Things That Matter

Venezuelan Blackout Claims 21 Lives, Opposition Leaders Blame Maduro Regime

Edilzon Gamez / Getty Images

Venezuela was thrown into darkness over the weekend as power failed across the South American government. Power went out abruptly on Thursday night leading to chaos and desperation in a country already facing a prolonged and debilitating crisis. The blackout worsened the already troubled mess gripping Venezuela. So far, 21 people have died because of the blackout according to opposition leaders.

Power outages have left Venezuela crippled since they were first reported on Thursday afternoon.

Venezuelans continue to flee the failing South American country with no hope for a future in their homeland. Some parts of Venezuela have been without power for almost five days. The power outage is the last straw for some Venezuelans who have been holding out for Venezuela’s success and President Nicolás Maduro’s inevitable defeat.

The power outage has devatasted the already strained and failing healtchare system in Venezuela.

Credit: @MariaCorinaYA / Twitter

María Corina Machado, an outspoken member fo the opposition party, tweeted about the reality of what the power outage looks like for the vulnerable people in Venezuela.

“And the babies in incubators? And the patients in intensive care? And those who require dialysis today? And those who need to keep their chemotherapy medications in the refrigerator? You are responsible for these deaths,” Machado tweeted. “You will face justice.”

One video of a woman carrying her 22-pound 19-year-old daughter’s body is showing the human toll the crisis and political struggle is causing in Venezuela.

According to Daily Mail, Elizabeth Díaz watched her daughter die in her arms during the power outage. The daughter was suffering from cerebral paralysis and severe malnourishment when she fell ill on Saturday. Despite going to two different medical facilities, Díaz was turned away by medical professionals due to the power outage and walked to a local morgue. Her daughter’s body is still in the morgue since she can’t afford a burial for her daughter.

Venezuelans living abroad has tweeted the impact the power outage has had on their family’s lives.

Credit: @gabyurdaneta / Twitter

The Venezuelan blackout is being blamed on mismanagement and corruption within the Maduro regime that has crippled the Venezuelan economy. Venezuelans have taken to the streets in recent years demanding that Maduro step down as the country’s president but he has refused to let go of power.

Maduro and his government officials are blaming the blackout on an orchestrated cyber attack led by the U.S. government and the opposition.

“The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA,” tweeted Mike Pompeo, the Secretart of State, in response to Maduro’s claims of U.S. interference. “It’s not because of Colombia. It’s not Ecuador or Brazil, Europe or anywhere else. Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime’s incompetence.”

Doctors are working in the dark to help patients in need during the blackout.

The Venezuelan government has not given citizens nor the international community an indication of how long the power will remain out in the country. Videos of women giving birth in dark hospitals throughout the country are being shared on social media.

There are reports that newborn babies and vulnerable patients are dying in hospitals in Venezuela due to the lack of power.

The blackout was reportedly caused by a failure at the San Geronimo B substation.

San Geronimo B produces 80 percent of the electrical power for Venezuela and the substation has been down since Thursday. There is no idea when the substation will be back online. Employees are the substation were sent home indefinitely as the country stayed dark throughout the weekend.

President Nicolás Maduro is claiming that the government is fighting to get the elctical system back online.

Credit: @NicolasMaduro / Twitter

“We continue to wage a strong battle to free the National Electrical System,” Maduro tweeted. “Progressively, we are working to prevent and protect the system from attacks intending to block the reconnection. With hard work, love, and resistance, we will overcome.”

Interim President Juan Guaidó took to Twitter to share is concern about the ongoing crisis.

Credit: @jguaido / Twitter

“Without light, water, food, the desperation can lead people to a limited state of taking sustenance for themselves,” Guaidó tweeted. “The reports coming out of various cities are consistent of the usurping regime continues to impede on the solution of the crisis.”

There is no end in sight, according to some experts, and the world waits to see if Venezuela will find their way out of this power crisis.

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

Latinos Could Totally Own The Democratic Primary And The Candidates Know It

Things That Matter

Latinos Could Totally Own The Democratic Primary And The Candidates Know It

We are less than a year and a half away from the 2020 presidential election, and while the  incumbent President of the United States, real estate mogul and media personality turned politician Donald J. Trump is already tocando los tambores de guerra by attacking the  leading Democratic contenders, his potential opponents are still attacking each other. All around the country campaign offices are trying to come up with the best strategies, and have realizes that one key demographic for 2020 will be the Latino vote. 

