Report: Nearly 80% of Venezuela’s second-largest city without traffic lights thanks to looting electric wires

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MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA- On Monday, November 8th, an exposé published by La Patilla, estimated that as many as 80 percent of traffic lights in the city, which is also the second-largest city in the country, are not actually functional, are in need of repair, or are simply unusable due to residents looting electric wires

La Patilla reported that the result is an anarchic situation in which traffic accidents are a routine occurrence as many cars do not bother to stop at intersections.

The exposé also stated that the socialist mayor of the city, Willy Casanova, has indicated no interest in improving the situation.

He alleges that local residents have accused him of having “dementia” or in some cases, simply faking it, to avoid answering questions about how dangerous the city has become. 

Residents told the news outlet that despite the widespread lack of traffic signals, no police officers or traffic directors observe intersections, indicating that the socialist regime has no interest in making the streets safer for residents.

Maraciabo is the capital of western Zulia state, sitting atop the large lake that bears the same name.

It was the first place in the country to implement public electricity access and home to vast wealth prior to socialism due to the vast oil deposits located in the area. The city is believed to be home to nearly 2.3 million people. 

Resident Danny Montilla told La Patilla in a statement:

“Here in Maracaibo, people drive as if they were crazy, they pass traffic lights at top speed without looking both to both sides. I drive with terror.”

The news outlet noted that electricity in general is hard to come by and in addition to the traffic lights, most streets also have no lights at night, leaving the city in pitch-black darkness. The outlet stated:

“The capital of Zulia state is in a state of total collapse. The streets have no public lighting and the traffic lights are almost totally turned off, so the city enters into darkness once the night falls, which creates a danger for drivers and the few cars circulating in the city.”

The Venezuela news outlet observed that many of the city’s major avenues did not have traffic lights at all, but more were adorned with traffic lights that simply didn’t work. Many of them appeared not to have any electric wires flowing to them, which according to the report, is a product of looting. 

The traffic situation in Maracaibo has been disastrous for years. Old reports indicate that 20 percent of the city’s traffic lights working may be an improvement from the situation in 2018. 

That year, residents and citizen reporters posted impacting videos and photos on social media of the broken lights and the high-speed, dangerous driving that locals were doing in response to having no direction on the roads.

A video of a street corner in 2018 revealed fast driving in densely populated, urban areas, endangering both drivers and pedestrians. Watch below:

The major Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional estimated in 2018 that nearly 90 percent of traffic lights in the city did not work. At the time, the report indicated that the extended power outages that Maracaibo experienced regularly rendered most traffic lights useless. 

The few traffic lights that had power would often only have one functional light, a situation that could potentially make driving even more dangerous if drivers are transiting under the assumption that they will not see a single light turn on. 

El Nacional noted at the time that traffic lights typically last about 30 years or more if properly maintained. That maintenance requires the replacement of deteriorating parts, which the socialist regime had ceased to engage in. 

Venezuela has been a socialist country for over 20 years. Locals have complained that poor traffic direction is the least of Maracaibo’s problems. In 2019, Attorney Manuel Montaño wrote:

“What Maracaibo needed – apart from the electric problem, water gasoline, gas, viability, transport, cash, traffic lights – now we have another ingredient: grenade attacks on businesses and customers. All of this is a product of communism, nobody knows where it ends.”

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. 

And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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“March on the Border”: Texas border rally showcases horrors of child trafficking and child exploitation

September 28th, 2021

MCALLEN, TX- According to reports, more than one hundred visitors and residents in the Texas border city of McAllen attended a rally and march to the border wall to showcase the dangers of child trafficking. 

One guest speaker at the event, Karla Jacinto, recounted her story as a victim of child trafficking at the age of 12.

Retired ICE-Homeland Security Investigations Agent Victor Avila, who survived a brutal cartel attack in Mexico, also spoke to the crowd about child trafficking cases he investigated during his career.

The event, attended by more than one hundred residents and visitors to McAllen, opened with an invocation by Dr. Nilsa Alvarez, who recounted the open cases of missing and exploited migrants.

Dr. Alvarez asked the crowd to pray for those victims and their safe return to desperate family members.

