Final Essay- Andrea Vacca Team 22

Hi Andrea,

Excellent work!  The images you selected are well-chosen and fit nicely into the body of your essay.  Terrific integration of class concepts as well.  Your essay is well-written, clear, and you tackled a complicated topic very well. Good job!


Venezuela’s Crisis and the Role of Media

For the last decades the country of Venezuela has faced political, social, and economical issues. More than ever before in history, Venezuela’s political crisis appears to be reaching its boiling point as the efforts of the opposition continue to rise in order to remove socialist president, Nicolas Maduro. Through the use of social media portraying events, an increase of Venezuelans migrating, and interactions of government officials worldwide, people are able to see how the humanitarian and political crisis of the country have endured and that intervention is needed. Major news outlets and social media have played a huge role in providing people with content and information that shows the current situation of the country. However, when determining how we know what we know, it’s important to keep in mind that the information given can sometimes be influenced, manipulated and even suppressed. 

            Since the rise of power of President Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, media in Venezuela has been influenced and manipulated greatly as the Venezuelan government inhibited freedom of speech and press. Venezuela’s independent press has disappeared along with the liberty of many Venezuelans today. This has led to inaccuracy of factual information being expressed in Venezuelan news outlets, which has made Venezuelans unaware of what is truly going on in their country and worldwide. Today, Venezuelans rely more on social media platforms than their countries news outlets. When the latest incident of Maduro’s administration erected a crude blockade across the border bridge with Colombia to prevent the humanitarian aid entering the country, several news outlets revealed the information (Casey and Kurmanaev1). However, some of the news was manipulated especially in Venezuela by government officials, stating that the reason behind the blockade was to protect Venezuela from an American invasion. Worldwide news outlets on the other hand, provided their news with factual information that included interviews, photographs, and live footage of the situation occurring at the border. 

Cúcuta Border Blockade from Maduro’s Regime
Venezuelan Aid trucks burned down on Venezuela-Colombian border
Senator of Florida, Marco Rubio shares news about humanitarian aid being on Cúcuta border

Another situation that has been covered greatly on the news is the massive power outage that the country had to endure. According to the news article from “Venezuela Al Dia”, the country activated themselves through a political protest held by interim president Juan Guiado and other opposition leaders (Cedrom). To not blame himself for the situation of the country, Nicolas Maduro did not stay behind in holding a protest. These political protests from both parties were covered through tweets, photographs, and live videos to expose the current situation worldwide. When situations like this occur, Venezuelan government officials censor all news outlets to make people believe that everything is fine. However, through the massive use of social media people have been able to stay informed and pass on the latest information to relatives and people worldwide. 

“Apagon Nacional” Venezuela experiences a blackout

            Most news articles covering the current situation of the country have two things in common, that is their ability to maintain ethos and pathos as their main rhetorical elements. Articles and social media posts that contain information on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have come directly from well-known opposition leaders such as Maria Corina Machado, Henrique Capriles Radonski, Lilian Tintori, and Juan Guaido. Each of these members have built credibility by posting factual information that contends research, live content, and professionalism. Another important rhetorical element that is shown through media coverage and articles is the use of pathos. Content shown in articles, live footage from government officials and journalists have helped the audience all around the world feel some type of empathy and sympathy with what the country is enduring. As a matter of fact, pathos has been the strongest rhetorical element used, as it has brought millions of Venezuelans and other nationalities around the world together to help Venezuelans today. This has been done by articles, social media posts, and well-known celebrities and opposition leaders, which have increased the exposure of the current situation of Venezuela and has led to several fundraising events helping with the humanitarian crisis. The main goal of the information being published is not convey people into choosing from political parties but instead to bring everyone together as a call to action to fix the current situation.

Maria Corina Machado and Lilian Tintori during Women’s March Protest
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido recognized as the country’s Interim President

            With media being controlled by the government, several articles that have been published revealed secrets that the socialist government under Maduro’s regime has been hiding from Venezuelans and the world. As Echarte wrote in an analysis of the economic crisis of Venezuela he was able to demonstrate a better understanding of fiscal and monetary interventionism that has made it impossible for the Venezuelan government to centralize the economy (15: 3-14). The reasoning behind these articles is to set an example of how secrets protect lies, which has played an impactful role in the reflection of Venezuela’s crisis today. By hiding the truth of the country’s economy, Maduro’s regime had been able to keep secret the productive structure, monetary policy, and the setting of maximum prices and exchange control for his own benefit. By manipulating the truth about the country’s economy, Maduro along with members of the socialist party have been able to enrich themselves while the country faces a massive crisis. A book published by the U.S Government Congress session also examined the deterioration of basic governance and economic crisis in Venezuela. Evidence is shown from the International Monetary Fund about Venezuela’s inflation and the secret revelation of Maduro failing to accept repeated request from the majority of the National assembly and civil society organizations to bring humanitarian aid into the country (United States Congress). News articles such as the Washington Post also revealed some secrets Maduro’s regime has tried to keep such as the critical shortages of food, medicine, and power along with actions of international governments declaring his presidency illegitimate (“Venezuela’s crisis deepens”). 

