Americas

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

By now everybody knows the bigly favor President Trump did the Alt-Right this week.

On Tuesday, like a parent defending his bully kid in the principal’s office, Trump insisted the mayhem and death that torch-carrying white supremacists wrought in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend weren’t all their fault. The Alt-Left was also to blame, he said. (And by the way, Stonewall Jackson was an American hero too.)

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

The targets on the backs of Venezuelans like Gustavo Marcano grow larger by the day.

Marcano is the mayor of the eastern Venezuelan city of Lechería. Like most places in Venezuela this year, Lechería has been the site of angry anti-government protests as the country’s economy collapses – and as its socialist regime morphs into what critics call a dictatorship.

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

This is turning out to be quite the embarrassing summer for communist Cuba.

This week the State Department revealed that two Cuban diplomats working in Washington had been booted out of the U.S. in response to “incidents” last year that made U.S. diplomats working in Havana physically ill. The Associated Press reported investigators believe sonic devices were planted in the U.S. diplomats’ residences that left the Americans with hearing loss.

YouTube

On Sunday a small band of Venezuelan soldiers staged a revolt at a military base in the city of Valencia and made off with weapons.

Tim Padget / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

This week a Twitter troll with the typically (and typically cowardly) anonymous handle of @Jesus78773335 came after me online.

Courtesy Pro Footvolley Tour

Lately you may have seen a strange marriage of soccer and volleyball playing out on your local beach. It’s called footvolley.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes to tweet verses from the Book of Proverbs, an Old Testament favorite among conservatives that says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

You could paraphrase that to describe the Republican Senator’s diplomatic philosophy: “Fear of America is the beginning of foreign policy.”

Rubio clings to the Cold War belief that the U.S. can and should make every geopolitical rogue from Cuba to North Korea cry uncle. So does President Trump.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN.org

More than 100,000 Venezuelan expats came out to vote in South Florida Sunday in a hastily arranged election that officially means nothing - but which could end up meaning a lot if the international community is paying attention.

Twitter via El Nuevo Herald

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López was released from prison over the weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that Venezuela’s unpopular socialist government remains firmly in power – thanks largely to the loyalty of Venezuela’s military leaders. Many of those top brass are accused of having links to drug trafficking – and they fear that if President Nicolás Maduro is overthrown, they’ll have to face justice.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Note: This story was first broadcasted on Jan. 16, 2017. 

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.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

President Trump’s Cuba speech in Miami last Friday offered chest-thumping, cold-war nostalgia sound-bites like:

“Now we hold the cards.”

“We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement.”

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Ricans want to become America’s 51st state. But right now it's doubtful America – at least President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress – feels the same way.

In a non-binding referendum on Sunday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 97 percent of those who voted chose statehood over the two other options: remaining a U.S. territory or becoming an independent country.

Cliff Owen / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While South Florida breathlessly awaits President Trump’s decision on whether to roll back his predecessor’s normalization of relations with Cuba, something else is happening in Washington that could nudge normalization forward – or severely set it back.

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