Hair has become product women sell to help support their families.
As the economic crisis in Venezuela continues, Venezuelans are trying unconventional methods to make ends meet. According to a video by Vocativ, one way Venezuelans women are making things work is by selling their hair. Reuters reports that the monthly minimum wage for a Venezuelan can dip as low as $6, but selling hair can earn around $21 in Venezuela. Seems like a no-brainer for those who can spare some hair. Some women have even resorted to traveling to Colombia and Panama, where they can sell their hair for higher prices, according to Vocativ. The extreme shortage of basic necessities, like food and toilet paper, has pushed average Venezuelans to make drastic decisions about the way they make money.
“I thought, ‘Whatever God wants. I’m going to cut my hair.’ I had it very long and I said, ‘I’m going to sell it,'” Crismary Gonzalez, a Venezuelan woman who has sold her hair twice, told Reuters. “My children come first, then my hair. Hair grows back.”
Venezuela has been dealing with political and economic turmoil for months as President Nicolas Maduro has taken hold of the government and silenced all political opponents. The South American country recently drew scrutiny after offering millions of dollars in aid to U.S. states and Caribbean islands that have been impacted by recent hurricanes. Some are skeptical about the humanitarian efforts and assume that Venezuela is only doing it to win political points.
Check out Al Jazeera’s report on Venezuelan women selling their hair below.
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Cesar de Leon, a city official from Brownsville, Texas, recently sparked a scandal after being caught on tape using racial slurs. Despite calls for his resignation, de Leon says he will remain in his post.
“There are a couple of [F-word and N-word] that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from,” de Leon says in the recording. “They are coming down to my [F-word] city and now they are trying to [F-word] put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives, which couldn’t be further from the [F-word] truth, but that is how they see us.”
That recording, which was shared on social media, forced Brownsville District Attorney Luis Saenz to comment on de Leon, who works in his office.
“The people of Cameron County expect me to hire the most competent prosecutors that I can find, without regard to their race, and that is what I strive to do. Mr. de Leon’s remarks are very shameful and hurtful,” Saenz said, according to The Brownsville Herald. “It is extremely disappointing that they are made by a lawyer and a representative of the City of Brownsville.”
De Leon did apologize, somewhat, for what he said. He didn’t, however, apologize for actually saying the N-word, only that he the general public had to hear it.
“I want to begin by apologizing,” de Leon said in a statement to The Brownsville Herald. “I want to apologize to the citizens of Brownsville or whoever had to listen to those tapes because there is a lot of profane language and that was a private conversation. It was never meant to be public, but it’s very important that people understand that I’m very apologetic.”
Many lawmakers in the city have expressed they want de Leon to resign.
“I made a terrible mistake, but please believe, I still stand against injustice, unfair, and unlawful treatment of any American regardless of race, religion, age or social standing. I will not stop honoring my commitment to the people of Brownsville, nor will I back down in my fight for our great community.”
According to the Brownsville Herald, the people that were in the commission chambers – mostly made up of residents of Brownsville – applauded de Leon when he was done speaking.