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Op-ed Venezuela: An obscure chaos – Professional

­Venezuela: An obscure chaos

For many years, Venezuela has been in the center of attention of international news for various reasons. Crimes, violence, inflation and shortages of food and other basic necessities have been the topics most often covered by the media. Nevertheless, one subject remains obscure: the situation of Venezuelans with disabilities, particularly that of those who are blind or visually impaired.

Unfortunately, there is still a lack of awareness about the needs and obstacles faced by people with vision loss, both in Venezuela and throughout the world. Although there are currently no official statistics regarding people with disabilities in Venezuela, a 2011 population census estimates that approximately 460,000 Venezuelans, or 1.7 percent of the population in that country, has a visual impairment.

The lack of accessibility of streets and the precarious situation in which visually impaired citizens live will unfortunately never be the center of Venezuelans conversations, as it has become a taboo subject. For this reason, it is especially important to hear from those who work with people with vision loss, or the individuals who are blind or visually impaired themselves. Otto Tovar lives in Caracas, the country capital, and he has been visually impaired since he was 27. He is the director of Sociedad Amigos de los Ciegos (Blind Friends Society), and he says that Venezuela is not accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

He explains that in Venezuela, people who are blind or visually impaired learn how to be independent, but given the amount of accessibility barriers, they become dependent on others. Lack of signage in Braille and large print, absence of ramps, narrow sidewalks obstructed with bulky materials, non-compliance with traffic lights by drivers, and excessive noise are the main challenges people with vision loss encounter. All those obstacles cause even more precarious conditions, as it represents extra expenses to have someone as an escort at all times.

The scarcity of food and other products has been the main focus and concern of Venezuelans during the last few months. This problem is worse for people with visual impairments, because they no longer have preferential treatment, and they too have to wait in long lines to try to purchase food or other goods. In many cases, this wait can be between 6 and 8 hours long.

Although Venezuela has taken actions to assist people with disabilities, such as passing a law in 2007 requiring private and public companies to hire at least 5 percent of workers with disabilities, society has not given the necessary attention to this population, and this assistance could be considered minimum at best. While the country has made some progress compared to many years ago, blindness and visual impairment continue to be an overlooked topic, accessibility, and universal design are nonexistent, and Venezuelans with vision loss remain in an obscure chaos.

Press Release DPT Productions – Academic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 18 2017

Contact: Axel Davila

Phone: 240.714.0519

Email: aad108@georgetown.edu

DPT Productions Applauds New Oklahoma Tax Relief Bill

Latest law grants a 75 percent rebate on taxes; attracts new business; set to create more jobs

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA – Today, DPT Productions, an Oklahoma-based company dedicated to video and film production services, applauds the signing of the House Bill 716 by Governor Oglethorpe.

The new law will grant a 75 percent tax rebate for production companies that come to Oklahoma to film video or record music. This no-cost state measure is expected to attract new business and create more job positions for citizens.

“This initiative will change the Oklahoma production industry,” said David Turnipseed, CEO of DPT Productions. “House Bill 716 will promote the kind of work companies like us do and we are confident that this will allow the sector to grow.”

Measures like this one are not new in the country, 34 out of the 50 states inside the U.S. have similar initiatives. States such as Arkansas, Colorado, and Minnesota offer the same tax rebate benefits to production companies, but the tax reduction percentage in Oklahoma will be higher. Tax credits and grants are also other measures implemented by states to capture potential companies dedicated to the music, TV, and film business.

In the past, movie producers such as Marvel Animations have decided to move projects like Ant-Man to other states and even outside the country to get the most out of their budget. Last November, the HBO football comedy Ballers decided to relocate from Florida to California to benefit from the TV tax incentive program of the latter.

Rep. Debbie Doloop (Oklahoma City) and Rep. Susan Wollop (Chickasha) were the coauthors of the law.

***

TK

Press Release Community Ambassadors – Professional

Embajadores Comunitarios celebrates closing ceremony

This July 18th Embajadores Comunitarios (Community Ambassadors) held their closing ceremony of its seventh edition in the Hermanos Lanz auditorium of Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB). The organization recognized their delegates, members, and allies for their support during the year.

The managing director of the foundation, José Antonio Domínguez, attended the event as one of the main speakers. Dominguez highlighted the difficulties of the academic year and shared several ideas with attendees. “This organization is built by every one of us and expected conditions are not always given. The leadership that we want to share is a positive leadership that proposes inspiring others and, above all, listening; every one of us must generate habits so that we have a greater capacity to transform ourselves and impact our environment,” Dominguez said.