The event culminated with a march to the border wall gate. Karla Jacinto shared intimate details of being a victim of child trafficking after becoming enamored with a man who later forced her into prostitution in Mexico at the age of 12.

She added that a dysfunctional home environment that included sexual and physical abuse made her an easy target for exploitation at a young age. She said the man she initially thought she loved waited three months to finally reveal his plans for her.

The man, she says, forced her into prostitution and at one time forced her to work as a prostitute even while she was pregnant.

She said that after delivering her child, the baby was taken away from her. She added that she was faced with being forced to cross illegally into the United States by her captor on several occasions.

She avoided being trafficked across the border to be exploited further and was ultimately rescued by a person she credits with helping her to find the strength and recognize her self-worth as a human being.

Now, Karla advocates on behalf of victims and shares her story to bring awareness to the issue.

Victor Avila, a retired ICE investigator, survived an attacked by Los Zetas Cartel gunmen in Mexico in 2011. Avila was shot three times in the attack that killed his partner, HSI investigator Jaime Zapata. At the march, Avila told attendees about the process traffickers use to exploit children. He said:

“There is force, fraud, and coercion involved in human trafficking. Sometimes, it’s one, others it’s all three.”

In once case he investigated, Avila explained that human traffickers killed and disposed of a newborn child at a brothel in New York by encasing the baby in concrete. The body was kept where the victims could see it. He said:

“Think about how that affects the victims, the breakdown of the psyche, the mental, physical, emotional state of them. People sometimes think victims are shackled, no, they are mentally coerced.”

The event was coordinated by Landon Starbuck, an artist and advocate for ending child trafficking and exploitation.

Starbuck told Breitbart Texas she is concerned about the lack of advocacy for the thousands of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border. 

Back in July, Border Patrol agents and a remote CBP officer saved a Guatemalan migrant teen from being transferred to a registered sex offender who was listed as her “sponsor.” The girl was apprehended along with a group of 85 migrants who crossed from Mexico into Texas.

The young girl was identified as an unaccompanied minor from Guatemala. The 16-year-old provided agents with the name of a sponsor in California. She claimed the sponsor was a family friend. In a written statement, Border Patrol officials wrote:

“By memory, she provided demographic information of her alleged sponsor, which is rare and raised concern from agents.”

Rio Grande Valley Sector officials said in a statement:

“As more cases of unaccompanied juvenile migrants arise, public awareness is imperative as migrants face dangers each day.

Although we are faced with the rising numbers of apprehensions, our Border Patrol agents utilize their investigative techniques and work collaboratively with other law enforcement authorities to safeguard migrant children.”

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Reports: Migrant children face heartbreaking conditions, disease and sexual abuse in shelters under Biden

June 28th, 2021

TEXAS – Migrant children being detained by the Biden administration along the southern border are reportedly desperate to escape disease-ridden and sex abuse-prone government shelters where even the food is not safe.

The Associated Press (AP) and the BBC are reporting widespread health and safety concerns for children held in shelters as the crisis at the border grows.

According to the AP, more than a dozen immigrant children described conditions one might expect in a third world refugee camp, but not in the most powerful and richest country in the world.

The AP described interviews conducted by immigration advocates with some of the children from the detention locations:

“A 13-year-old Honduran girl who spent two months at the government’s largest emergency shelter for migrant children said she was put on suicide watch and was eating only popsicles and juice because the food smelled so foul.

“At another site, a 17-year-old Salvadoran girl said she had to wear the same clothes and underwear for two weeks and spent most days in bed.”

At another Texas facility, a 16-year-old boy told the AP that he was waiting to be cleared to go live with his sister in New Orleans, but had not visited with a caseworker in over three weeks:

“I am desperate. I wouldn’t mind being here for 20 or 30 days if I knew that I was going to be released soon. But because the process hasn’t started and because I had no idea what’s happening or when the process will start, that makes me feel very, very anxious. I don’t know when this will end.”

Immigration advocates conducted interviews with the children between March and June. Advocates filed the interview reports on Monday in a federal court assigned to monitor custody conditions of unaccompanied minors held in detention.

The Biden administration has claimed that improvements have been made to the shelters, but advocates have argued that the children are being detained too long before being reunited with family, and that living conditions are poor to dangerous.

The administration said it has increased efforts to move the children quickly through the shelters and on to family or licensed long-term care facilities.

