The Florida Roundup: A State Senator Resigns, Violence In Venezuela & Manatees Off Endangered List

Apr 23, 2017

Credit The Miami Herald

This week on The Florida Roundup...

With less than three weeks left to go in Florida's 2017 Legislative Session, state Senate leaders have found themselves suddenly confronted with arguably the most uncomfortable situation they've had to face in some time.

Republican state former Senator Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned from the Florida Legislature on Friday, April 21 -- after he flung racist and sexist remarks at two African-American colleagues at a Tallahassee bar. 

Patricia Mazzei broke the story for The Miami Herald, she joined us by-phone from the capitol moments after Artiles' resignation. Plus, el Nuevo Herald's Brenda Medina, who has written about race relations within the Latino community, joins our panel. And we hear from Hialeah Councilmen Paul Hernandez regarding Artiles' excuse for his comments: "I'm from Hialeah." 

 

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Anti-government protests in Venezuela continue to grow as opposition leaders face off with President Maduro and his administration. The protestors want Maduro to step down following chronic food and drug shortages due the the country's economic collapse. 

Read more: Venezuela Erupts In "Mother Of All' Protests As Anti-Maduro Sentiment Seethes

We turn to WLRN's Americas correspondent Tim Padgett for the latest. And Mariana Zuñiga joins us from Caracas to explain why more and more Venezuelan women are opting for sterilization as the situation continues to worsen. 

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In recent years, the manatee population has rebounded to such a degree that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last month that it would downgrade the West Indian manatee from "endangered" to "threatened." And yet, many Florida environmentalists and lawmakers are not celebrating the news.

Read more: More Good News For Manatees In Florida: Study Expects Population To Keep Growing

We ask WLRN's environmental reporter Kate Stein why some fear the change could mean harm for the gentle sea cow. Also, we're joined by the Florida manatee recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Jim Valade and Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club

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