Venezuela

Álvaro Callama is struggling to survive an economic double whammy.

A Venezuelan electrician, he fled his homeland two years ago amid a devastating economic crisis that left him too poor to buy food. He moved to neighboring Colombia, where Callama — nothing if not resourceful — worked three jobs: picking fruit, laying bricks and guiding tourists on horseback rides.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

You could say I’ve got pandemic in my blood. My first American ancestor came to this country in 1665 escaping London’s bubonic plague, which killed a quarter of the city's population.

Matias Delacroix / AP

The U.S. on March 26 indicted authoritarian Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on narco-terrorism charges. Just days later the Trump Administration has laid out a "transition plan" for finally getting rid of Maduro.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Thursday morning the Trump Administration charged the President of Venezuela and top regime officials with corruption and narco-terrorism against the U.S. And a large part of the federal indictments were focused on South Florida.

YouTube

COVID-19 has hit Latin America less hard than the rest of the world. But cases and deaths there are mounting – and governments are finding a good way to get the word out about protecting yourself is … music videos.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Since COVID-19 is a global pandemic, more Americans are asking a relevant question: In life-and-death emergencies like this, should the U.S. loosen economic sanctions against countries like Cuba, Iran – and especially Venezuela?

In his Sunday news briefing on the coronavirus response, President Trump was asked about the Defense Production Act, which the government can use to spur businesses to create needed supplies.

"The fact that I signed it, it's in effect," he said. "But you know, we're a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well."

The Cold War-era law doesn't nationalize businesses.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

One of the most popular, and most ridiculous, social media discussions of the past year is the big Capitalism-versus-Socialism Debate. Thanks to President Trump’s right-wing demonization of socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ left-wing demonization of capitalism, folks in America – and in Latin America, thanks to Sanders’ recent kudos to Cuba – have decided it’s an either-or issue.

It’s not, of course. The best societies are always a hybrid of free wealth production and fair wealth redistribution. And the coronavirus pandemic, from São Paulo to Seattle, may finally affirm that commonsense reality across our absurdly polarized hemisphere.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Since Venezuelan opposition leader and interim President Juan Guaidó returned from a world tour last month, people were asking: What’s his next move? On Tuesday, Guaidó was back in action against Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. The new question: Would enough of his supporters be too?

Rodrigo Abd / AP

When São Paulo, Brazil, reported Latin America’s first case of the new coronavirus last month, South Florida had reason to worry.

Presidencia de Honduras

COMMENTARY

While visiting Honduras this year, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called President Juan Orlando Hernández “a valued and proven partner” for “promoting security” in Central America.

So forgive me if I looked a tad confused this week when U.S. prosecutors in New York alleged that seven years ago a Honduran drug kingpin bribed Hernández, then a presidential candidate, to protect his cocaine business if Hernández were elected.

Andres Leighton / AP

Since taking office, President Trump has worked to gain more Latino support in Florida by casting his rival Democrats as socialists – like the regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Last week, WLRN talked to the Democratic SuperPAC Priorities U.S.A. about the Trump's strategy. They claim it’s the President who resembles Latin American dictators.

This week WLRN speaks with Kelly Sadler, a spokesperson for America First Action, a Republican SuperPAC that strongly supports Trump. (Sadler was a communications aide to President Trump but left the White House amid a controversy over remarks she reportedly made about the late Senator John McCain.) Sadler spoke to WLRN’s Tim Padgett and Alejandra Martinez from Washington about the President – and how the GOP plans to attract more Hispanic voters.

Patrick Semansky / AP

COMMENTARY

As Bernie Sanders doubles down on his controversial praise for Fidel Castro, I’m thinking instead of another deceased Latin American dictator: Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, whose monstrous military regime murdered thousands of people in the 1970s and '80s.

Priorities USA via Twitter

Last week, the Democratic Super PAC Priorities U.S.A. launched a social media ad campaign that's created a lot of buzz in South Florida.

Fernando Llano / AP

It’s no secret Venezuela’s once robust oil industry is wrecked, which is why its economy is wrecked too. Even Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist president is now admitting it.

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