The efforts have reduced the number of unaccompanied children in government custody, but in court filings, children described waiting for weeks in facilities without much activity, minimal education, and no information on when they would be released.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pointed to the shelter at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas as a success story. The facility’s occupancy has decreased from about 4,800 unaccompanied children to about 1,600 since April.

The facility reportedly does odd exercise programs, weekly case manager meetings, and a library for children. However, children still report problems.

One Honduran girl on suicide watch at the facility reported that she could not sleep because the lights were always on. She described the food as “horrible,” including soggy salad and foul-smelling bread. The girl said she only eats popsicles and juice.

When the girl filed her report, she had been at the facility for 60 days and claimed she was threatened with a longer time at the facility if she attempted to escape.

She said her uncle in New Mexico completed paperwork for her to live with him, but she is still in the shelter:

“I have been here for a really long time. I really want to leave.”

The BBC investigated Fort Bliss, the county’s largest emergency shelter, and found 12 tents, including some that house hundreds of children at one time. The BBC reported:

“Findings from the BBC’s investigation include allegations of sexual abuse, Covid [coronavirus disease] and lice outbreaks, a child waiting hours for medical attention, a lack of clean clothes, and hungry children being served undercooked meat. The BBC has spoken to camp employees about these conditions and seen photos and video smuggled out by staff.”

One unidentified staff member told the BBC that children feel like they are in prison:

“It is heartbreaking to hear their stories and to see them very plainly suffering and to hear the same kinds of complaints over and over again about things that could be corrected so easily.

“After a child has been here for a few days, they say, ‘you’ve got to get me out of here as soon as possible. I just can’t stand it anymore.’ They feel like they are in a prison.”

Democrats attacked the Trump administration for its handling of unaccompanied children during his term but have remained silent since the inauguration of President Biden.

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Report: Biden offers federal employees months of paid leave to help care for unaccompanied children at the border

April 13, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Biden administration is asking federal employees to pause their normal duties to take paid leave to assist with the processing and caring for an increasing number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the southern border.

Employees who volunteer will serve a fourth-month detail with the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to a memorandum sent out March 25 by Kathleen McGettigan, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The memo reads:

“The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to support the Administration’s urgent efforts to care for and place Unaccompanied Children who have entered the United States via the southern border.

“HHS is seeking interested candidates to serve up to a 120-day voluntary deployment detail as part of the HHS, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Unaccompanied Children (UC) Program.

OPM and HHS are calling upon our Federal Agency family of exceptional public servants to lend support to this humanitarian effort through this detail opportunity.”

The Biden administration has refused to call the situation at the border a crisis, but the numbers are making that refusal difficult to continue. In March, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children at the border, the largest number ever recorded in a single month. The flow of migrant children is expected to continue to grow in the coming weeks.

The federal government has more than 20,000 children in detention facilities. Government projects show there could be more than 35,000 migrant children to care for by June.

This week, the administration reportedly sent emails directly to federal employees asking them to volunteer for paid leave to help care for the unaccompanied minors. The emails were sent to employees at agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and NASA, according to a report by The New York Times.

In the March memo, the administration asked agency supervisors to allow staff to volunteer for the four-month detail, and that each agency would be reimbursed for the expense:

“We are requesting that agencies support this effort by encouraging supervisors to allow interested staff to volunteer for the details.

“We continue to be inspired by the spirit of volunteerism and dedication to public service demonstrated by all those across the federal government who have supported many response efforts in the past.”

President Biden has already deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the border to assist with the growing number of arrivals, but HHS still requires additional staffing. A FEMA spokesman said the agency is doing what it can to support the inflow of minors:

“FEMA is supporting the Department of Health and Human Services’ response to the arrival of unaccompanied children at the southwest border. FEMA is actively engaged with HHS to quickly expand capacity for safe and appropriate shelter, and to provide food, water and basic medical care.”

Despite the administration’s refusal to declare the situation at the border a crisis, Rep. John Katko (R-NY), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, used the FEMA deployment as an opportunity to call out the administration:

“If FEMA is involved, it’s a disaster by definition. The secretary is tasking FEMA to help on the southwest border, it further demonstrates the severity of the situation.”

 

 

 

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