As Jonathan Allen argues in NBC News : “Depending on how the race unfolds, Latinos might even end up being the key to the contest. That’s a function mostly of heavily Hispanic states, including California and Texas, moving up on the primary calendar at the same time that the chances for a protracted, delegate-by-delegate fight among several candidates appear to be more likely than ever. The possibility of African American voters splitting among several candidates for the first time in several presidential primary cycles also raises the stakes for candidates in trying to get an edge with Latino voters”. 

The candidates better start brushing up on their Spanish! (but please, no terrible gringo accents, porfavorcito). As Aida Chavez states in The Intercept after the debates a few weeks ago: “The desire to connect with Latinx voters was apparent in this week’s presidential debates, when several contenders made a direct appeal to the growing electorate by answering questions in Spanish on the national stage”. 

Latinos are a big, strong, decisive voting force for 2020: there will be 2 million more eligible Latino voters than African-American voters.

Credit: @abcfamily / Giphy

Just think about this: about 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election, which is about 13 percent of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center. By contrast, African-American voters will have 30 million eligible voters. Just let that sink in for a minute. 

According to a poll released by Univision after the debates, Kamala Harris seems to be getting her message across to Latino voters.

Credit: Univision

The message to take away from this poll is that Harris was perceived as the winner of the debates over the only candidate with a recognizably Latino name, Julian Castro. Her identity as a powerful, independent, woman of color might be seeping into the Latino preference. This is an election about ideas rather than looks, and also an election about who seems better prepared to take on Trump, and if Latino voters start imagining Harris debating Trump and holding her ground, well, things might get interesting. 

And yes, the race among Democratic candidates is tight and getting tighter, with at least three clear frontrunners.

Credit: RealClearPolitics

Unless something really dramatic happens, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris will be the candidate. They are the ones polling the highest in the race for the nomination and whom Trump has directed his attacks against. 

It is clear that immigration will be the main issue in this election and Elzabeth Warren took the first step by announcing an ambitious and humane immigration plan.

Credit: Giphy

Unless a major international conflict arises before the election, immigration policies, including how undocumented migrants are treated after being detained at the border, will be the main issue. Elizabeth Warren took the first step by announcing her sweeping immigration plan.  She wrote in a post on Medium when announcing what immigration policy would look like under a Warren administration: “We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies. But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.” 

As we reported at the time: “This is a very intelligent approach to immigration, as it appeals to both those worried about the economy and how the United States can respond to the competition of global markets, and to the voters who consider current zero-tolerance policies, including ICE raids, inadmissible”. 

But others are falling far behind: enter Bernie Sanders and his big “socialist” problem among Latinos.

One of the big mistakes that many politicians make while trying to woo the Latino vote is assuming that all Latinos fall on the same end of the political spectrum. Bernie Sanders has certainly been guilty of this by failing to recognize that many Latinos, particularly powerful pockets of influence in places like Florida, actually despise left-wing politicians. As NF News argued: “Declaring yourself left-wing may be attractive among an American youth who have never lived under a socialist regime. But among Latino voters who have been exiled from left-wing regimes, this has consequences. This was demonstrated by the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who is the co-chair of the campaign by presidential pre-candidate Bernie Sanders, Carmen Yulín Cruz, when she refused to acknowledge that she and Sanders are socialists. Both Cruz and Sanders have refused to condemn the dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela. Instead, Cruz chose to compare the humanitarian crisis facing Venezuela with poverty in Puerto Rico”. 

This is a big misstep, as Florida in particular is a key state for this and any other election, and Democratic voters are wary of candidates who might perform poorly in the state (remember Bush-Gore anyone?). 

There are some voices of reason in Sander’s campaign, as reported by The Intercept in an interview with Chuck Rocha, a senior Sanders adviser. “: “We know that we’re going to communicate with young Latinos in English, we know we’re going to communicate with young Latinos in Spanish. We also understand the cultural differences between Latinos in Des Moines, Iowa, and Latinos in the East Side of Las Vegas.”

The no-show: Joe Biden?

The former Vice President has sent conflicting messages on how important the Latino vote is for his campaign. On one hand, as reported by NBC News, “Biden’s outreach has included a fully bilingual website, bilingual advertising and the first candidate meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus”. On the other, he has missed key appearances at events where he could reach to Latino Democrats. As reported by The Boston Globe, he was a no-show at  “an important forum hosted by the Spanish-language network Telemundo and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials that drew more than 800 of the nation’s top Latino policy makers and strategists”. Sanders and Warren attended. This lack of engagement could cost him dearly, as noted by the same publication: 

Denise Diaz, a 32-year-old city councilwoman from South Gate, Calif., said this was the second time Biden had disappointed her. The first was when he skipped California’s Democratic convention three weeks earlier.

“I have really changed my opinion in supporting him,” she said. “I am looking for someone who is relatable, has boots on the ground, and is accessible.”