            It is needless to say that technology has brought a desirable change to the way the situation of Venezuela has been perceived. Without the secret revelations of the government being exposed through social media platforms and political protests being shared to the world, Venezuela’s cry for humanitarian aid would’ve been unknown. The lectures on secrecy and fake news helped me pin point factual information released by the media. 

Works Cited

Casey, Nicholas, and Anatoly Kurmanaev. “Humanitarian Aid Stalls, Testing Venezuela’s Opposition.” The New York Times , 13 Feb. 2019,

Cedrom. “Juan Guaido Pide Union: Articulo 187 Se Activara ‘Cuando Llegue El Momento.’” Venezuela Al Dia , 9 Mar. 2019.

Echarte Fernandez, Miguel Angel, et al. “Un Análisis De La Crisis Económica De Venezuela Desde Los Postulados De La Escuela Austríaca De Economía.” An Analysis of the Economic Crisis in Venezuela from the Postulates of the Austrian School of Economics., vol. 15, no. 2, ser. 2018. 2018,

“One republic, two presidents; Venezuela’s crisis.” The Economist, 26 Jan. 2019, p. 29(US). Academic OneFile, Accessed 9 Mar. 2019.

United States Congress House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Expressing Profound Concern about the Ongoing Political, Economic, Social and Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela, Urging the Release of Political Prisoners, and Calling for Respect of Constitutional and Democratic Processes.Government Publishing Office, 2016, FIU Website Catalog.

“Venezuela’s crisis deepens.” Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2019. Academic OneFile, Accessed 9 Mar. 2019.


U.S. state department to deliver aid for Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis – Final Essay

Hi Emily, 

I reviewed your essay in the email since that is the one that had images.  Well-done! See email for more comments.

Emily Bustamante

Professor Christos

How We Know What We Know

27 March 2019

U.S. state department to deliver aid for Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis

The United States of America lands aid shipment in Colombia as part of exertion to distribute supplies to Venezuela. The aid arrived at the Colombian-Venezuelan border in the core of Venezuela’s philanthropic catastrophe. Obstacles are put in the way to deliver these supplies.

Each article I read in reference to this news story used a diverse rhetoric and told the same story in different ways. For example, the article published by the website Reuters a logos approach. I feel as if they were vague in projecting this news story. The research was done by Idrees Ali and writing by Arshad Mohammed. Their rhetoric was focused more on proof and reason. Delivering the news was motive. It was short and sweet. In the beginning of the article, there was not much information provided in reference to the aid shipment. The U.S. state department provided no further details according to the article. In this article, there is secrecy involved in reference to the shipment of the aid. Is there something to hide from the public in reference to it? Also, there is a comment Maduro made which was published in this article. According to him, the U.S. government providing aid is an orchestrated show. It is all a stunt. I do not think it is an orchestrated show. The U.S. department of state is providing aid to be one step closer to Venezuela’s freedom. This opens my mind and made me wonder if there is economic or political motive behind this. Therefore, I did further research on ties between Venezuela and the United States of America. The article written by CNN writer Amir Vera filled in all these gaps for me. The CNN article was published a few days after the one Reuters issued. Vera provided facts where the shipment is leaving from, arriving to, etc. He cited and provided video content of the aid leaving from Miami, Florida. There is also a tweet made by Isa Soares, whom works for CNN, commenting on the assistance the US government is offering Venezuela. There is further information given to the reader. The rhetoric used in this article is ethos and pathos. There is abundant amount of reasoning and facts which distribute the story in credible manner. The article definitely leans on the best interest of the Venezuela crisis. It ends with an enthusiastic statement from Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States, expressing how the crisis to end in Venezuela. This leaves the reader with an ample amount of questions. I asked myself the following – why is the United States so willing to support Venezuela in this crisis?  Does the United State government benefit from it in any way? Is there more than meets the eye?  As I did further research on finding articles that convey the story from a unlike perspective than the rest, I came across one published by The National Public Radio. It is stated in this article that the international aid organization does not want to partake in the contribution with the United States. According to aid organizations, humanitarian operations are supposed to be neutral and be independent of political, military, or any other objectives. This was mentioned by Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N. spokesman, which told a press briefing  in New York a couple of weeks before the article was published. This article varies from the rest published because it questions the motives behind the United States delivering aid. I performed research on U.S. relations with Venezuela to try and find motive that dates back to years ago using the U.S. department of state archives. Also, I went back to the CNN article and it dives into another subject which gets me to think. It is revealed in the article that the U.S. government would like to meet with President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to negotiate his exit. The US government wants Maduro to no longer be president. It is proved in the article that they support Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido. There is a pathos method used within this part because the article strives for the public to be inspired and moved emotionally by the impact of this predicament. There is a negative perspective put on Nicolas Maduro. There is no siding with Maduro on this one. The article does not want the public to sympathize or agree with the actions of this man. A quote made by Maduro is included which supports this case. It is obvious that Maduro does not seek or want aid. Therefore, the Venezuela government under Maduro’s presidency is not affiliated or in good terms with the U.S. government.  A negative image of him is portrayed and they did a really good job in doing so. There is no information being manipulated in these articles. I do believe the truth is being told. The U.S. aid government website released an article a couple of days later from the ones previously published. The office of press relations provided more in depth details in reference to this. The readings/lectures we had this semester framed my examination of this event. For example, this article reminds me of the debate we had in the course a couple of weeks ago in reference to the United States providing Venezuela help. A student in class mentioned that Venezuela denied aid for a series of reasons. The entire class sectioned out this student because of the declarations she said was not true. There are facts and statistics mentioned in the article by the U.S. aid government website to support the case that the U.S. will be contributing. The rhetoric method used in this article is strictly ethos. The article wants its reader to believe the credibility of what their stating and gained trust in the fact that the United States is and will subsidize for the greater cause of Venezuela’s situation. The U.S. state department and the movement they are doing brought more eyes to the crisis occurring in this country. The attention of the global village was captured. The global culture was altered because there is finally change stirring for this country that has not been for many years. Results are finally being shown. This event brings desirable change and hope for the Venezuelan people. It means one step closer to ending this crisis. Technology plays a huge role in this. It is used as a medium to tell this story. Also, it provides a voice of those who want share their standpoint on this. There were photos, tweets, and Instagram posts of this all over the media. This event is more than just supplying the people with medicine and food. This operation is to provoke transformation in Venezuela.

