Things That Matter

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Yesterday saw police in Colombia arrest two people in connection to the death of Orley García, the mayoral candidate for the municipality of Toledo. But the wildest thing is that García isn’t the first mayoral candidate to have been killed this election cycle in Colombia. In fact, he’s actually the sixth

The most heartbreaking death was that of Karina García.

Pinterest / The Guardian

The 32-year-old was running to be the first female mayor in the rural municipality of Toledo when she was attacked. Following a day of campaigning on September 1, García was returning to her hometown of Suarez when the car she was traveling in was shot at, before being set on fire. Six people died from the attack, including García’s mother, three local activists and a candidate for the municipal council, who were also in the car at the time. According to authorities, a grenade was used in the attack. Somehow, though, García’s bodyguard, who was driving the vehicle, survived.

Before she was killed, Karina reported receiving threats and asked for security.

Twitter / @JZulver

A reward of almost $44,000 has been offered for information leading to the capture of the dissidents who were responsible for the murder of Karina García, who is survived by her husband and three year old son. It seems like a case of too little, too late, though, as García had already reported to authorities that she was on the receiving end of death threats. It was only in August that four armed men confronted members of her campaign, ordering them to take down banners and posters supporting her candidacy. García took to social media, calling on authorities to protect her and her fellow candidates against harm. “Please, for God’s sake, don’t act so irresponsibly,” she said in a video posted to Facebook on August 24. “This can bring fatal consequences for me.”

Authorities are blaming the killings on FARC rebels.

Instagram / @stern

And just who are FARC? The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, on the most fundamental level, are a guerilla movement that began in 1964. Motivated by Marxist-Leninist leanings, on paper they’re a peasant force that promotes anti-imperialism. However, what this means in practice is that they kidnap, ransom, drug run and extort their way into opposing Colombian authorities and consolidating power. By the time 2016 rolled around though, the group was running out of steam. This led to a ceasefire accord between FARC and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. June 2017 saw FARC hand over its weapons to the United Nations.

Yes, FARC legitimized itself legally but several dissidents disagree with that decision.

Instagram / @leperejulot

Obviously, that’s not the end of the story. Despite the peace deal, and despite the fact that FARC had officially announced its transformation into a legal, political party, there are still plenty of dissidents out there who disagree with the change and still operate under the original FARC doctrine. What’s most likely sparked the recent mayoral candidate killings is FARC’s announcement, on Youtube no less, that it’s resorting to violence due to the Colombian government’s failure to comply with the peace agreements from 2016. Of course, Colombian officials heartily disagreed with this statement, and responded with offensive strikes against FARC.

This has basically turned into tic for tac killing.

Twitter / @Citytv

And the repercussions of the violence and killings are far-reaching. Beyond the devastated friends and family left behind, this also spells trouble for the democratic process in Colombia. Because who’s going to risk running for office, if they’re risking not only their own life, but the lives of their friends, family and coworkers? And who’s going to even consider turning up to vote, when the candidates themselves are being murdered, left, right, and center? It’s hard to conceive of cultural and legislative change in a country where part of what needs to be changed is what’s preventing change in the first place.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is the exact kind of violence that people are fleeing when they arrive at the US border and make an appeal for asylum.

Instagram / @every_day_donald_trump

It’s a legitimate fear: the operation of gangs and cartels negatively impacts on the safety of the citizenry, as well as influencing the way that the entire country can be governed. However, because US legislation under the Trump administration states that asylum seekers cannot be granted refuge against gang violence, it means that these people have no choice but to go back to their country of origin and continue to risk theirs and their family’s lives. Something’s gotta give – otherwise, we’re going to see a lot more deaths at the hands of these gangs.

At this stage, we can only keep our eyes peeled for more news coming out from Colombia, as the elections are to be held October 27, across almost 1,100 municipalities. Unfortunately, with the murder of the sixth mayoral candidate in Colombia, this marks an even more violent election season than that of 2015, which saw the deaths of five mayoral candidates.

