Things That Matter

The Crisis In Venezuela Is Worsening. Here’s What You Should Know Right Now

Juan Barreto / Getty Images

It’s been over a month since the Venezuelan National Assembly enacted a part of the constitution to declare National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela setting off what has been a tumultuous last few weeks. Guaidó has been challenging the legitimacy of sitting President Nicolás Maduro which has resulted in a standoff between the two leaders. The clash of powers and U.S. involvement has plunged the already crisis-ridden country into new depths of chaos. So how did we get here and what’s next for Venezuela?

Government and opposition forces are struggling for political power in Venezuela, a country facing economic chaos and widespread shortages.

CREDIT: Getty Images

After President Maduro was sworn in to a second six-year term in office in early January, Guaidó, 35, declared himself acting president shortly after. By directly challenging Maduro, Guaidó set off a chain of protests and political opposition that have rattled Venezuela.

The country is in the midst of a growing economic crisis that has created a humanitarian crisis. Millions of residents are unable to afford food and medicine which has made the Maduro-Guaidó situation more dire. This downfall began during Maduros’ first term as president back in 2013 as the Venezuelan economy turned south.

These rapidly worsening conditions have led to many Venezuelans leaving the country. Since 2015, more than 3 million have left in search of better opportunities elsewhere, primarily in bordering Colombia.

Residents have taken to the streets over the last month to show their displeasure with Maduro.

CREDIT: Jorge Silva / Reuters

Protests have been occurring in Venezuela more frequently since Maduro was re-elected in January. Many call his re-election a sham due to many opposition candidates being barred from running or even jailed. Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly refused to recognize the election results, calling the election a sham and the presidency vacant. Under Venezuelan rule, since Guaidó is the head of the National Assembly, he took over as acting president in such cases.

The controversial election had many Venezuelans angry and looked toward a new voice. Guaidó, along with the U.S. and a number of other international leaders, say that Maduro isn’t the rightful president. While many are calling for Guaidó to lead, he still has very little power. To this point, Venezuelan forces have remained largely loyal to Maduro and few joined Guaidó’s attempt to take him down.

Even as people are killed and injured in the streets on Venezuela, Maduro has done very little to calm the situation and lead his people out of the crisis. While there are still some that support him, he is losing support as food and the need for medicine become critical issues.

The U.S. is getting involved in the crisis which has raised some questions.

CREDIT: @ISALEHAA / Twitter

The Trump administration was one of the first countries to come out in support of Guaidó, calling him the rightful president. The U.S. has since placed multiple sanctions on Venezuela’s oil reserves. Some have criticized the U.S. involvement with the crisis in Venezuela due of the history the U.S. has had meddling with other countries wars.

President Maduro views the U.S. as a foe and over the weekend continued to refuse it’s delivery of aid, calling it an attempt to gain power over his country. Despite multiple sanctions and even a visit from Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, Maduro refuses to let go of his power.

Things have gotten so bad that Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was detained after Maduro didn’t like some of his questions.

Credit: Twitter/ChroniclesofAzu

Ramos and five other staffers were held for about three hours while interviewing President Maduro on Monday. Reports say Maduro objected to Ramos’ questions about the current political crisis and quickly cut the interview short. Government aides reportedly confiscated the network’s equipment and hold the team’s footage of the interview.

The situation demonstrates the immense pressure and scrutiny President Maduro is under. While Ramos and his team were later released, the action show a clear picture that Maduro doesn’t want to be shown as anything but good for the people of Venezuela.

Where does the country go from here?

Credit: @Techieappy / Twitter

There are many forces at hand in the Venezuelan crisis that include forces inside and outside of the country. The number of military officials leaving President Maduro keeps increasing as they join the thousands leaving for Colombia. The U.S. will continue to send aid and back Guaidó to send a clear message to Maduro.

The real tragedy here is the suffering of the Venezuelan people who are looking for food and aid while the crisis persists. Residents have been seen looking through trashcans for food and are looting stores in desperation. With a failing economy, a corrupt leader at the helm, and rapidly growing inflation, change is desperately needed in Venezuela.

Venezuelans face a tough decision between protesting and exposing themselves to Maduro, stay in hiding, or joining the millions of Venezuelans who have already left the country behind.

READ: Protests Continue In Venezuela As Opposition Forces Try Bringing Down Maduro

Puerto Rico’s Governor Is Ignoring More Than A Million Puerto Ricans As He Refuses To Give Up Power

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico’s Governor Is Ignoring More Than A Million Puerto Ricans As He Refuses To Give Up Power

Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images

Puerto Rico is in full on crisis mode as more than a million Puerto Ricans take to the city streets demanding the governor’s resignation after a series of shocking scandals. Basically every single segment of society has been wronged by the governor and they want him out.