You know what they say: camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente. 

This Twitter User Pointed Out That the X-Men Is An Allegory For the Hate and Violence Minorities Experience In Our Society

Things That Matter

This Twitter User Pointed Out That the X-Men Is An Allegory For the Hate and Violence Minorities Experience In Our Society

With the wrap-up of Comic-Con 2019, we’ve still got comics and all things fandom on our minds. We’re, of course, big fans of comic giant Marvel. The company has long been the innovator in its industry and artists like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Sana Amanat, and Scott Lobdell have created art and stories that push their narratives towards real-life issues. Racism, sexism, ableism and general bigotry have been addressed in the pages of their comics. They’ve made readers stop and look at the similarities between these fictional worlds and our real one.

“The X-Men,” especially, is one title that explores these concepts. At its core, “X-Men” is about taking the outcasts of society and making them superheroes via what makes them different. Still, despite their roles as heroes, the mutants of X-Men are seen as dangerous outsiders who need to hide who they are or risk being targeted by radicalized and violent bigots. Sound familiar?

This Twitter user noticed the similarities in themes between old “X-Men” cartoons from 25 years ago and our current society.

Twitter / @tyewang

Twitter user Tye Wang noticed these signs while watching “X-men: The Animated Series.” They read “Go Home!” and “Mutant Go Back To Where You Came From.” He pointed out that the observations from the cartoon — especially concerning race relations — reflect our current world.

Wang shared the dialogue that went along with the images:

“The assassin was Gambit, but ALL mutants get blamed. People are afraid, they want action, they want to protect, they want revenge.”

The scene goes on to discuss mutant laws being passed to “protect” non-mutants from “dangerous and criminal mutants.” It’s clearly an allegory for how society reacts to both migrants looking for sanctuary in our country and those who have immigrated here legally and have become citizens.

We’ve recently seen this racist trope used by the American president.

Twitter / @nowthisnews

On July 14, 2019, Donald Trump went on a racially charged Twitter rant aimed at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow congresswomen. In the rant, the president asked of the women, “Why don’t they go back.” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Tlaib, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Omar are all women of color and are American citizens. However, since they have been vocal on many social issues that they hope to see changed, the president attacked the group — quickly latching on to a phrase that racists have long used against Black and Brown people.

During the major immigration period of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, America had open borders.

In this time, migrants came from Europe in mass quantities. The president’s own mother and father are members of this major immigration. Some of these migrants were persecuted for their mother country. Some received the same threats that today’s migrants face.

However, the focus for racist hate soon turned towards Latinx people, Black people and other brown members of society. Despite their own exodus, white Americans told Black and brown folks to go back home. Never mind that the border crossed over into native land. Never mind that Black people were brought over in chains. It was just another excuse to accuse “outsiders” for the world’s problems.

These issues are the same ones that members of the X-Men faced in their adventures.

Twitter / @SlimJim2123

It wasn’t just fighting Magneto and the Evil Brotherhood of Mutants. The X-Men also took on societal issues. Creator Stan Lee imagined the mutants to be a stand-in for minorities so it was natural that the heroes faced issues that marginalized groups experience.

Raised in Harlem and Cairo, weather-themed superhero, Storm, experienced the intersections of social injustice as a Black mutant woman. She faced prejudice from those who saw her as a dangerous mutant as well as those who saw her as someone who didn’t belong in America.

She also faced discrimination as a woman. The topic of wage equality came into the original ’70s and ’80s run of “The X-Men.” Forty or so years later and wage equality between the sexes and the races continues to be an issue; proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The hate that we see in today’s anti-immigrant mentality is the same that the X-men experienced back in their origins.

Twitter / @tertiarymap

During the original run of “X-Men: The Animated Series,” the mutant Jubilee faced an unfortunately familiar sentiment. While trapped by anti-mutant extremists, the hero asked, “Why do you hate us? What did we ever do to you?” The response she got was that she was hated for being born a mutant, something she has no control over.

This is the same hate that racists aim at Black and brown people. They are not judged by their character or their actions, but on the fact that they were born different. Whether born in a different place or born a different race, just like the bigots in “X-Men,” racists only care about what makes us different. Some things never change.

Paid Promoted Stories

  1. Jimmy says:

    Greetings from Idaho! I'm bored to tears at work so
    I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.
    I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI,
    just 3G .. Anyhow, wonderful site! It's perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be
    happy. I've learn this submit and if I may just I desire to counsel you some interesting
    things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it! These are actually great ideas in regarding blogging.
    You have touched some nice things here. Any way keep up wrinting.
    http://aoc.com