Stevey Harvey Made a Tacky Joke About Miss Colombia and the Internet Isn’t Having It

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Stevey Harvey Made a Tacky Joke About Miss Colombia and the Internet Isn’t Having It

Dailymail / Twitter

After the 2015 Miss Universe disaster where Steve Harvey erroneously crowned Miss Colombia? who? the winner of the pageant when Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach was actually the winner, we assumed that Harvey would try to be on his best behavior from now on. But of course, Steve Harvey being Steve Harvey, he couldn’t play it straight for too long. And, once again, he’s embroiled himself in another controversy–again, involving Miss Colombia.

From the get-go, Harvey started off his hosting gig awkwardly, immediately addressing his 2015 headline-making mix-up. He then proceeded to make an off-color joke about the fiasco. “Colombia’s gotten over that. They’ve forgiven me,” he quipped. “Well, not all of them. The cartel’s still tripping a little bit”. 

As if this opening joke weren’t offensive enough, Harvey continued to rag on Colombia when announcing that Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur had qualified for the Top 20. 

After being announced, Tafur approached Steve Harvey, joking with him a little about his his famous absentmindedness. “Yes, I’m here,” she joked. “Are you sure you read correctly? Should I go back?”.

Harvey admitted to Tafur that he was “struggling” with his hosting duties, to which Tafur replied, “You’re forgiven”. Sensing an opportunity to shoe-horn in another narco joke, Harvey said: “You’ve forgiven me, not the cartel…They’re not handling it the same way.”

Tafur, although she looked as if she were trying to be a good sport and smile it off, appeared to become a bit more frozen after he cracked the joke. It also should be noted that the audience didn’t seem to respond well to the joke–there was little laughter to be heard coming from the crowd.

The backlash to Harvey’s joke was swift, with Colombians accusing the comedian of perpetuating negative stereotypes about  their beloved South American country.

The truth is, pageantry is an important aspect of many Latino cultures–especially ones in South America. Part of the reason that many of these women join pageants is to be a positive representation of their country for the rest of the world. 

There is even a “National Costume Show” portion of the competition where contestants dress up in outfits that illustrate an authentic aspect of the culture of their home country. No country is perfect and the pageant isn’t meant shouldn’t be turned into a platform to single out a country and bring attention to its flaws.

Miss Colombia, for her part, took to Twitter herself to drag Harvey for his offensive joke. 

Although many people still associate Colombia drugs, gangs, and violence, its murder rate has fallen to 25% in the last 25 years. In 2016, the Colombian government and the guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace treaty with the goal of putting an end to a violent civil war that has last 52 years. The treaty included switch illegal crops like coca with alternatives, hopefully minimizing opportunity for drug traffickers. Since then, Colombia’s homicide rate has dropped to an all-time low

Not only was the audience unimpressed with Harvey’s inappropriate joke, but Twitter was too.

It’s one thing to slip up once, make an inappropriate joke, and then stop after you’ve learned the error of your ways. Harvey continued to make Colombia the butt of his jokes and he crossed the line. 

This person made a point to call out Steve Harvey for trying to embarrass Colombia on a worldwide stage. 

Miss Colombia is chosen to be a representative about the best parts of her country. Tafur has nothing to do with cartels. 

This person explained how Harvey’s “joke” was disrespectful to actual victims and survivors of cartel violence.

Believe it or not, cartel violence is an epidemic in Colombia. We guarantee that if Harvey experience the violence in person, he wouldn’t be making light of the situation on international TV.

In an event as globally inclusive as Miss Universe, it’s imperative to recognize that no country is perfect.

Colombians are tired of being thought of as narcos and drug addicts in the eyes of the world. 

This Twitter user was full of kind words for a woman who handled an uncomfortable situation with such grace

I like how @IAmSteveHarvey makes a joke about the cartel to #MissColombia and then cut to her package and she’s like “I’m a lawyer and have been fighting violence in my country.” Get it girl. And Steve, sit down man. #MissUniverse

Head Of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Says Rock Music Causes Abortions

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Head Of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Says Rock Music Causes Abortions

IMDB

One of President Jair Bolsonaro’s top officials, the head of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Dante Mantovani says rock music leads to satanism and abortions. The right-wing conspiracy posits that the social theorist Theodore Adorno, who was influenced by Karl Marx, wrote the entire Beatles’ song catalog to destroy Western civilization. It is completely unfounded and totally fabricated.

