Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

GUESTS:  Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, joins me for a discussion of the latest US-Latin America stories……….we will also hear from Luisa Ravelo-Guedes, a Venezuelan national who lives in Texas….click here for the show:

“Palm trees in the snow” with Gloria Strassburger & Dr Gross in Cuba with Fausta Wertz

Fausta Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog.  We will look at the major stories of the week, from Dr Gross on a “hunger strike” in Cuba, to President Correa in the US, to the continuing violence in Venezuela, the upcoming World Cup in Brazil and other front page stories in Latin America newspapers.

We will also hear from Gloria M. Strassburger, the author of “Palm trees in the snow”, a book about her Cuban American experience.

Gloria’s book is the latest Cuban American story.  Gloria is a “Pedro Pan” and relates her family’s story and impact of the communist takeover of the island.


Memories of Cuba and the current tragedy in Venezuela

We spoke with Victor Triay, Cuban American author, and Fausta Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, about Cuba, Pedro Pan, Bay of Pigs, Cuban Americans and the events in Venezuela.


Ana Quintana, a young Cuban woman at The Heritage Foundation

Ana Quintana’s parents came from Cuba.  She was born in Miami and now a Research Associate, Latin America, at The Heritage Foundation:

“Quintana holds a master of arts degree in global security studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science, both from Florida International University. She also received certificates in national security, Latin American and Caribbean studies. She was a scholar in the university’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship Studies.

Fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese, Quintana studied in Minas Gerais, Brazil, on a scholarship sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Before joining Heritage in 2013, she was a student trainee at Defense. She also held internships at Virginia-based International Relief and Development, where she worked on rule of law issues in Latin America, and at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she worked on civilian-military cooperation.”

A few days ago, Ana wrote a very good article about the killing of Monica Spears, the beauty queen:

“Over the holiday, beauty queen Monica Spears and her husband were gunned down while visiting her home country of Venezuela. The couple was traveling with their five-year-old daughter when their car broke down. As they waited for help, armed robbers assaulted the family. While the child survived with only a minor gunshot wound to the leg, her parents were not as fortunate.

Venezuela is one of the most violent countries in South America. Since the commencement of Hugo Chavez’s 21st-century socialist movement in Venezuela, violence and crime have skyrocketed. The country now registers an average of 79 murders per 100,000. (Honduras, the murder capital of the world, has 91 murders per 100,000.) Chavez’s appointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, has done little to improve the situation. His proposed security planPatria Segura (“Secure Homeland”), is nothing more than a publicity stunt backed up by falsified statistics.

While homicide and kidnapping rates are decreasing on a global average, those crimes continue to plague Latin America, with Mexico remaining the world leader. You’re more likely to be kidnapped in Venezuela than in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, or Libya. Active war zones and countries overrun by terrorists are much safer than Maduro’s Venezuela.”

We spoke with Ana, and Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog, on today’s show.  I hope that you follow Ana’s work at The Heritage Foundation.

Here is the show:

The Cubanization of Venezuela: “La bola pica y se extiende”

We Cubans have a lot of great expressions. One of my favorites is “la bola pica y se extiende”. It means something like “its complicated” and there is no solution around the corner.

For months, our friends at Babalu have been telling you about the “Cubanization” of Venezuela.  Let’s add one more episode to that very tragic and sad story.

Today, we learned from AP that Venezuela’s health care system is collapsing:

“Driving the crisis in health care are the same forces that have left Venezuelans scrambling to find toilet paper, milk and automobile parts. Economists blame government mismanagement and currency controls set by the late President Hugo Chavez for inflation pushing 50 percent annually.

The government controls the dollars needed to buy medical supplies and has simply not made enough available.”

It gets worse, or “se pone peor la cosa”:

“Almost everything needed to mend and heal is in critically short supply: needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer; drugs to treat it; operating room equipment; X-ray film and imaging paper; blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions.
Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines, precisely what Gonzalez will need once her tumor is removed, are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients – meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.
“Two months ago we asked the government to declare an emergency,” said Natera, whose doctors group is the country’s largest. “We got no response.”

The Associated Press sought comment from Health Minister Isabel Iturria but her press office did not respond to repeated interview requests.”

This is life in Venezuela.  It is a daily grind of shortages, censorship and “Cubanization”.

P. S.   You can hear our show about Venezuela HERE  @ 7 PM CT….

with Fausta Wertz, Jerry Brewer and Comandante Cazorla from Venezuela.