Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
Helene Villalonga decided she had to get out of Venezuela for a while when two men, one brandishing a gun, showed up at her party rental business and told her to stop working for local politicians opposed to then-President Hugo Chavez.
Villalonga put a sign in the window of her business that said “closed for vacation” and set off with her two youngest children to the U.S., figuring she would be gone a few weeks.
But it hasn’t worked out like she expected. The weeks turned into months and then years. As Venezuela started a massive downward spiral, she and many other Venezuelans put down deeper roots in the U.S.
In a demographic trend that has political and economic implications back in their South American country, a growing number say they may never return.
“I would like to return to Venezuela like it was, but that place doesn’t exist anymore,” said Villalonga, a Florida resident who has helped organize voting among her fellow exiles. “I’ll never see it now.”
This is a profound shift. Venezuelans used to typically come to the U.S. to visit or study. Their country offered its more fortunate citizens a lifestyle and economy that was better than virtually anywhere else in Latin America. Its people visited Florida to go shopping and see Disneyworld like tourists from Europe, and then they went home.
But more recent arrivals are starting to acknowledge a bitter reality: Conditions in the South American country have forced many to conclude that their future is overseas. “It is beyond what anyone ever imagined,” said Veronica Huerta, a 57-year-old in Miami who fled in 2003. “To go back now would be very hard.”
For Villalonga, it was gradual process. The men came into her business in Valencia in 2000, asking for her by name and making sure she could see one was armed. After she left the country, her husband was attacked in the street and soon joined her in South Florida with their third child.
The situation in Venezuela, meanwhile, only got worse. Chavez died and was replaced by his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. The government grew increasingly authoritarian, the economy spiraled downward, and crime rose, with one of the highest homicide rates in the world. It’s gotten so bad that hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing across the borders of neighboring Brazil and Colombia, some saying they barely had enough to eat in Venezuela.
A fearful Villalonga never went back, even for important family milestones like the death of her brother.
People who study immigrant trends in the United States say the Venezuelans harken back to the Cubans who fled the 1959 revolution and the upheaval that followed.
“The initial wave of Cubans that came to the United States when Fidel Castro came to power had hopes to return to Cuba soon at some point when Fidel Castro was no longer in power,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew Research Center. The Venezuelan story “is an echo” of their experience.
Unlike those fleeing to other South American countries, the Venezuelans who have come to the U.S. tend to be from the middle and upper classes, and their departures have had economic repercussions in their homeland. Many homes in Venezuela are empty and real estate prices have collapsed, marking a change from years prior when people would preserve wealth in the face of hyper-inflation by investing in property.
There are political consequences as well. Expatriates had been a small, but influential force in past elections. Villalonga helped mobilize three buses with 180 people to vote in the presidential elections of 2013, which they had to do in New Orleans because Chavez closed the Miami consulate to punish the opposition-dominated expat community. She’s not planning to do that for this year’s upcoming presidential election because she doesn’t feel represented by opposition leaders and doesn’t see the point of getting involved.
She’s not alone. With Maduro expected to triumph over divided and dispirited opponents, enthusiasm among overseas voters overall appears to have declined.
“I don’t think our vote will make any difference at this point,” said Elvira Ojeda, a 45-year-old business owner who came in 2011. “The energy is gone.”
Various polls have shown that about 10 percent of the electorate, or between 1 million to 2 million people, are outside the country. The Venezuelan government says it projects only about 100,000 will take part in overseas voting for May elections.
“While it’s true that the vote of the diaspora is essential, in this election it won’t amount to anything,” said Moises Rendon, a public policy analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “There’s a sense of frustration in the exile community, as there is in Venezuelan society in general, that there is no way out of the situation.”
The Venezuelan population in the United States has more than doubled over the past decade to about 366,000 as of 2016, according to the census, with about half in Florida. More than three-quarters of the total came after Chavez took office. The number of Venezuelans seeking political asylum in the U.S. doubled last year to 28,000, a figure that is five times as much as in 2015.
Their presence has been felt most strongly in the South Florida suburbs of Doral and Weston, communities where it’s common to find the red, blue and yellow of the Venezuelan flag. People from Venezuela regularly feature near the top of the list of foreign property buyers in the Miami area as they seek safe havens for their capital and put down roots. A local association of Venezuelan lawyers now has about 200 members, up from 10 founders in 2013. Membership at the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce has doubled to more than 300.
Venezuelan-born Cristina Pocaterra says it is hard to imagine going back to the country. She came for what she thought would be a temporary work assignment in 1999 and ended up becoming a naturalized citizen in 2014 and giving birth to twins. She is trying to get her 74-year-old mother to join her. “Those of us who left had to do so in order to develop,” said the 54-year-old business consultant. “Now, I don’t have anything concrete left in Venezuela.”
