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

After Racist Chants At A Trump Rally Directed At Rep. Omar, Cardi B Has Come Out Supporting The Congresswoman

Entertainment

After Racist Chants At A Trump Rally Directed At Rep. Omar, Cardi B Has Come Out Supporting The Congresswoman

@ilhanmn Instagram / Presley Ann / Stringer Getty Images

As President Trump continues to lead a national racist attack on progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar, Cardi B showed her support for the Minnesota congresswoman with a simple Instagram post.

Within hours, #IStandWithIlhan was trending on Twitter, with public figures and fellow politicians weighing in.

Cardi B was one of the very first people to show her support for Omar.

In typical badass fashion, the “Press” singer quoted Beyonce when posting in support of Omar on Instagram, sharing a photo and writing, “You know you that b**** when you cause all this conversation.”

This is not the first time this week Cardi B, born Belcalis Almánzar, has weighed in on politics. The Bronx-born rapper tweeted Tuesday that she was “really sad” that Democratic voters “let down” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the 2016 presidential primary.

She wrote that the senator has “been fighting for equal rights, HUMAN rights for such along time.”

“Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign,” she added.

Cardi B’s appreciation post comes after a disgusting rally where Trump continued with his racist rhetoric.

Credit: @AlmaNiqabae / Twitter

Trump held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Greeneville, North Carolina. During the rally, Trump continued to rant against Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressly and Rashia Tlaib, who have become known as “the squad.”

“Let ’em leave… they’re always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to do that. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell ’em to leave it,” Trump said of the congresswomen.

Although Trump spent time going after each woman individually, only his attack on Omar elicited an offensive chant from the crowd.

“Omar smeared U.S. service members in ‘Black Hawk Down.’ She slandered the brave Americans trying to keep peace in Somalia,” Trump said of Omar.

Trump paused his speech to let the chant continue.

The president also claimed Omar blamed America for the economic crisis in Venezuela and she refused to condemn Al Qaeda. As the president ripped into Omar, people in the crowd began chanting “send her back” in the same way that they chanted “lock her up” during his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

After, Omar responded to the chants at the rally by tweeting, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!” along with a photo of her on the House floor.

Cardi B fans have been stanning extra hard after her post.

Credit: @yashar / Twitter

To see this strong woman of color come to defend one of Trump’s most vocal opponents sent me any people into a frenzy. Her tweet was simple yet totally summed up what so many of us are thinking and feeling.

I mean she quoted the Queen Bey in her post. Like OMG.

That is some mad stanning right there. Quoting Beyonce lyrics to support a woman of color suffering racist attacks from the President of the United States and his supporters…it doesn’t get more powerful than that.

Cardi B’s favored presidential candidate always weighed in on Trump’s remarks about Omar.

Credit: @SenSanders / Twitter

Cardi B has been pretty vocal about her support of Bernie Sanders for president. She recently said about Bernie, “Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign.”

READ: Cardi B Stands Behind Bernie Sanders Because Of His Desire To Fight For All People And Their Rights

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

Things That Matter

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

@domesticworkers / Twitter

After over a decade of lobbying, The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) work is on the verge of paying off. This week, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

The bill would effectively include domestic workers as worthy of the same rights as other American workers–including “paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, meal and rest breaks, earned sick time, and freedom for workplace harassment,” according to NDWA.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is leading the charge to ensure this bill is passed into law.

Credit: @RepJayapal / Twitter

“Did you know most domestic workers are not covered by federal anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? Well we’re pushing back to change that,” tweets Rep. Jayapal. “My #DomesticWorkersBillofRights will give domestic workers the protections they deserve!”

The bill would grant basic worker’s rights to 2.5 million people in the U.S.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Of those 2.5 million people, 91 percent are women, mostly women of color. Given that domestic workers aren’t required to be paid even minimum wage, and that their work doesn’t include benefits like health insurance, it’s important to make sure every worker earns a living wage. According to NDWA, 70 percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour.

The workers who do the heavy lifting in the shadows of our economy may finally be recognized as worthy of rights.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

NDWA has worked hard over the years to make it easier for domestic workers (home care workers, nannies and house cleaners). They even created a web app that would allow clients to contribute to a PTO and benefit fund for domestic workers. This bill would ensure that the government is advocating for every worker, so that domestic workers don’t have to fight so hard to advocate for themselves.

Members of the group broke off to meet with their representative.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“We had a powerful meeting with @timkaine where our members in Virginia shared stories about abuse and exploitation in the workplace,” the organization tweeted. “Every single worker deserves to work safely and with dignity. Onward to a National #DomesticWorkersBillOfRights!”

The group met with AOC, who opened up about how the bill would help “little girls like [her].”

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“My mom was a domestic worker,” she tells the group. “As a child I grew up reading books on the staircases of other people’s homes, and doing homework on other people’s dinner tables, because my mom was pursuing domestic work so that I could go on field trips and have a future.”

For AOC, this bill is about reparations for a group of people who often go unseen in this world.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

She praised the group for their advocacy, saying, “When you all are fighting for this, you’re fighting for little girls like me. You’re putting a shirt on a little girl like me’s back. I can’t tell you the reparations it has to see people who are used to being unseen and that’s what this bill does.”

The group also live-tweeted a conversation between several domestic workers and Rep. Jayapal.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

The stories were shocking. A nanny named Thaty shared her experience, saying that “being a nanny takes so much hard work. I don’t know many people who can handle caring for 5 kids under 5 years old! But our work is still considered unskilled. We need to bring our work out of the shadows — so everyone can know what we do and how hard we work.”

Jayapal touched on something deeper than granting legal rights–this issue is about overdue respect.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

So many families rely on domestic workers to come home to a clean home, safe and cared-for children, and more. They’re often not seen as employees but rather, “the help.”

But “The Help” encounter medical issues and injuries while on the job, without any legal protections.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Domestic workers are not included in federal protections for workers injured while on the job. So when Sylvia shared that she never fully recovered from a bad fall on the job, and though it impedes her ability to continue to work, she just has to grimace through it.

That same Sylvia is an inspiration. She told Rep. Jayapal that her experience “meeting workers who felt too vulnerable at work to raise their own voices forced me to be brave enough to raise my own voice, for me and for them. That’s why I’m part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.”

We’re rooting for you!

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

As Latinos, so many of our own moms, tías or abuelas have driven this industry that, frankly, serves as the backbone to our economy. They offer support to middle and upper-class families who have money but don’t have time, and their work supports our families. Time to give some respect.

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