From leaked text messages that were openly misogynistic and homophobic to major allegations of fraud and corruption, Puerto Ricans have had enough and they’re making sure their voices are heard.

Puerto Ricans fed up with their governor took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to protest against their government.

Puerto Rico saw more massive protests on Monday as hundreds of thousands lined the streets following Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s attempt to cling on to power despite resigning as president of the ruling New Progressive party and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.

A general strike took place across the US territory on Monday morning, protesters chanting the now familiar cry of “Ricky renuncia!”, waving flags and banging drums.

For the governor’s part, in a Facebook Live post, he admitted that a “huge portion of the population is unhappy.”

So he announced he won’t run for re-election next year and was resigning as the president of the New Progressive Party. But that did nothing to calm angry protesters, who say they won’t rest until Rosselló resigns.

I mean the crowds are huge!

Monday marked the tenth straight day of massive protests across the island, but most agreed that Monday’s turn out was the biggest yet.

Many were calling it a general strike as more than a million Puerto Ricans (out of a population of 3.4 million) poured into the streets, parks, plazas, and even shopping centers.

Even Bad Bunny, Residente, and Ricky Martin are there showing their support for protesters.

Credit: @CNNEE / Twitter

As occurred last week, a number of Puerto Rico’s biggest recording artists appeared prominently at Monday’s demonstrations. Singers such as Ricky Martin, himself a subject of homophobic ridicule in the leaked messages, and rappers Resident, Bad Bunny and the singer iLe, have become unofficial figureheads in the leaderless movement to oust Rosselló.

“They mocked our dead, they mocked women, they mocked the LGBT community, they made fun of people with physical and mental disabilities, they made fun of obesity. It’s enough,” Martin said in a video posted on Twitter before the march.

“We’re we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep being on the streets until he resigns,” iLe told the Guardian. “He knows he has to go in his heart. I know he knows it.”

Protesters aren’t messing around. They’re taking to the streets and blocking access to major highways.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

Puerto Rico’s largest mall, Plaza de las Américas, closed before Monday’s demonstration along with many other businesses. Last week police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters at a huge rally outside the governor’s residence in the island’s capital, San Juan.

But most people on Twitter were so proud to see the people fighting for their future.

Credit: @ananavarro / Twitter

Puerto Ricans from the island to New York, even to Minnesota, were overwhelmed with pride. Many on social media commented that it was amazing to see so many people speaking up for their dignity and their representation. And speaking out against a government that has violated the trust of so many.

Many were commenting that Puerto Rico was showing the rest of the world how to keep on fighting.

Credit: @tomaskenn / Twitter

And there were definitely a few people who were hoping this style of democracy, of massive protests, would make its way to the mainland to fight back against the inhuman policies of President Trump.

The protests are coming after a series of scandals that left Puerto Ricans completely unhappy with their government.

Demonstrations have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of leaked text messages between the governor and 11 members of his inner circle were published on 13 July.

The messages contain homophobic and sexist slurs against political rivals and cultural figures. They also contain a joke about dead bodies during Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

[Video] A Venezuelan Woman Is Sharing The Story Of Her Mother’s Tragic Death Through A Magically Hypnotic And Dark Act

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[Video] A Venezuelan Woman Is Sharing The Story Of Her Mother’s Tragic Death Through A Magically Hypnotic And Dark Act

daniadiaz.com

Women are magic — particularly Dania Díaz, who brought judges and audience members of “Spain’s Got Talent” to their feet with her entrancing card tricks that also told a heart-rending story.

The Venezuelan native, who had only been living in Spain for a few months before auditioning for the talent show, captivated viewers everywhere. The 28-year-old cleverly shared her story, from being a child in South America who lost her mother, to first discovering and falling in love with magic, to leaving her beloved country in the midst of a crisis to follow her dreams, through a deck of cards, wowing the audience, and at times bringing them to tears, with her incredible presentation.

Díaz shared her story of heart-ache through a magic trick on “Spain’s Got Talent.”

Asombrosa

Lo que hace esta chica emociona a todos! 😱😍

Posted by Lo Mejor De La Red on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“I’m Dania, I’m a magician and I’m from Venezuela,” she says in Spanish while starting her show shuffling cards. 

“Venezuela is a very big country with more than 30 million inhabitants. 31,529,000 to be precise,” enthralling the previously confused audience as she lays out the cards 3,1, 5, 2 and 9.

