Venezuelan crisis

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Venezuelan art dealer Romy Moreno was in South Florida last month when she got an urgent call from her husband, Roberto Marrero, in Caracas.

Agents of Venezuela's authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro were ransacking their apartment and arresting Marrero – who is the chief of staff to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The U.S. and 50 other countries recognize Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate president.

Alejandra Martinez

The city of Doral has a majority immigrant population; 82 percent are Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As of last year, 28 percent of Doral's 59,000 residents are Venezuelan-born, or more than one in four people, according to the mayor's office.

Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, who was born in Cuba, says that in order for the city's huge immigrant population to play a role in the region’s economy, newly arrived immigrants must learn the "rules" of the game.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the weekend the New York Times created hemispheric buzz. It reported that U.S. officials talked privately this past year with rebellious Venezuelan military officers. Those officers wanted U.S. help to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro.

Apparently nothing came of the talks; the Trump Administration declined to help the rogue militares. But the Times story was more evidence that President Trump is exploring unusually strong action to topple Maduro. At the White House last summer, he'd already displayed that impulse.

“We have many options for Venezuela," Trump said then, "including a possible military option if necessary…”

YouTube

Venezuela’s chaos turned bizarre Tuesday evening when a rogue police officer flew a helicopter over the Caracas presidential palace and later urged Venezuelans to rise up against their government. The cop has done this sort of thing before – on the big screen.

Oscar Pérez is an officer in Venezuela’s investigative police force. But now it seems he’s an insurrectionist.

Franklin Gutierrez / St Vincent de Paul

Greilys arrived in South Florida two months ago from Los Teques, Venezuela, south of Caracas, with “a few dollars and four suitcases” – hounded out of her job and her country, she says, by an increasingly brutal socialist regime.

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COMMENTARY

How much do Venezuelans hate President Nicolás Maduro? Apparently they revile him so much that – in a country where food shortages are so acute the average adult lost almost 20 pounds last year – they’re willing to throw eggs at him.

This is Semana Santa, the Easter Holy Week, a time when Maduro hoped most Venezuelans would pause their angry anti-government protests and head to the beach. Instead they pelted him with stones and eggs as his open car moved through Ciudad Guayana on Tuesday.

YouTube (left); Tim Padgett(right) / WLRN.org

For some of his countrymen, Venezuelan cross-country skier Adrián Solano’s performance in Finland last week was uplifting – even though it involved a lot of falling down. To others it was mucha pena. Really embarrassing.

C
Luis Gallo

The first thing you notice is the restaurants.

Gustavo Cruz, a Venezuelan who runs a restaurant with his father in the Colombian capital Bogotá, says there’s a boom of Venezuelan areperas in the city.

Areperas are the folks who make and sell arepas, corn flatbreads popular in both Colombia and Venezuela, but prepared differently in each country.

And now Bogotá is awash in Venezuelan areperas — a testament to the recent influx of Venezuelan migrants and their visibility in the city’s public life.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The forklift’s working overtime at Vikom Export, one of the hundreds of shipping companies nestled in the warehouse labyrinths of Doral, just west of Miami.

Almost all of Vikom’s shipments go to Venezuela – and they’ve doubled since last year.