#SOSVenezuela: please watch, #prayforvenezuela, and share

For my English-speaking friends… I have been unfair on my Twitter account, with the amount of Spanish-spoken tweets. You see, in the country where I was born, when we all thought things couldn’t get worse, they did.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will first share an amazing video by @andreina_nash that does a pretty good job at explaining what’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell.

WARNING: there are graphic images in this video… and THIS how life in the cities of Venezuela is like today.

Throughout the world, there have been protests organized by Venezuelans abroad in support of those who are not staying quiet, taking to the streets in protest, risking their lives. Here’s one by family members studying in Italy. Today we humbly participated in the protest at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Here’s a video we composed with images from the San Francisco protest, in hopes of inspiring you to get informed, get involved, and share with others…

I registered to vote today… yet it’s a sad day!

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Today, Andreina and I became US Citizens… 13 years after arriving in this country, after 7 years of work visas, and 6 years of being permanent residents, we can finally vote! As soon as we finished the Citizenship Oath Ceremony, we applied for our US Passport and registered to vote.

My heart is torn, though. On one side, I am happy (can’t deny it) about finally reaching this goal of ours, one that we’ve been looking forward for so many years. However, on the other side it’s profoundly saddening to see the recent news in Venezuela, which are beginning to escalate into who-knows-what. Today, during anti-government protests by thousands of people in all the main Venezuelan cities were met with violence, resulting in at least 3 deaths and 23 wounded.

Later in the day, NTN24, a CNN-like station focused on Latin American news was taken off satellite TV by the Venezuelan government while it was the ONLY station broadcasting what was happening. President Maduro showing his true colors…

For those who want to follow NTN24 via YouTube, here’s the LIVE stream, thanks to YouTube:

Will this be the start of a Venezuelan Spring?

The movie “NO”, or why fear is a poor incentive for people to change habits

Tonight I watched for the second time the movie “NO” with Gael Garcia Bernal, which I highly recommend anyone that takes freedom for granted to watch:

But the lessons from the movie, where an ad executive helps create a controversial media campaign opposing military dictator Augusto Pinochet during the referendum on his presidency in 1988, go well beyond lessons that Venezuela should adopt in an effort to rid Venezuela of the impoverishing politics that have plagued it since Chavez and Chavez-influenced governments have been in power.

This week, I watched a new PSA created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), titled “Diabetes Kills“. I am not embedding the video in this post because it portrays a message that I refuse to support, one that is disempowering and seeks to get people to pay attention by making them feel afraid. In response to this PSA, I shared the following comment with IDF and with a fellow diabetes advocacy blog that told me they were considering writing a piece about the PSA in question:

At the Diabetes Hands Foundation we have always seen IDF as a beacon that we’ve aligned our views and goals with, being as they are, a representative of people touched by diabetes worldwide. However, when I first saw this video I felt profoundly disappointed, as a patient and as a diabetes advocate. While I understand that they want to appeal to the general public and governments about the urgency of the diabetes epidemic, not only does the message in the video fail to do this (it is not directly targeted at those two targets -it is living in YouTube and propagating via social media): it conveys a very disempowering message, a message devoid of any kind of hope.

Diabetes does not kill: let’s please stop using this language! Complications from uncontrolled diabetes do (this is not my idea, but me amplifying what amounts to the gospel by Dr. Bill Polonsky). I invite our friends at IDF to reconsider this approach, thinking how people around the world feel when they are fist diagnosed with this condition: what if the message you first hear about it is that diabetes kills? Is that the first thing they want people to hear? Our anger about government inaction needs to be driven differently: painting diabetes rosey is far from what we are talking about, but fear-driving tactics don’t work either and can ultimately alienate a very important support platform IDF has built up over the years.

I hope IDF will listen to the voices of a number of advocates that have no raised their voices and asked them to reconsider this message: not only because it can been seen by people with diabetes, as well as the general public and governments that IDF is attempting to influence…

… but because it’s not true: