Venezuela

Fernando Llano AP

  This week, three batches of mosquitoes found in traps in Miami Beach tested positive for Zika. In another important development, the Florida Department of Health admitted  it may take longer for pregnant women to get their Zika test results back. WLRN’s health reporter Sammy Mack fills us in on the latest on the Zika epidemic in South Florida. 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Jim Wyss, the Miami Herald’s Andean bureau chief who traveled to Venezuela to cover a massive protest rally in Caracas, was detained by Venezuelan immigration authorities Wednesday evening.

Wyss arrived in the Venezuelan capital very early Tuesday and entered the country with a journalist visa valid through October. However, he emailed the newspaper at 5:21 p.m. Wednesday, saying: “Am being detained … by immigration.”

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.

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Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Venezuelans are suffering in many ways right now.

A severe economic crisis in the country has led to massive inflation and major shortages of food, medicine, and other essentials.

Like the people, zoo animals are also going hungry, says Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for the National Park Institute Inparques Project.

"The story of the animals at Caricuao [Zoo in Caracas] is a metaphor for Venezuelan suffering," she said.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

For the past year, the border between Venezuela and Colombia has effectively been closed. That’s only worsened the suffering of Venezuelans who can’t find enough food and medicine inside their collapsing economy. But relief may be coming tomorrow.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shut down his country’s western border last year for what he called “security reasons.” Critics said he was just trying to deflect attention from his catastrophic mismanagement of Venezuela’s economy – which has led to severe shortages of basic goods.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Even after thugs broke into Anahís Montiel’s house, dragged her into the street, murdered her with machetes and threw her corpse into a nearby ravine, they still had time to return to her home and rob everything while her husband and six children were forced to watch it all.

They had about eight hours, in fact, since local cops did nothing.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

There are two Venezuelas.

In one, there are food riots and empty supermarket shelves and long lines of people waiting for basic goods. In the other, there are gourmet meals, creamy cappuccinos and rich desserts.

At the Santa Elena supermarket in the poor neighborhood or barrio of Antimano in Caracas, the capital, 72-year-old Nerys Ojeda is looking for detergent to wash her clothes. There isn't any.

"We can't find flour, spaghetti, sugar, butter. You can't find any of the things we really need," she says.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here we go again, only in reverse.

If you remember the Great Recession, then you remember every liberal coming out of the woodwork in those days to denounce capitalism.

Not just the capitalist excesses that caused the U.S. financial collapse. Free-market mutants like subprime mortgages and the deranged securities they were bundled into. But capitalism itself.

AP (left) and Ariana Cubillos (right) / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Donald Trump haters are fist-bumping in South Florida this week after the PGA hauled a major pro golf tournament out of the Trump National resort here in Doral. They're moving it to Mexico – the country that’s had more rhetorical sand kicked in its face by presidential candidate Trump than any other.

Courtesy Leal

These days, Venezuela’s street soundtrack isn’t salsa or joropo. It’s a loop of anti-government chants and blasts of teargas cannisters.

It’s clashes between police and protesters calling for the removal of socialist President Nicolás Maduro – as the Western Hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation suffers deeper social, political and especially economic collapse.

But amid the angry unrest and crippling food shortages there are a few sanctuaries where Venezuela’s future looks a little less miserable – even a little less torn apart.

Jason Parker/Flickr

The biggest game in sports is coming back to South Florida. The Miami Dolphins will host the Super Bowl in 2020, celebrating a century of the NFL. But is this Miami’s game - or is it South Florida's game? Should the branding leave out Broward County?

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

It’s hard to believe that guards at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas still let Venezuela’s breathtakingly clueless President Nicolás Maduro through the gate each morning.

Because history will remember Maduro – the laughable lefty who was fodder for a John Oliver monologue this week – for transforming the western hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation into the Caribbean Korea.

Meaning, North Korea.

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Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

When Luis got home last month after four months in the US, he had to unpack his bags by candlelight. 

He had taken the trip to hone his English, and to look for work that would grant him a visa allowing him to live in the US. It took him months to save for the trip. 

But ultimately, the only job offer he received would’ve required him to live and work illegally in Washington, DC.

Memegen

COMMENTARY

Venezuela’s economic disintegration has wrought severe shortages. Food, medicine, electricity. And now – ¡cónchale, chamo! – even Polar beer.

But there might be one scarcity above all others keeping President Nicolás Maduro awake and sweaty at night.

It’s a shortage of scapegoats. Especially U.S. scapegoats.

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