Díaz, who continues to wow as she describes Venezuela’s sizable waterfalls through her deck, then begins to share her story. She has two brothers, Daniel and Leo, and was raised in a single-parent home.

“My mother was the queen of the house,” she says, pulling out a queen, “and my father, my father was not very present. In fact, I was happy to see him three or four times a month,” sliding his king card away from the queen.

But that’s not the saddest part of Díaz’s story. The magician reveals that at age 10, her mother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

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No solo me vine a reencontrar con mis personas favoritas en esta ciudad, sino que #Venezuela me sigue regalando amigos 🇻🇪 En 2018 conocí a #PattyCardozo una #GuaraEnEspaña, ella me seguía desde mucho antes de migrar a España y yo empecé a hacerlo justo cuando llegué, un día lleno de dudas me senté con ella y creo que fui uno de los tantos venezolanos que han hecho sesión con ella, admiro su proyecto de migracoaching porque atiende el tema emocional, pues no se trata de meter cosas en la maleta, sino de meter tu vida y tus afectos, apenas regresé coincidimos, y como si fueramos amigos de años, sin planificarlo mucho, todo se dio para volver a reirnos juntos. No se pierdan su proyecto en 👉🏼 @patty_cardozo 👜 En 2018 también conocí el talento de #DaniaDiaz que como muchos supimos de ella cuando se viralizó su participación en #SpainGotTalent, era #LaMagaVenezolana que nos sacó una lagrimita de alegría con su destreza en las cartas, con ese momentazo se ganó un lugar en mi #ConteoLos100Del2018 e incluso pasó a la segunda ronda del Top 25 elegido por el público. Llena de proyectos, esta lista para llenar a España con su magia, y si #DePuntoFijoPalMundo, no le pierdan pista como @daniadiaz1 ♣️ Que felicidad verlas emprendiendo, ellas como muchas más, demuestran que las mujeres venezolanas siempre resuelven, aquí nadie quiere que le regalen nada, solo necesitamos la oportunidad de demostrar lo que somos 👊🏼 #VenezolanosEnMadrid #AhoraQuienBajaALaSraDeAhi #ApreciationPostAlTumbaoDeDania

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“Our lives were never the same again. Mine took a 180-degree turn. I think of her 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” she said, effortlessly drawing those numbers from her deck as she spoke.

It wasn’t until the-then child discovered magic that she found happiness again. One day, while watching television,  she saw a magician appear on a program. “My heart jumped for joy. I had fallen in love,” she said, tugging a hearts. 

Díaz has been a practicing magician for the last eight years. She immigrated to Spain, like many who leave Latin America, for an opportunity to fully realize her dreams.

“I came to Spain in search of a future, a future that in my country I could not have anymore. And even though I knew that many things awaited me along the way, what I did not expect was to fall in love: to love its culture, its food, and its people,” she said, flipping her cards to suddenly reveal words and images that illustrated what she was sharing.

The illusionist, who prompted laughter from the astonished crowd when she shared the two countries’ different vernacular, ended her demonstration with some inspiration.

“Despite all these differences, there is something we have in common, and that is that everyone in the world is in search for a dream,” she said, flipping cards to reveal related hand-drawn images. “No matter how chaotic your life is at this moment, I invite you to have a little patience, because little by little your life will take order, everything will have a meaning. I’m telling you, this story has taken me here.”

Díaz’s show left both the audience and some judges in tears. They all stood up in applause chanting “golden pass, golden pass.” She did, indeed, receive the pass and was sent into the semifinal of the auditions.

The performer, who now has more than 110 thousand followers on Instagram, is known around Latin America for her charismatic story-telling magic. In addition to her starlight audition, she has won awards, like the FLASOMA prize, given to her by the Latin American Federation of Magical Societies, as well as rewards from Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and the National Congress of Spain.

Díaz, who has performed in 11 countries, travels the world, bringing astonishment to thousands through her feel-good tricks. 

And she has shown for everyone. According to Díaz’s website, she does performances for families, which includes an interactive experience mixing magic, music, and stories that inspire viewers to laugh and dream; for adults, where she reads minds and swallows balloons; and even for business settings, which could be catered to the mission of the corporations. 

For those magic-lovers who are unable to see her live, Díaz also shows some of her mind-boggling tricks on her YouTube channel and on Instagram.

In one of her latest stunts, she takes on the viral bottle cap challenge, removing the top of a bottle without ever touching its lid. In another, she makes a wildly big coin appear, disappear and reappear in her hand.

After watching her magical short clips, you’ll understand why hundreds of thousands of people from across the world are stunned by the Venezuelan maga.

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