Things That Matter

Venezuela Marches Turns Violent, Protesters Killed And Gassed

Opposition leaders in Venezuela organized what they call the “mother of all protests” on April 19 and thousands of Venezuelans took to the street in solidarity against the Maduro government. Venezuela has experienced violent clashes between citizens and police for two days and Venezuelans protest what many are calling a dictatorship. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro tried to undermine the opposition’s protest by forming his own pro-Maduro rallies. It wasn’t long before the protest turned violent as police shot tear gas into the crowd. So far, there have been two confirmed deaths, both anti-Maduro protesters. Here’s what we know so far about what is happening in Venezuela.

Venezuelans have taken to the streets again to demand a change in government.


On the 207th anniversary of their independence from Spain, Venezuelans are fighting for their freedoms again from the Maduro-led United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The South American country has been embroiled in protests for three weeks after the Supreme Court attempted to strip the opposition-filled National Assembly of power.

Armed Maduro supporters and police officers have instigated violence against the protesters to stop the protests.


April 19’s protests added to the death toll, with a total of 7 protesters being killed on the streets for protesting Maduro’s government the past three weeks. The streets of Caracas, the capitol, were filled with thousands of protesters who marched from 26 different parts of the city in hopes of reaching the Ombudsman’s office in downtown Caracas. Police, like all the other times protesters tried to reach the office, blocked the path and met protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The mounting international and national pressure has started to spark some changes in the Maduro government.


The Supreme Court reversed its decision to strip the National Assembly of their power and now Venezuelans want fresh elections to take their country back from a government accused of attacking its own constitution. Maduro’s government has even prevented the leading opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, from participating in any political activity for the next 15 years by bringing charges of misusing government funds. Capriles, who almost beat Maduro in the 2013 presidential election, adamantly denies the charges saying they are politically motivated and unfounded.

The protests and the actions of the Venezuelan people have caught the attention of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.


“We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people,” Tillerson said in a news conference, according to Reuters. “We are concerned about that situation. We’re watching it closely and working with others to communicate those concerns.”

On April 20, Venezuelans again clogged major streets in cities across the country demanding their freedom.


According to CNN, protesters and the opposition are demanding the National Assembly be given their full power back, the release of all political prisoners, and for the government to hold the elections they have been purposely stalling.

Amid the turmoil and violence, General Motors has ceased operations in the South American country after it was allegedly seized by the government.


As reported by NPR, the motor vehicle industry in Venezuela has taken a severe hit because of the political and economic turmoil. The government had effectively blocked auto makers from the money needed to import parts and handle business as usual. “G.M. strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions to defend its rights,” G.M. told The New York Times in a statement.

The protests are in their third week and we will have to see if the Maduro government will respond to increased pressure.

@inti / Twitter

READ: Fed Up Venezuelans Unite Nationwide To Tell Maduro They’ve Had Enough

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Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

Latidomusic

Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

Carmen De Leon is a rising star hailing from Caracas, Venezuela. The 20-year-old singer moved to Tampa, Florida when she was 10 years old and then two years later moved with her family to Barcelona, Spain and lived there for six years. While in Spain, Carmen found success participating in La Voz, and started to build a following that would tune in every week to see her perform. Then she lived in Mexico for a year, Los Angeles for another year and is now settled in Miami working on her music career.

In an exclusive interview with Latido Music by mitú, Carmen De Leon talked to us about her latest single “Pasado” with Cali y El Dandee, from which she drew inspiration from her very own break-up and reminiscing about the past. We also touched on “Cafecito“, the bittersweet song in memory of her grandparents, her dream collab, and more.

Pasado” is inspired by Carmen De Leon’s real-life breakup.

Carmen recruited Colombian singers Cali y El Dandee for her latest single “Pasado,” blending 80s synthpop with reggaeton, a true popetón hit you can dance to and perhaps cry to.

On working with Cali y El Dandee, Carmen has nothing but praise for the Colombian duo, “they are like my brothers, they’re insanely talented, genuine and humble.”

It was Dandee who actually wanted her to let her feelings all out for the song.

“At that moment while I was writing the song, I was actually breaking up with my boyfriend, and I had Mauricio (Dandee) saying to me: ‘Just tell me more. Whatever you’re texting him, say it out loud so we have the right words for the song’ and that’s what we did,” Carmen says.

Just like the lyrics of the song long about the past, so did the music video which was purposely made in the film to capture the “old vibe” they were seeking to portray.

Carmen feels like this is the best song that she has made in her entire life. “It’s changed my life in a way because it’s opened me up to new audiences and I love seeing people react to it and relate to it.”

Earlier this year, Carmen released “Cafecito” which isn’t about your beloved morning beverage.

Most of us would read the title “Cafecito” and think it’s just an upbeat morning pick-me-up song, but it isn’t. “Cafecito” is a bittersweet single that Carmen says she wrote, “at 4 a.m. in the middle of a hurricane because I missed my grandparents so much, and I wanted to write about what it feels like to lose someone.”

While her abuelitos were the main inspiration behind the lyrics, the song does capture the feeling of loss that could apply to those of us losing a friendship, relationship, etc.

Before I even finish the question about her dream collaboration, Carmen excitedly yelled “Camilo!,” which also happens to be one of her favorite covers she’s posted on her YouTube channel.

Carmen’s dad chimed in the interview as well to plug in his favorite cover, which is “Graveyard” by Halsey.

We can only hope that Carmen DeLeon and Camilo collab happens and that this article serves as manifestation for it.

Good luck with everything, Carmen!

READ: Mon Laferte Talks Regional Mexican Album ‘Seis’ and Singing With Gloria Trevi

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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