Latin America

Alan Diaz / AP

COMMENTARY

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won another six-year term in an election so laughably rigged – and mostly boycotted by Venezuelans – it made last month’s presidential vote in communist Cuba look Jeffersonian.

AP

The White House on Monday announced it would block the Venezuelan government from selling off the nation's assets in exchange for cash in response to what it called an illegitimate and "sham" election Sunday that gave leader Nicolas Maduro another term.

Ariana Cubillos AP

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - The U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on one of Venezuela’s most powerful men Friday — Diosdado Cabello, along with his family and economic adviser — accusing him of drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal mining.

The sanctions come as Washington is turning up the heat on the South American nation just days before presidential elections.

Also named in Friday’s report are Cabello’s brother, Jose David Cabello, the head of the tax department, and Cabello’s wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras.

Rather than a sunny, uplifting campaign message, Henri Falcón, the main opposition candidate in Venezuela's May 20 presidential election, has settled on the more blunt "¡Se va!"

That's Spanish for: "He's leaving!"

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

First of a three-part WLRN series, "Escape From Venezuela"

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | This is what the Venezuelan refugee crisis sounds like: the fists, knuckles and open palms of destitute – and above all hungry – Venezuelan migrants pounding on the metal gates of humanitarian relief stations here in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.

A short man with a ponytail peeks through a crack in a sheet-metal fence, calling out to see if anybody's home. His name is Dario Garcia and he is checking on some people with HIV to make sure they're taking their meds.

Garcia walks through the muddy yard, past chickens and scrawny dogs, to the cinder block house.

Sonia Osorio

The Nicolás Maduro regime, already accused of destroying one of Latin America's most prosperous economies, is now ruining the finances of Venezuelans abroad who feel obligated to send much-needed assistance to relatives in the oil-producing country.

Many Venezuelans living in Miami spend $200 to $300 per month to buy food and ship it to relatives back home using freight companies. They also spend money on medicines, which are in short supply in Venezuela.

The American labor movement is in trouble.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While a growing global chorus calls for Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega to step down, I’m thinking back to one of my favorite editorial cartoons.

It appeared 28 years ago, at the curtain call of Ortega’s first presidency – right after Nicaraguan voters tossed out him and his Marxist Sandinista party, ending their decade of authoritarian rule.

The cartoon shows Ortega rafting across the Caribbean to Cuba. Iconic communist dictator Fidel Castro stands onshore angrily shouting, “You lost a WHAT?!”

John Power / WLRN

The rhythms of  the Spanish language have contributed a lot to the sound of South Florida, where more than two million people speak the language. Immigrants from Colombia to Cuba to Venezuela have made vale and dale part of the region’s everyday talk.

Catharine Skipp / University of Miami Law School

A historic anti-corruption wave is sweeping across much of Latin America. Its hero is a federal judge in Brazil named Sergio Moro - and he got a hero’s welcome on Thursday in the so-called capital of Latin America: Miami.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

On Wednesday, Cuba may have a new president, elected by the National Assembly. (The election session had been scheduled to start Thursday, but the government moved it up a day.)

“Election” is a relative term here – Cuba is a communist state – but something does set it apart.

President Trump has canceled his planned trip to Latin America this week.

The commander in chief and his advisers are deciding on a response to the Syrian government's alleged chemical weapons attack on its own people. And closer to home, the office of the president's personal lawyer was raided by the FBI on Monday.

So Trump is staying put, the White House says.

YouTube

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned as president of Peru in March because of a corruption scandal – just a month before he was supposed to host the Summit of the Americas this week in Lima. But here’s the kicker: This time the theme of that gathering of the hemisphere’s heads of state is ... corruption.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's deadline has come and gone, and still the former Brazilian president remains a free man — for now, at least. He has hunkered down with his supporters in a São Paulo suburb, some 280 miles from the southern city of Curitiba, where a judge's order had mandated that he present himself to police by 4 p.m. ET Friday.

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