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Sundial

Colombia’s presidential election, easing sanctions on Cuba, the Deering Estate’s centennial

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Photograph By Armando Rodriguez
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The Deering Estate

For voters in Colombia, a former guerrilla rebel is ahead in the race. The Biden Administration relaxes sanctions against Cuba. Plus, A piece of South Florida history turns 100. What will the next century look like considering sea-level rise and climate change?

On this Tuesday, May 24, edition of Sundial:

Colombia’s presidential election

In Colombia, a former guerrilla rebel could become the country’s first left-wing president.

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He’s the most popular candidate in the polls and by far the least popular in South Florida.

Senator Gustavo Petro is ahead in the race largely because of voter dissatisfaction with Colombia’s current right-wing government.

“There is no change. Colombia has been looking for a change for many years,” said Colombian political analyst Juan Pablo Salas on Sundial. “This time is the best time and the best opportunity for somebody from the opposition party to finally reach the main position like the presidency. There will never be another option like this.”

Some in Colombia feel that the long-standing right-wing party has not done enough to address the country’s socio-economic inequality.

Still, Petro hasn’t reached the 50% he’d need to avoid a run-off election in June, that means there could be a second round, where voters will have to choose between him and his conservative rival, former Medellín Mayor Federico Gutiérrez.

The elections are Sunday.

Colombia’s presidential election
Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro speaks during a campaign rally in Medellín, Colombia, on April 7. Petro is polling first ahead of the May 29 election.

Easing sanctions on Cuba 

President Joe Biden wants to go back— somewhat— to the Obama-era’s opening to Cuba.

A lot has happened since former President Obama normalized relations with Cuba eight years ago: Obama’s successor, former President Trump, re-tightened U.S. sanctions against the communist regime. The pandemic crippled the island’s crucial tourism industry. And unprecedented anti-government protests swept the island last summer.

Last week, the Biden Administration re-loosened some of Trump’s restrictions. It allowed more U.S. travel and remittances to Cuba, and it revived an immigration program to reunify Cuban families.

Of course, it’s a controversial move politically that has been met with resistance from both Democrats and Republicans here in Florida.

Andy Gomez, a retired Professor of Cuban Studies and Dean of International Studies at the University of Miami joined Sundial to discuss this news and how Cuban people on the island are responding.

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Deering Estate

In South Florida, people tend to focus on the new: what's coming up, what new places are opening… and things always seem to be changing in this region. However, there are places in South Florida that have been around for a century… even more.

The Deering Estate is one of them. Its Stone House was built in 1922 for Chicago industrialist Charles Deering and his wife, Marion. The Mediterranean Revival Stone mansion mixes all kinds of Spanish influences, and it's now a national landmark.

To talk about its first 100 years— but also how to prep for the next 100— Jennifer Tisthammer joined Sundial. She is the director of Deering Estate and chief of conservation at Miami-Dade Parks.

Deering Estate
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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.