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Venezuela

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Carlos Garcia Rawlin/Reuters
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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.

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Rayma Suprani, Venezuela/USA

Two nephews of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores were convicted on charges of conspiring to ship more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine to the United States.

Huge crowds of demonstrators rallied in the streets of Venezuela's capital and in cities across the country, after authorities halted a campaign to hold a recall election intended to oust the country's deeply unpopular president, Nicolas Maduro.

Pope Francis met with the president of Venezuela on Monday for a private conversation about that country's acute political and economic crisis, as the Vatican announced it would be mediating a meeting between Venezuela's government and the opposition.

A statement from the Holy See, as translated by Catholic News Agency, said the pope encouraged President Nicolas Maduro "to undertake with courage the path of sincere and constructive dialogue" and "to alleviate the suffering of the people — first of all, those who are poor."

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

Last December – when Venezuela’s opposition demolished the ruling socialists in parliamentary elections – a lot of folks got ready for an Andean Spring.

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
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.

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