Are there hurricanes in South America?

 

Hurrricane Irma
NBC 6 South Florida

Since September 4th, the name Irma stole the thunder, literally. Considered the most powerful Category 5 hurricane recorded in the history of the North Atlantic Ocean–with sustained winds of 187 mph–Irma crossed the islands of the Caribbean and the state of Florida as if it were a lawn mower leaving in its path nothing but destruction and heartbreak.

The aftermath of the hurricane was catastrophic. More than 50 victims, 15 million people without electricity and billions of dollars in property damage. Continue reading “Are there hurricanes in South America?”

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The Power of Faith

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Yesterday, while I wrote this blog, two important events were about to happen in my home country.  First, the Colombian qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup in Russia against Brazil, and the second, the arrival of Pope Francis. Nothing like religion and soccer to collapse the country of the Sacred Heart.

While I watched the game, I scared my son several times with my gut retching screams every time the Colombian and Brazilian players shot their cannons at the opponent’s goalies. I even had to take an acid reducer pill to control my gastritis. Continue reading “The Power of Faith”

Corruption: Colombia’s endless eclipse

Last Monday, August 21st, two historical events took place. My mother’s birthday and the total sun eclipse that crossed 14 states in the US–from coast to coast–driving people crazy. In my city, the only effect that the astronomical event brought was torrential rain that overcast the sky leaving millions of fanatics with their $40 special sunglasses unpacked.

Out of all the images that circled social media in the last couple of days, the one that caught my attention was this Colombian cartoon by Matador, published on the newspaper El Tiempo. Corrupción means Corruption.

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Matador, EL TIEMPO August 21,  2017

Continue reading “Corruption: Colombia’s endless eclipse”

Dangerous Treats

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Last week, one of my best friends returned from a two-week trip to Alaska and Canada. Besides talking about the majestic views, she told me about the surprise she got with the normalized use of marijuana compared to five years ago, the last time she visited. Her and her husband had to improvise in front of their 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter every time the unmistakable smell surrounded them.

Alaska is one of the eight states in the US where cannabis is completely legal. Initially, these states approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but as expected, the legislation became the Trojan Horse to progressively turn it loose for recreational use. Continue reading “Dangerous Treats”

Is Neymar’s transfer price to PSG immoral?

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Last Saturday August 5th, the Paris St Germain’s fans were let down. The star that cost them 263 million euros couldn’t shine at the Parc de Princes Stadium against the Amiens, because the CTI (International Transfer Certificate) was not registered the eve before the game to finalize the transfer process.

After reading sports articles of American, Colombian, British and Spanish magazines, the majority highlighted in their headlines the “immorality” of Neymar’s price tag. Nonetheless, what morality in terms of money can be expected from Qatar, the richest country in the world and owner of the PSG? According to data from the 2017 Forbes report, the GDP of the Persian Golf state is $130,000 a year.

Continue reading “Is Neymar’s transfer price to PSG immoral?”

An island named Venezuela

Xiomara Spadafora Venezuela

Last Thursday, July 27th, I was left in anguish after I read the order issued by the State Department for the diplomatic corp stationed in the American Embassy in Caracas. In a few words, the instructions were to get their families out of Venezuelan territory and join them if they wished so.

That same day, Avianca–the emblematic Colombian airline–joined the growing list of airlines that stopped servicing the Caribbean country in the last months, and flew the routes from Bogota and Lima to Caracas for the last time ending decades of operations with the neighbor nation. Continue reading “An island named Venezuela”

Sardine Tin

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Last Monday I woke up to the very disturbing news of a freight truck that was found at a parking lot in San Antonio, TX transporting immigrants illegally from Mexico to the US. Eight dead people were found inside the trailer and more than a dozen survivors were sent to local hospitals. Two more died by Monday evening.

The San Antonio Police Department couldn’t get the exact number of immigrants that entered the country. Based on the evidence of the surveillance cameras located in the parking lot, several SUVs picked up groups of people on Sunday’s early hours before the authorities arrived at the crime scene.

Nonetheless, the testimony of a few survivors verify that there were at least 100 people in the container. They also said that they begged for water and food from the smugglers–known in Spanish as Coyotes–but were refused saying that the ride would be short and the air conditioning would be turned on.

Hours passed and the coyotes didn’t honor their promises. In the contrary, the AC remained off and the trailer became a sardine tin with a small ventilation hole that the passengers shared with desperation trying to survive the asphyxiation. Experts estimated that with an outside temperature of 110°F, the temperature inside the container could have easily reached 150°F.

So far, the only responsible held in federal custody without bail is the driver, James Bradley, a 60 year old man from Clearwater, Florida. According to the authorities, in his initial testimony Bradley alleged that he was hired as a driver and didn’t know the nature of the cargo until he stopped at Walmart to use the bathroom and heard the cries for help. He faces life sentence or the death penalty.

When I read the story the first question that came to mind was, did the coyotes develop a formula to shrink people so they could hide from the border patrol at the checkpoint? The answer is no. Human and drug traffickers have infiltrated the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection Agency by placing pawns in strategic positions that allow them to operate with total impunity.

In December of last year The New York Times published an article that revealed some of the most recent bribe cases that show the epidemic inside the DHS and the border patrol and the inefficient efforts to dismantle the corruption networks.

Although combating illegal immigration is a national security priority, the DHS and the Customs and Border Protection Agency currently only counts with 200 active internal affairs investigators which is 300 short of the actual employee corruption complaints.

Even though the San Antonio story breaks one’s heart, the days of its life span in the news cycle are numbered. The victims of this case will never have a name, and the master-minds of human trafficking will continue to take advantage of the desperation and profit from the poverty of their own countrymen. Blocking this lack of compassion will required more than a wall.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119