Flickr Eduardo!

Venezuela just finished another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week on both the financial and security fronts. And it suggests things could get even worse.

What do you do when your country’s foreign reserves are dropping at a rate that would make avid bungee jumpers nauseous? If you’re left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you take strong, decisive macroeconomic action.

You withhold dollars from Mickey Mouse.

Yessir, you discourage your countrymen from traveling to Florida, by further restricting the amount of dollars they can spend there with their bank credit cards – from $2,500 to $700.

Pilar Calderon / Presidencia de Colombia

Today’s international affairs quiz: Would you rather see Venezuela denied a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, or would you prefer to see an end to Colombia’s eternal civil war?

Pick one. Can’t have both.

That’s at least what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told me this week during our interview in New York, where he and a host of other heads of state are gathered for the U.N. General Assembly.

Let’s be clear: Breast implants are no laughing matter.

Women who’ve had mastectomies can depend on them. Women who’ve had self-esteem issues can turn to them. And if they’re defective, women can die from them.

But let’s be honest: When the Associated Press this week reported a shortage of breast implants in Venezuela – the latest of a host of product scarcities in that whack economy – a lot of people chuckled.


  A YouTube video has become a tear-jerker hit among opponents of Venezuela’s socialist government.

An unidentified young woman stands up in a Caracas metro car and screams at fellow passengers. Wearing a T-shirt that says, “He who rests loses,” she rails for a good five minutes at the authoritarian shambles Venezuela has become under the Bolivarian Revolution the late Hugo Chávez began 15 years ago.

Simon_sees / Flickr/

It’s going to get even tougher to find a seat on a flight to Venezuela now. International airlines are cutting if not ending their service to the South American country. And that now includes the major U.S. carrier  – American Airlines.

El Nuevo Herald (courtesy)

El Nuevo Herald journalist Antonio Delgado reported something pretty nauseating this week.

In his excellent May 19 article, Delgado details the opulent Coral Gables lifestyle enjoyed by the new owners of the Venezuelan television news network Globovisión.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Not one but both Florida Senators came to Doral Thursday morning to show solidarity with the state's large Venezuelan community.

In their bipartisan appearance at the Arepazo Dos restaurant, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio said U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's socialist government - which has been widely criticized for its heavy-handed response to anti-government protests - may be a stronger possibility now. 

Hear the full story below.


The Miami Herald Media Company has a new president and publisher—and it didn't have to look too far. Alexandra Villoch, currently Senior Vice President for advertising, will start her new role on April 14th. The announcement was made to a receptive room mostly comprised of Herald employees.

Villoch is the first woman to fill the role in the company's 110-year history.


It may or not be a coincidence that Cuban leader Raúl Castro disclosed his new foreign investment law this week just as Venezuela was getting another big thumbs-down from the financial world.

Cuba’s threadbare communist economy depends on kindred benefactors like socialist Venezuela. But as that oil-rich country’s own economy continues to implode – the Fitch Ratings company downgraded Venezuelan credit to “Outlook Negative” on Tuesday – Castro has no choice but to open his island’s rusted doors more broadly to capital, capitalism and capitalists.


Caracas suffered another big power outage on Tuesday. The blackout shut down a hospital and a metro line and left large swaths of the Venezuelan capital without juice for much of the day.

One official response could be an upgrade of oil-rich Venezuela’s antiquated power grid. Another might be more spurious arrests of opposition politicians.

I’m betting on the latter.

That’s because the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro seems much more skilled at finding scapegoats than at fixing problems.

Franklin Reyes / Flickr

Of all the on-scene reporting from the deadly anti-government protests in Venezuela, Frank Bajak of the Associated Press may have written one of the most important pieces this week – and it didn’t involve tear gas or street barricades.

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories March 9-15

Mar 17, 2014
Kenny Malone

Venezuelan boycotters and the history of the I-95 road symbol were our top stories. Other honorable mentions include Ira Glass telling us how weird Florida is as a state, Beckham bringing soccer to Miami and -- where does our water come from? Seriously, where?

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Pietra Diwan takes pride in the master’s degree she earned in history back in her native Brazil. But a passion for historical accuracy may cost her the business she built here in South Florida.

As a historian, Diwan pays attention to document details. That’s why she raised flags last month when Venezuelan friends here started posting Facebook photos of the ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela.

It’s a shame that Venezuela just severed diplomatic and economic ties with Panama, because their respective presidents – Nicolás Maduro and Ricardo Martinelli – have a lot in common.

Yes, I know that Maduro is a radical socialist and former bus driver. And that Martinelli is a right-wing supermarket tycoon.