Works Cited

The New York Times. “As Venezuela Aid Standoff Turns Deadly, Maduro Severs Ties With Colombia.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2019,

U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State,

“U.S. to Deliver over 200 Tons of Aid to Venezuelan Border.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 15 Feb. 2019,

Otis, John. “U.S. Masses Aid Along Venezuelan Border As Some Humanitarian Groups Warn Of Risks.” NPR, NPR, 16 Feb. 2019,

Vera, Amir. “US Aid Lands in Colombia as Part of Effort to Deliver Supplies to Venezuela.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Feb. 2019,

The Elephant In the Room (Final Essay) – By Ursula Muñoz Schaefer

Hi Ursula,

Very impressive! Your images are not only excellent but well-integrated within the text of your essay.  Truly good analysis – thorough and well-written.  You did a superb job on this assignment. It was terrific to read. Well-done Ursula!

Through the increasing polarization between the left and right, the Democratic party has been split between moderates and those further left quarreling over the correct way to combat Trump’s far right wave. The differences in news coverage received by the various Democrats who have announced their candidacy for 2020 demonstrates this better than anything else, as do the various social media campaigns surrounding them. These differences aren’t just reflective of the divide within the left—they also echo the toxicity that permeated during the 2016 elections as our political analysis became rooted in feelings rather than facts or ethos.

As Saturday Night Live hilariously showed in their “Women of Congress” sketch, our government is more diverse than ever before and the Democrats are doing their best to battle Donald Trump while upholding their moral values. It’s too bad then that they all have different ways of doing this and can’t seem to agree on an effective strategy. From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emphasizing bipartisanship on the first day of the 116th Congress to Representative Rashida Tlaib shouting to “impeach the motherf•cker” only shortly after, it’s clear who is a stickler for tradition and who opts for more radical rhetoric (Abramson).

The new women of Congress are fierce as hell.

“It’s not that Pelosi and her aides favor politesse over throwing punches; it’s about the effective use of newfound power,” Alana Abramson of Time magazine says. Being a masterclass snarker has earned Pelosi titles like “Madame Clapback” on SNL as well as positive coverage on the mainstream news, but her constant emphasis on moderacy and the lack of radical pathos in her words don’t quite score her points with everyone (Abramson).

One politician who represents the split like none other is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Since having lost against former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries leading up to the 2016 elections, Sanders has built a social media empire, hosting Facebook Live interviews dubbed “The Bernie Sanders Show,” which have generated millions of views. Since then, audio recordings of these conversations have been made available as podcasts on iTunes, and his press staff has worked to upload short policy-focused videos in the style of Now This all over Facebook (Debenedetti).

Between his press staff’s efforts, Facebook town halls, massive following, and the Bernie Sanders Show, Sanders is unrivaled on social media.

“The corporate media, by definition, is owned by large multinational corporations,” Sanders says. “Their bottom line is to make as much money as they can. They are part of the Establishment” (Debenedetti). This is a man who has been complaining about corporate programming for decades now. His bold rhetoric uses ethos and logos to give him an aura of intellectualism but also sneaky pathos tapping into the psyche of angry anti-capitalists perpetually obsessed with Big Brother. Whether or not his claims that the mainstream media hasn’t been paying him enough attention are true, his “fake news” rhetoric resonates well with fans who are still angry about the 2016 primary results and distrust moderate Democrats more than the GOP. Ironically, Sanders’ strong mainstream media distaste and anti-establishment rhetoric is similar to that of Trump and other Republican incumbents, their arguments high in pathos generating passion from their feverous fanbases (Fried).

