Karen Halnon, a 52-year-old Pennsylvania resident, was arrested at Miami International Airport over the weekend after going on a two-hour rant about how the United States had declared war on Venezuela. The incident went down on a commercial flight from Managua, Nicaragua, to Miami.
During her rant Halnon also decided to light up a cigarette on the airplane, which is probably the second-most obvious thing not to do on an airplane after yelling "bomb." She was promptly arrested at MIA and posed for the bizarre mugshot above. Naturally, her fellow passengers captured portions of the rant on video.
Halnon is an associate professor of sociology at Penn State-Abington and is the author of the books The Consumption of Inequality: Weapons of Mass Distraction and Webbing Vicissitudes of Forgiveness. Halnon's academic specialties apparently aren't in Latin American politics, but now she'll be best known as that crazy lady on the plane ranting about them.
"The United States has declared war on Venezuela! The United States has declared war on Venezuela!" Halnon shouts in the video.
"You've said that like seven times, so..." another passenger can be heard in reply.
"Venezuela has declared a national security threat," Halnon continues.
"You're a national security threat," quips back yet another annoyed passenger.
"My great hero, Hugo Chavez, nationalized the oil supply so that the people would own the oil," Halnon continue undeterred. "Not Exxon Mobil. Tell Exxon Mobil to go away."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Later on Halnon decides to just light up a cigarette while on board the plane. She takes a few drags before quickly stubbing the cigarette out and trying to hide it in the seat pocket. When confronted about it, she tries to blame the person seated next to her.
Naturally, police were on hand when the plane landed in Miami and were prepared to take Hanlon into custody, but the woman would not go quietly. "Fuck you, this is not a democracy!" she shouted in defiance. (Odd how she has such high standards for what a democracy is, and yet loves Venezuela, but that's another story). She was escorted off and then charged with disorderly conduct.
The incident comes a week after President Barack Obama placed sanctions on seven current and former officials who are accused of violating the rights of dissidents in the country. Their crimes are much more serious than escorting someone off of a plane for yelling something political they don't agree with. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the successor to Halnon's "great hero," Hugo Chavez, has perceived this as a military threat by the United States. Troops in the country have now begun a massive 10-day training drill to, in the words of the country's defense minister, prepare for "their mission, their goal, and with the will to be victorious.”
Halnon's bond was only set at $500. She has since posted it.