The Boards of Directors presented certificates of recognition to the participants, volunteers, and allies of Embajadores Comunitarios programs. The event, of free access for attendees, featured an open space for members of Embajadores Comunitarios, in which they shared their review of the year.

As a final point to the event, members of the organization posed for the official photo of the academic year. Toto Aguerrevere, special guest of the event and ex Model of United Nations participant, engaged in a dynamic that delegates tend to do after every model. Aguerrevere took the floor and gave a speech of recognition and hope to the members of the foundation.

A year of success

During the current year and thanks to the supporting network of facilitators and allies, Embajadores Comunitarios provided oratory and negotiation tools to more than 150 delegates. Children from different projects of Embajadores Comunitarios (Ucabmun, Unimetmun, Chacaomun, and FEC Guayana) around the ages of 13 and 18 years old had the opportunity to delegate in different Model of United Nations simulations. Members of the foundation participated in several simulations around Venezuela, in states such as Guayana and Nueva Esparta.

The preparation process will not conclude until next October, when eight members of Embajadores Comunitarios, participants of the Mundial (Worldwide) project, will participate in the Conferencia Internacional de las Americas (International Conference of the Americas). The competition will be held in the Dominican Republic and delegates from Embajadores Comunitarios will try to enlarge the legacy of the foundation by winning awards and recognition.

Talking Points IMF – Academic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

WHAT WE DO

  • Cooperative financial institution
    • Ensures stability exchange rates/payments

HISTORY

  • Founded 1944
    • UN conference – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
    • 29 countries
  • Separate UN body formally established 1945 

OVERVIEW

  • Headquarters Washington D.C.
    • 189 members
    • 2,700 employees
      • 148 countries
    • Accountable to governments
    • SDR = IMF International reserve asset

ORIGINAL AIMS

  • Cooperation – international monetary problems
  • Facilitate international trade
  • Promote exchange rate stability
  • Establishment multilateral systems of payments
  • Lend $ to countries with payment problems

SCOPE OF WORK

  • Surveillance of risks and financial policies
  • Financial lending to countries with payment problems
  • Technical assistance and training on economic policies

RESOURCES & QUOTA SYSTEM

  • Quotas contributions (US $668 billion)
    • Voting power % = Quota contribution %
  • Borrowing agreements

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

  • Board of Governor
    • Approves amendments, resources allocations, admissions/withdrawals
    • 189 Countries vote
  • 24 Executive Board
    • Analyzes countries economy and policies
  • Managing Director: Christine Lagarde

Q&A IMF – Academic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Q – What is the purpose of the International Monetary Fund?

A – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the system of exchange rates and international payments that enable countries to transact with each other.

Q – When was the International Monetary Fund founded?

A – The International Monetary Fund was founded in July 1944 at a United Nations conference organized in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States. The IMF was established to avoid crisis such as the 1930s Great Depression and came into formal existence in December 1945 when the first 29 member countries signed the articles of agreement. The IMF started operations in March 1947 and has an independent governance and structure.

Q – How many member countries does the International Monetary Fund have?

A – The International Monetary Fund has 189 member countries and is a separate body of the United Nations (UN) with headquarters in Washington D.C, and 2,700 employees from 148 countries.

Q – What where the original aims of the International Monetary Fund?

A – The original aims of the International Monetary Fund were to promote cooperation on international monetary problems, facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, promote exchange rate stability, assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments and lend resources to countries facing balance of payment difficulties.

Q – What are the core competencies of the International Monetary Fund?

A – The International Monetary Fund core competencies are surveillance, financial assistance, and capacity development. On surveillance, the IMF advises member countries and encourages economic and financial policies; on financial assistance, the IMF provides interest-free loans to help members with payment problems; on capacity development, the IMF provides technical support and training to assist member countries to design and implement economic policies.

Q – Where do the International Monetary Fund resources come from?

A – The International Monetary Fund resources come from the 668 billion US dollars provided by members’ countries quotas contribution. Likewise, the IMF can complement its resources by borrowing agreements with other members’ countries that have additional funds.

Q – What is the governance of the International Monetary Fund?

A – The International Monetary Fund is governed by countries members and their representatives. Each country governor and temporary substitute participate in the Board of Governor which approves new amendments, resources allocations, and admissions and withdrawals of members with votes from each country. Besides, the IMF has an Executive Board of 24 directors that represent groups of countries and analyze members’ economic issues. Additionally, Christine Lagarde, from France, acts as managing director of the IMF and as chairman of the Executive Board.