Sanders’ base is mostly made up of millenials and Gen-Z voters who have a greater understanding of social media and its ability to change public opinion, so you can bet they’ve already begun their crusades on the other Democrats running against Trump in 2020. Before popular Texas politician Beto O’Rourke even announced his candidacy in March, Tina Nguyen of Vanity Fair was already predicting the backlash he’d receive from voters of his own party, even going so far to say that Republicans’ strategy for 2020 will be to attack his centrism and “unleash the Bernie Bros” (Nguyen).

“They think the Establishment is always looking for someone to go against Sanders—to run against progressives in the party and stop them from being ascendant,” says Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin. It extends further than just #FeelTheBern hashtags and Facebook pages dedicated to knocking Sanders’ competition. According to Nguyen, “Sanders-friendly” podcasts like Chapo Trap House have already begun their crusade against O’Rourke and other Democrats, accusing them of “slapping a cool coat” on his centrism in a desperate attempt to snag voters old and young (Nguyen).

Ideological purity and the insistence with Sanders above all other Democratic frontrunners can be seen on Twitter.

Senator Kamala Harris has received similar treatment from Sanders’ supporters. Since announcing her candidacy in January, they have criticized her liberal track record and made assumptions about her supposed ties to Wall Street (Nichols). This backlash brings to mind the 2016 elections, in which fans’ dead-set belief in Clinton’s rigging of the primaries resulted in disaster.

In fact, some would argue that the distaste for Clinton stemmed from more than her general unfavorability and poor campaigning strategies. It’s been suggested that many of Sanders’ most ardent fans expressed rampant sexism over social media sites like Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube. “it seems more likely that misogynistic elements of attacks on Clinton have more to do with the anonymity of the Internet and the friction of heated arguments,” UWSP professor Kelly Wilz suggests.

Sanders fans express their rampant anger towards Clinton in the YouTube comments section to a video that waves away her concerns of implied sexism during a CNN debate.

Simply put, the pushback on her pulling out the “woman card,” every time she even hinted at Sanders’ patronizing tone during the CNN debates (“all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I hope all of us would want,” he said), was a double standard, as was the network’s reluctance to ask specific questions concerning sexism during these debates (Wilz).

Still, others consider it irresponsible to generalize Berniecrats so much. “Clinton was undoubtedly and unequivocally a victim of sexism during her campaign, but to paint all Sanders supporters with that broad brush is mistaken,” says Jason Nichols of The Hill, pointing to MSNBC’s Joy Reid and other mainstream news anchors for bias. “Mainline party members accuse them of sexism and racism without a solid basis for the allegation” (Nichols).

Regardless, modern insistence on ideological purity is not wise. Since 2015, both social and news media have been used as power tools to further divide the left and if we are not careful, history will repeat itself next year.


Works Cited:

“Halsey.” Saturday Night Live, season 44, episode 12, NBC, 9 Feb. 2019.

Abramson, Alana. “ House Democrats Gird to Fight Trump. And Each Other. .” Time, 21 Jan. 2019, pp. 29–31.

Debenedetti, Gabriel. “Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Building a Digital Media Empire.” Intelligencer, 22 Apr. 2018,

Fried, Joseph. Democrats and Republicans–Rhetoric and Reality: Comparing the Voters in Statistics and Anecdotes. Algora Publishing, 2008.

Nichols, Jason. “Some Democrats Won’t Feel the Burn for Kamala Harris, but Should It Matter?” TheHill, Capitol Hill, 8 Aug. 2017,

Nguyen, Tina. “The G.O.P.’s Plan to Take Down Beto: Unleash the Bernie Bros.” The Hive, Vanity Fair, 8 Jan. 2019,

Wilz, Kelly. “Bernie Bros and Woman Cards: Rhetorics of Sexism, Misogyny, and Constructed Masculinity in the 2016 Election.” Womens Studies in Communication, vol. 39, no. 4, 2016, pp. 357–360., doi:10.1080/07491409.2016.1227178.

Team 22 Paula Rivera

Hi Paula,

Interesting topic, but I don’t see much in the way of integration of class concepts.  You briefly mention it but do not elaborate. Furthermore, your word count is short and considering you included a rather lengthy bibliography I don’t see much in the way of analysis either.  The Final Essay Rubric is clear and gives specific number of points for each of the 7 measures.

Your essay is acceptable.  I”ve given you a ‘fair’ on all the points in the rubric.

Paula S Rivera

Team 22


Prof. Pearson

How We Know What We Know About Coachella

Each year, when Coachella comes around, the Frenzy in social media starts.(I’m not sure why you capitalized Frenzy?)  Every celebrity performing or going, and every fan attending become completely focused in the festival’s prestige, even those not going make sure to keep up-to-date with what goes on in Coachella through the social media and YouTube live streams. How is Coachella able to make such an impact on the community during the two weeks that it is available, every year?