Mantovani shared a video on his personal YouTube page explaining how rock music leads to abortions which leads to Satanism. The 11-minute video accuses Elvis Presley and John Lennon of being affiliated with the devil. 

Mantovani says rock music destroyed American values in the 1960s.

“Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions,” Mantovani said. “At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism.” 

On December 2nd, Bolsanaro appointed Mantovani to oversee Funarte, an organization founded in 1975. Once under the Ministry of Culture, after Bolsonaro’s administration eliminated that agency, it is now under the subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship according to CNN. The purpose of Funarte is to, “promote and incentivize the production, practice, development and diffusion of the arts throughout the country.”

Mantovani lambasted artists like John Lennon and Elvis Presley for introducing behaviors like “hip-shaking” that leads to satanism.  “Lennon openly said, more than once, that he made a pact with the devil — with Satan, in order to be famous and successful,” he says. “In the 1950’s this so-called Elvis Presley emerges with rock music that makes everyone bounce and shake their hips. This is when certain behaviors start being introduced — Elvis Presley, for instance, died of an overdose.”

This isn’t the first time Mantovani has disparaged rock music.

Mantovani seems to believe that there is too much rhythm in rock music which causes people to beat each other. 

“What happens with rock is that the rhythm is always very repetitive. When a musical genre is more based on rhythm it speaks more to the body than the soul,” Mantovani says in a video from 2018 named “Is Rock Music?” “That’s why you see in rock shows people jumping, sometimes hitting each other — in punk rock there is the tradition of people beating each other and then leaving as old friends.” 

The issue with Mantovani’s bizarre views is that they could influence polices. He will oversee initiatives for music events and he is responsible for allocating government funds to music and the arts. In the past, artists have been able to receive up to 60 million Brazilian reals ($14 million) in funding from the government, although Bolsonaro has recently slashed that number. 

The government official also blames the American CIA for spreading the psychedelic drug LSD at Woodstock 1969. 

“Woodstock, that festival from the 1960s that gather a bunch of people, where hippies took drugs and LSD — there are certain theories that suggest that the large scale distribution of the drug was actually carried out by the CIA,” he says in the video. 

Of course, Mantovani is willing to make exceptions for his personal favorites: Metallica and Angra. 

Mantovani claims Metallica and Angra are the exceptions to the rule because they’re good to listen to “when you’re driving in traffic” or “feeling a bit tired.” Angra bassist Felipe Andreoli responded on Instagram, saying he was embarrassed to even be affiliated with the head of Funarte. 

“So much ignorance, so much disinformation, SO EMBARRASSED to have my band associated in any way with this guy. I’m not going to waste my time attacking his comments because, those of us who live off of and know about rock music know that he is delirious,” CNN translated. “It scares me to see such a retrograde, fanatical person in such an important position for our country’s culture.”

Newsweek believes the conspiracy theory, that Adorno wrote the Beatles’ music with Marxist undertones, began to spread amongst the right in Brazil this September, a month before Mantovani made his video. Olavo de Carvalho a mentor of Bolsonaro and a right-wing extremist who once said Pepsi used stem cells from aborted fetuses as sweetener, spread the Beatles conspiracy. However, the conspiracy itself is fairly old.

“The theory seems to have originated with The Committee of 300, a book by supposed ex-MI6 agent John Coleman,” according to Rock Nerd. “This reveals how Adorno, in fact, masterminded the whole British Invasion of the 1960s, although apparently for that the Tavistock Institute (which Adorno had nothing to do with outside the works of conspiracists) was the work of Jesuits rather than Jews. Or perhaps, if you ask Henry Makow, the Illuminati.” 

Newsweek suggests it is unsurprising Mantovani would espouse such strange rhetoric when many in Bolsonaro’s administration seem to be obsessed with rigid, so-called traditional values.