Those who have chosen to stay in the U.S. find ties only deepen as more time passes. Villalonga, now 48, and her husband eventually became citizens and had two more children. One of their kids is now in college and another is considering joining the military. Her husband manages a family-owned moving company. Villalonga is active in helping migrants and victims of domestic violence through her nonprofit organization. And her mother came to help with their kids 10 years ago, married an American and stayed.
“I have my life here now,” she said. VOA
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is a pattern of recurrent aggressive behavior in which one person (or a group of individuals) in a position of authority intentionally intimidate or abuse another individual to cause bodily or emotional harm to that other. Bullying may take place in either a physical or verbal manner. Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions.
Bullying may occur anywhere, at any time, in person or online (cyberbullying), and can take many forms, including verbal, physical, and social. Bullies utilize their position of power — such as physical strength, knowledge of something embarrassing, or popularity — to exert control over or damage other people. Many people assume that bullying occurs solely during childhood; nevertheless, bullying does not necessarily stop after a person reaches the age of adulthood.
Bullies in adulthood can take the form of a threatening boss or colleague, a controlling partner, a relative, or any other type of person. Even in our personal and professional lives, we sometimes encounter adult bullies who can be harmful to our mental well-being.
Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions. | Photo by Unsplash
How To Deal With An Adult Bully?
For obvious reasons, adult bullying can be a painful and challenging experience for anybody who finds themselves on the receiving end of such behavior. Knowing how to deal with the antics of a bully properly, on the other hand, may help you learn, develop, and feel better levels of confidence. When you find yourself in this scenario, one of the most crucial things to remember is that you must not exhibit the bully any signs of fear. This might be difficult, depending on the sort of bully you are dealing with, but bullies enjoy fear, encouraging them to continue with their terrible conduct.
Maintaining a sense of connection with other people while dealing with bullying is quite essential. Bullies usually see alone persons as easier targets since they have a smaller support network to challenge them.
Courage and a support network are significant advantages; but, reporting the bully is also an excellent line of action. Contrary to common opinion, just ignoring a bully does not always prompt them to cease their behavior. Adult bullies of all kinds often interpret being ignored as a sign of weakness, encouraging them to continue bullying. If someone is bullying you, don't be scared to speak out and report the individual.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Keywords: mental health, bullying, bully, bullied, courage, abuse, harass, support, cyberbully
Silver and gold have always been preferred when it comes to wearing jewellery. Right from the times of monarchy in India, wealth and riches have been associated with wearing gold and silver for the various properties they have. Copper is a metal that has always been worn by the poor. It is not a metal that carries a significant association with health or wealth, but wearing at least one article of copper is extremely beneficial for health.
Copper is a reddish-brown metal that cannot be worn on its own. It has to be worn in the form of an alloy to prevent a reaction. Copper oxidizes in air and forms a green layer on it when exposed, much like the Statue of Liberty. Usually, bangles, chains, or rings of copper always have brass and traces of silver in them which helps with stabilizing its reactivity.
Wearing copper with stones in it looks very aesthetic, but copper is not durable enough to hold the stones, which is why it is fashioned into elaborate designs and sold. Copper is very malleable, and over time, the bangle or ring will take the shape of the wearer's hand or finger.
A copper ring Image source: Wikimedia commons
Jewellery made out of copper can be an excellent health indicator. Copper helps metabolize bodily functions faster, and the wearer experiences relief from indigestion. It also soothes joint pain, headaches, and arthritis. Using copper utensils also aids those with deficiencies. Since copper is absorbed slowly into the body, there is no fear of causing any kind of imbalance.
Sometimes copper leaves a greenish tinge on the skin. This happens when it oxidizes with sweat. This stain can be washed away with soap and water, but the fact that it appears is noteworthy. It is an indicator of too much acidity in the body. Greenish skin appears when the wearer's diet includes too much meat or acidic foods.
Copper might not be a very attractive metal, but wearing it has a lot of benefits for the health. It regulates metabolism, assimilation, and indicates health. It is definitely a good idea to wear copper jewellery at least once in a while.
Keywords: Copper jewellery, Copper is a health indicator, Metabolism, Oxidation, Benefits of copper
By Md Waquar Haider
When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.
The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.
Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.
According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash
"On the other hand, there is a niche market for those new market entrants that are able to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of features and value. "Alongside, they would need to back it with strong brand messaging to create awareness and recall amongst the target consumers," Ram added.
HP maintained its lead in the India PC market with a 33.6 per cent share as its shipments grew 54.2 per cent annually. Dell Technologies continued to hold the second position with a 22.1 per cent share and an impressive 86.1 per cent YoY growth in 2Q21. Lenovo maintained the third position with a share of 17.8 per cent in 2Q21.
Arvind Suraj, Research Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that there is always a trust issue with new brands. "You won't buy a laptop in 6 or 7 months just like smartphones. In this case, we often go for existing players. Brands like Lenovo, HP, ASUS and Acer have already gained our trust," he said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Chip, shortage, laptop, market, India, Xiaomi, hp, dell, brands