The Coachella Valley music and arts Festival is a music festival held at the Empire Polo club in Indio, California, in the inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert of California. Since starting the festival in 1999 the franchise has grown exponentially. Last year alone they were able to get 99,000 people to attend the festival per day, during a six-day event. 

A group of people standing in front of a crowd

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Coachella’s crowd in 2006 (pictured above) compared with Coachella’s crowd in 2019 (pictured below.)

A group of people standing in front of a crowd

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We attain information about Coachella from social media influencers, celebrities, clothing brands and in Multiple (I’m not sure why you capitalized Multiple?) online websites and magazines that write and publish things about the festival. After years of this festival just being about the music his reputation has grown and shifted its ways of marketing. Designer brands have created invite only events throughout the week of Coachella to be able to market themselves to their consumers through celebrities and Instagram influencers. Sheena Parks, creative director for Matisse footwear, hosted one of these invite only events and said “it doesn’t necessarily bring in new customers. It’s the chatter – it looks cool from the brand standpoint […] it’s such an affordable way to market.” 

An example of how Victoria’s Secret brings up Coachella to their advantage.

Besides designer brands and people with a known status on social media, a bigger percentage of the marketing that we see on social media is from the fans. Last year alone there were 460,000 social media posts in the first weekend of Coachella, not including celebrities and famous faces (FN). The immediate things we see are done by the people and published by people. 

Multiple newspapers and stations came out to Coachella to cover the activities throughout the two weekends. Known names like the Los Angeles times came out and wrote an article about Kanye West’s Sunday service to celebrate Easter at the festival. Another reason why this festival gets so much recognition, they do things that no one else has done before or things that may shock their audience. Last year they had Beyoncé headline their festival which people crazed over, this year they had a gospel service the morning of Easter, which had never been done before, and was ran by Kanye West. Adding diversity in music and events causes people to become attracted and change their way of thinking when they think about Coachella. This is a way that they’re marketing appeals to pathos. For example, some people of the Christian faith would now want to attend Coachella because they did have a gospel service, it evoked an emotion of happiness. 

A group of people standing in front of a crowd

Description automatically generated

Kanye West’s Easter Sunday Service during Weekend 2 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Before the actual festival begins, marketing begins. Besides having the official social media accounts religiously post things about the event, there are also each artist account been focused on Coachella if they’re performing. Sheila Marikar writes about classes being given in Los Angeles to prepare people to take better Instagram photos for when they go to Coachella. With coaches like Elisa Benson and CJ Hernandez, their classes learn how to properly use the well-known social media application called Instagram, specifically for going to Coachella. They give out their top 10 tips for festival coverage, for example “1. Give followers an all access pass” they remind their students they are the link the rest of the world has to see what is going on in the inside view of Coachella. Hernandez said “with 1 billion people on the platform, you’re a tiny little raindrop in a thunderstorm. So, don’t worry about over posting.” This is also encouraging the appeal to pathos by making people confident in their ability to make themselves look cooler at a music festival causing them to want to go.

The government has even aided in this music festival by expanding the capacity maximum by 90,000 people more than a couple years before. Since Coachella brings in so many people and revenue to the City, the government would rather help them make more money than cap the amount of people that are able to go. Since the organization that runs the festival is independent, they don’t need to refer back to the government unless it has to do with safety precautions such as traffic problems and fire hazards. They hire the local police to help out with their safety measure to ensure that their festival goers have the basic sense of safety that everyone needs in order to do something out of their comfort zone. 

Works Cited:

Coachella Crowd 2006 

Coachella Crowd 2019

Final Essay- Chabelis Leal- Team 22

Hi Chabelis,

This is a good narrative of what happened in Havanna but I’m not seeing a lot of incorporation of class concepts into your essay.  Images are good, writing style is fine, but it is not so much of an analysis as it is reporting the event.  You have a good introduction but not a strong conclusion. Overall an acceptable post.

On January 2019 a rare and deadly tornado ravaged through the streets of Havana Cuba, killing 6 people and leaving hundreds injured. Although the tornado made world headlines the actions of the communist regime in the aftermath of the natural disaster has managed to stay locked away in the island. Due to the lack of internet access and freedom of speech the inhumane acts of the Cuban government continue to go unnoticed as the 60-year anniversary of the Cuban revolution approaches.

The tornado began in South Florida and made its way to Havana on Sunday, January 27th. Although the F4 storm -the second strongest category of tornado with winds of 207-260 mph- did not affect the entire city it did cause major damage in certain neighborhoods (Jazeera). Light posts were knocked down, cars were crushed, homes were destroyed, windows were blown out of hospitals. Families lost the few belongings they owned and were left devastated wondering how they would prevail from this disaster.