Q – Who determines the share and voting power of each country?

A – The share and voting power of each country are determined by the IMF in agreement with members’ countries governments. According to the quotas paid by each country, the IMF assigns a voting power percentage proportional to the contributions.

Backgrounder IMF – Academic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

HISTORY & ORIGINS

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) origins come from a United Nations conference celebrated on July 1944 and organized in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States. The 44 countries at the conference, created a framework for economic cooperation to avoid currency devaluations and crisis such as the 1930s Great Depression.

OVERVIEW

Formally established as a separate body of the United Nations since December 1945, the IMF started its operations in March 1947 with headquarters in Washington D.C. and has 189 country members and 2,700 employees from 148 countries. The IMF issues an international reserve asset know as Special Drawing Right (SDR) which countries members can use to supplement their official reserves.

PURPOSE

The IMF primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the system of exchange rates and international payments that enable countries to transact with each other.

ORIGINAL AIMS

The IMF was first established to promote cooperation on international monetary problems, facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of the international trade, promote the exchange rate stability, assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments, and to lend resources to countries facing balance of payment difficulties.

SCOPE OF WORK

The IMF has surveillance, financial assistance, and capacity development as the three core areas of practice. On the matter of surveillance, the IMF advises its member countries and encourages policies according to regular economic and financial assessments. On financial assistance, The IMF provides interest-free loans to help members with payment problems overcome the economic crisis. On capacity development, the IMF provides technical support and training to assist member countries to design and implement economic policies.

RESOURCES

The primary source of the IMF’s financial funds is the US $668 billion provided by members’ countries quotas contributions or membership fees. Based on the relative economic position of countries, the IMF establishes each member quota percentage contributions. Besides, the IMF can complement its quota resources by multilateral and bilateral borrowing agreements with countries members that have additional funds given their economic prosperity.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Member countries’, who have voting power percentages according to their quotas contribution, govern the IMF. Altogether, the 189 countries governors and their temporary substitutes, constitute the Board of Governor which approves new amendments, resources allocations, and admissions and withdrawals of members. Besides, the IMF has an Executive Board of 24 directors that represent countries or group of countries and is in charge of daily business activities such as analyzing members’ economic issues and policies. Additionally, Christine Lagarde, from France, acts a managing director of the IMF and as chairman of the Executive Board.

Fact Sheet IMF – Academic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Cooperative financial ins­­titution that ensures stability of the system of exchange rates and payments 

HISTORY & OVERVIEW 

  • Conceived in 1944 at the United Nations (UN) conference in Bretton Woods, NH, United States (US)
  • Headquartered in Washington D.C. (US) since formally established 72 years ago (1945)
  • Separate UN body with 2,700 employees from 148 countries and with an independent governance
  • Accountable to the 189 country members governments and their fiscal agents
  • Issues an international reserve asset known as Special Drawing Rights DR that can supplement members’ official reserves

ORIGINAL AIMS 

  • Provide a forum for financial and economic cooperation between countries
  • Facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade
  • Promote exchange rate stability
  • Assist in the establishment of a multilateral arrangement where different actors transfer capital
  • Make funds available to members lacking necessary financial resources to meet payment obligations

SCOPE OF WORK

  • Surveillance of risks and economic and financial policies of members’ countries
  • Financial loans to aid countries balance problems to meet previously acquired payment commitments
  • Technical assistance and training to help members design and implement economic policies

 RESOURCES

  • US $668 billion provided by member countries’ quotas
  • Borrowing agreements from multilateral and bilateral countries members of the IMF

QUOTA SYSTEM

  • Member countries receive voting power percentages according to their quotas contributions
    • Based on countries’ relative position on economy, the IMF establishes a quota percentage

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

  • Board of Governor with one representative of each member country and one substitute
    • Approves new amendments, resources allocations, and admissions and withdrawals of members
  • 24-members Executive Board
    • In charge of daily business activities (Annual analysis of members economic issues and policies)
  • Managing director of the IMF and chairman of the Executive Board: Christine Lagarde (France)

DEFINITIONS & ABREVIATIONS

  • IMF: International Monetary Fund
  • SDR: Special Drawing Right
  • UN: United Nations
  • QUOTA: Contribution from members
  • IMFC: International Monetary and Financial Committee
  • IMS: International Monetary System
  • Voting Power: Percentage of power of each member that is proportional to the Quota percentage