massive investment on behalf of the state”.

The Chimú were also very skillful craftsmen, particularly with gold.

Credit: Instagram. @arts_premiers

The Chimú developed large civil engineering projects to irrigate the desert, and they were also very skilled working with metals such as gold, copper, silver, bronze and a mix of copper and gold called tumbaga. To get some of these metals they had to travel for more than three days, which speaks of the reaches of their political power.