Damage caused by f4 tornado in Havana

Quickly Cuban Americans in South Florida sprang into action and began collecting donation for those affected by the Tornado. Over $10,000 were collected and donated to private organizations on the island in an effort to keep it away from the hands of the Cuban Government. The issue arose when private entities and individuals attempted to deliver donated goods to the victims of the natural disaster. Police forces were ordered to the neighborhoods with the most damage but instead of offering aid to the victims they were there to stop any donations from passing through. Those interested in donating material aid had to present themselves in the warehouse of a donation center located in the Libertad School City. Hundreds of Cubans begged president Miguel Diaz-Canel and his government to allow donations from foreign countries to enter the island yet customs and import restrictions were placed.

Many of the affected families lost everything leaving them with nothing to eat and nowhere to cook their food. Citizens were expecting the state to deliver food free of charge since many had lost what little cash they had when their homes were destroyed. Instead, government owned markets arranged a special sale of eggs, cookies, and meals like bread with ground beef (Diaz). Special does not refer to discounted prices, but to the access to these items which had nearly disappeared from the market. Those who had money managed to eat that night but the ones who lost everything looked to a friend or slept with an empty stomach.
Meals offered for sale to tornado victims

Cuban musician Zenaida Romeu director of the Camerata Romeu, an all- female instrumentalist music group, announced through social media that the group was evicted by the police of the municipality of Regla where they were offering humanitarian aid (Americateve). The group visited one of the areas hardest hit by the tornado in attempt to deliver food and supplies to the victims. However, the women were greeted by the president of the government of the municipality who ordered police to escort them out of Regla. Zenaida Romeu took to Facebook and wrote “Suddenly, when we returned by a corridor between debris that led to devastated houses (where we found strong men crying in front of us to see our human gesture) we found the presence of the head of government of Regla municipality that forbade us to continue with our personal and silent help. He asked the police to “accompany” us out of Regla and we were surrounded by a dozen of them preventing us from continuing to deliver children’s clothes, water, bread, coats, quilts, shoes, towels, detergent, soaps, from our own pecuniam without posters, without press, in silence, without agglomerations, respectfully and in an organized way.”

Cuban Police prevents Camerata Romeu from delivering aid to victims of the tornado
Police escorting the musical group Camerata Romeu out of Regla

To those familiar with the Cuban regime these atrocities do not come as a surprise. For nearly 60 years the Communist Party of Cuba has been suppressing its citizens all while their wrong doings remain locked away in an island. The lack of interned access and freedom of speech allows the government to keep their secrets from the outside world. ETECSA which is a State-owned telecommunications company has been introducing internet hotspots throughout cities in Cuba. For a government who prides itself in providing free things to its citizens, internet is not one of them. Prepaid internet cards costs $1.5 for one hour or $7.5 for five hours. Hotspots have allowed citizens who can afford access to communicate with their family members who have left the island and share some of the struggles they are experiencing. However, even with an increase in internet access rarely do the human rights violations committed by the Cuban government make news headlines. Whether it be because the outside world has turned a blind eye or because actions that have been occurring for 60 years are not sensational, the pain and suffering of Cuban citizens continues to go unnoticed by most.

Internet in Cuba: Everyone busy on their phones at a wifi hotspot in Cuba. Photo by Duncan via Flickr CC.
Cubans using their devices at WIFI hotspot in Havana

Cuba has the lowest internet connectivity in the Western Hemisphere with only 5-25% of citizens having internet access. Moreover, the internet is censored through blocking of sites and monitoring. There is no political speech allowed, porn or anything not approved by the government such as LGBTQ content is blocked. Just like most things in Cuba, internet access is considered a privilege provided by the government that can be taken away at any moment. According to and their 2018 freedom of the net report “Cuba has one of the most restrictive media environments in the world. The constitution prohibits privately-owned media and restricts speech that does not “conform to the aims of a socialist society.”” (“Cuba report”)

For nearly 60 years secrecy and censorship has been at the forefront of the Cuban regime. Citizens are still imprisoned for speaking out about the government while none of it is televised or reported. Women who march peacefully in silence are beaten by police and put in jail cells. There is no freedom of the press, all news media is State owned. In Cuba, only the people authorized by the government have the right to express themselves publicly. Three months after the F4 storm hit Havana citizens are still trying to recover. People continue to live in homes where the roof caved in because they have nowhere else to go (Estornudo). The living conditions are devastating and inhumane, yet they remain locked away in an island suppressed by tyranny and secrecy.*0LsIpirwK2ngjA2EjtMFPw.jpeg
Miguel Morales in his home two months after the tornado

Works cited

Al Jazeera. “Cuba: Three Dead, 174 Injured in Havana Tornado.” News | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 28 Jan. 2019,

Allen, Katharine, and John S. Nichols. “Transnational Advocacy Networks and Information Politics: INGOs and the Collaboration for Free Speech in CUBA.” 2015.

Americatevé. “Policía Cubana Impide a La Camerata Romeu Entregar Ayuda a Damnificados Por El Tornado.” América TeVé, Americatevé, 1 Feb. 2019,

“Cuba.” Cuba Country Report, 11 Feb. 2019,

Estornudo, El. “El Tornado Que Arrasó La Habana, Dos Meses Después.” Medium, Medium, 7 Apr. 2019,ó-la-habana-dos-meses-después-11b6563fd9f.

Velázquez, Betsy Díaz. “Asegura Gastronomía #Habana Oferta De Alimentos Elaborados Con Precios Asequibles En Zonas Afectadas@MincinCuba@PresidenciaCuba” Twitter, Twitter, 30 Jan. 2019,

Team 22- Keeping Up With The New Kardashian

Pregnant looking Kourtney walks out of Doctors (no need to capitalize Doctors unless you are naming a particular Doctor, like Dr. So-and-so)appointment in LA with children Penelope and Reign.

There has (have) been whispers from Kourtney’s close family and friends that she might be expecting her fourth child. The rumors began to spread on January after returning from her vacation in Cabo with her kids and their father, Scott Disick. Spotted on the family vacation was Sofia Richie, Disick’s girlfriend.

Reports suggest that Kourtney has been casually dating a few guys after her breakup with model boyfriend, Younes Bendjima. Kourtney and Younes split in early August after he left a sassy comment on her instagram picture implying that she was showing too much skin. Soon after this incident, Younes was seen in Mexico coupled up with another woman. This was the last straw for Kourtney and she spoke out publicly saying it was “classless”.

Speculation of Kourtney Kardashian’s pregnancy continues to grow after several tweets. “Can’t stop eating pickles these days”, Kourtney wrote, while another said: “insomnia mode”. Fans automatically assumed that if she is craving strange foods, she must be pregnant. The Kardashians have not justified their tweets and rumors yet. However, Scott Disick, did reignite the conversation when he liked a fans tweet that said, “Scott & Kourt are you having baby number four?!?!”. This might have been a way for Disick to imply that if the rumor is true, he is the father. So know we also wonder, who could the father be?

Is that a baby bump showing?

The Kardashians have been in headlines ever since their fame began to rise. It’s not easy Keeping Up With The Kardashians. To clear various rumors of who the father could be, a close member to the family was interviewed and revealed to us the answer everyone has been waiting for. According to our source, It is said that the father is young model, Younes Bendjima.

After her trip from Cabo with the kids and Scott, Kourtney and Younes were caught in Los Angeles by paparazzi in her car. It seems like the two are back to seeing each other after the break-up and possibly dealing with this unexpected baby drama that is known to the public. What we do know is that things are getting a intense between the Kardashian and her ex-boyfriend, Younes.

Kourtney on vacation in Cabo with Scott Disick and girlfriend Sofia Richie .
Kourtney spotted in a car with Younes after Cabo trip.

Paparazzi has not spotted Scott with Kourtney ever since news about the pregnancy began to spread. Scott was recently seen with Penelope and Mason at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Kardashians fans now wonder if Scott is taking care of the kids while they try to clear up the news. News sources have made several attempts to question Scott in regards to the current situation. Playing it smart, Scott did not respond to any source and remained the current news secret. This week’s Saturday Night Live show, confirmed that Kourtney Kardashian will make a special appearance. Fans asked themselves, “Will she reveal the news herself to the world or clear this for once and for all”? It is implied that her appearance will be followed by all the answers fans have been wanting to hear.

The public’s anxiety continues with the new Kardashian baby rumors and paparazzi pictures that have been seen. Kourtney has been vocal through social media. “What is 2+2?”, Kourtney recent tweet stated. Is Kourtney Kardashian dropping hints and confirming the news to us? 2 plus 2 is 4 and that is possibly how many kids she will have in the nearby future. Kourtney is definitely having fun with this and keeping us on the edge with this news story. Stay tuned on Saturday Night Live to find out the truth behind this baby madness. After all, fans will have another Kardashian to keep up with.

Reflective Paragraph:

Love them or hate them, the Kardashians have become a staple of American culture. Even those of us who don’t watch their reality show or have much of an idea who they are, know more about them than we’d like to, whether it be Bruce’s transition to Caitlyn, or Kylie’s baby pictures holding the world record for the most Instagram likes (until that egg beat it). How is it that we’ve come to know so much about them, sometimes even against our own will? To quote Netflix’s socially satirical comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, probably because they’re always on the news.

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Image result for kimmy schmidt kardashians

Because the media pays way too much attention to this family and the stories about them are all varying degrees of ludicrous, it becomes easy to believe almost anything about the Kardashians. For that reason, we decided to play the system and see just how easy it is to come up with a crazy Kardashian story.

As a rhetorical appeal, our fake news story mostly ran on logos. Thankfully, all of us Group 22 members are Zillennial girls, which makes us quite knowledgeable about this family. Therefore, we were able to come up with things that seemed logical—or at least plausible—about them to support our claims that Kourtney is now pregnant with her fourth child. Additionally, we used edited photos and fake tweets written in their tone and language as further “proof” to add to our story.

As our hook, we came up with a catchy title that references the name of the Kardashians’ reality show (Keeping Up With the Kardashians), and draws the reader in. We also took advantage of rumors and circumstances that long-standing Kardashian fans have been whispering about for a while now. “There’s speculation that Kourtney is pregnant and everyone is trying to figure out who the dad is,” Gaby said in the group chat. Writing a story claiming that she might have reunited with with her ex (and series favorite) Scott Disick would definitely get us a lot of clicks.


Gaby Gabino- Writer

Emily Bustamante- Writer

Ursula Muñoz- Writer

Andrea Vacca- Editor

Paula Rivera- Visuals

Chabelis Leal- Visuals


Good work Team #22. Excellent reflective paragraph, good writing style, and very good integration of reading concepts.  Good images too! One thing though, I would have liked to see a heading on top of the first image just as there are in any news story and not just in the subject heading of the post. But all in all very good work!

Final draft – Gaby Gabino – Group 22

Excellent work Gaby,  just add images in places that support the text and you’re good to go!


Over the past couple of months, discussions about sexual assault allegations made against the R&B artist, R. Kelly, and talk of the new docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” have flooded both social and news media, changing the lives of many and ultimately leading to the arrest and indictment of the singer. The R. Kelly case is the latest of many sexual harassment cases that have been fueled by the media. This case in particular was brought to the attention of the public through the six-part Lifetime documentary called “Surviving R. Kelly”.(Fortin) From there, talk of the documentary flooded into social media platforms, such as twitter, where people were discussing the accuracy of the testimonies, previous allegations towards R. Kelly, and what consequences, if any, should Kelly face in the future. This talk on social media also reignited the #MeToo movement. News media quickly caught on to the story as well and began reporting about it soon after the documentary aired. Overall, you would have had to try extremely hard to avoid hearing about this case because it has been talked about on so many media platforms.

There are many ways in this information could have been influenced or suppressed from people being paid to talk to people being paid keep quiet. Unlike in a court room, what was said in that documentary does not have to be the full truth. There is no way to know whether these women are exaggerating or stretching the truth in the documentary because there are no rules against it. (Kahlor) On social media, there are absolutely no regulations regarding the truthfulness of what is posted. Anyone is allowed to post what they believe and their opinions on the case which could lead to confusion regarding what is factual content and what is an opinion. These days, people will post anything for attention, specifically on twitter. You will see a range of things, from people posting false sob stories to people preforming dangerous stunts, only to attract attention and retweets. Therefore, it is fairly easy to manipulate information regarding the R. Kelly case on social media platforms without having much of a consequence. On the other hand, R. Kelly has been suppressing allegations like these for nearly two decades. In the past he has been accused of crimes such as, sex with minors, child pornography, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Even then, he has not faced any jail time and only one of the many accusations ever made it to trial. Because of the amount of media coverage in this day and age, R. Kelly is finding it harder to sweep accusations like these under the rug because, unlike in the past, the entire public knows about it.

In almost every article I have read on this case, no matter which side they are defending, pathos is the main rhetorical element. The authors of articles defending R. Kelly appeal to the audience’s emotions by showing how his life has been turned upside down and by emphasizing how much he has already lost even though he has not yet been proven guilty, they are only allegations. On the other hand, media that defends the women who are claiming they were sexually assaulted or harassed by R. Kelly appeal to the emotions of the audience by having these women speak out and be vulnerable, causing the audience to feel for them. The main objective of both sides is to paint one party as the bad guy and create sympathy for the other party.  Another rhetorical element used in most of the media regarding this case is logos. Mainly in the arguments against R. Kelly, media sources have used evidence of R. Kelly’s past, such as previous accusations and previous charges, to create the image of him as a monster.

In this particular case, the main people keeping secrets are the victims. They have kept these stories about their experiences with R. Kelly under wraps for various reasons, and now they are able to share them with the public through media platforms, specifically social media. In recent years, social media has become a huge aid for victims of sexual assault or harassment. For many people speaking about their experiences with sexual abuse is extremely hard, especially when it is on a huge platform, like twitter for example, where thousands of people may see it. However, over the past year with things such as the #MeToo movement, social media has become a sort of safe space for these victims. (“History & Vision”, 2006) As this article explains, “Posts, likes and retweets are all things that tell ordinary citizens not only that their voices are being heard, but that their fellow citizens are marching alongside them”. (Slaughter 6) Seeing others posts and how others react to their post about sexual abuse gives these victims a sense of solidarity and empowerment.

Secrecy and revelation played a significant role in this event. The revelation of the accusations against R. Kelly on such a large scale changed a lot of lives. The lives of the victims are forever changed as their faces are now known and their names recognizable. Just as there is a nice supportive side of social media, there is a nasty and negative side that they now have to deal with. (Moriarty) For R. Kelly life has also completely changed as all this media attention has led to his being investigated by police. Ultimately, lectures such as the one about secrecy, have framed the way I examined this event because it gave me a different lens to analyze information with.