Persona Non Grata

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Last weekend was the VIII Summit of the Americas held in Lima, Peru. What promised to be an interesting encounter thanks to the controversial American President, Donald Trump, the summit lost its momentum and the interest of the international community when he decided to cancel the trip to coordinate the retaliation attacks in Syria with England and France.

Although the main focus was addressing the Odebrecht scandal, the deep-state corruption case that began in Brazil and metastasized to several countries of South America–including the host of the summit, Peru–the subject that gained media attention was the ongoing paralysis in Venezuela.

According to an article by The New York Times the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, left no doubt that he will inherit the “hot potato” to his successor to be elected this Summer.

This growing humanitarian crisis, caused by massive immigration of Venezuelans that have sought refuge in Colombia, is a ticking bomb. The overload of health and social services in a country that can barely satisfy the needs of its own citizens, is one of many moles of Santos’ disgraceful legacy.

Nonetheless, he loves the spotlight and the international catwalk. When asked about the sham upcoming elections in Venezuela on May 20th, he was proud to say that Colombia wouldn’t recognize the results should Nicholas Maduro win again.

The article also cited the intervention of Antonio Ledezma, former Mayor of Caracas. His passionate words were directed at the U.S. representative at the summit, Vice President Mike Pence. He urged him to convince the American Government to widen the scope of the economic sanctions against the Maduro regime and escalate the humanitarian aid to intervention aid.

As expected, not everybody agreed. The leftist Bolivian President, Evo Morales–a fervent fan of Nicolas Maduro–criticized the suggestion and said the United States is the principal threat to world peace and Mother Earth.

In light of the confusion in the region and lack of action from the neighboring governments I ask, “So, we do nothing?”

Like it or not, the U.S. is the only country that has available tools to squeeze Maduro and his supporters, whether is ampler economic sanctions or strengthening the opposition in Venezuela. However, the disdain among the Latin American communities for the Yankees is stronger than the Venezuelan agony.

I frequently compared the United States with an acquaintance that nobody wants to invite at a party–aka Persona Non Grata. But, if at midnight, a couple of guests get drunk, start a fight and trash the place, everybody say, “Call the Americans! They know how to clean this mess!

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

The Age of Reason

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Last Saturday, my son turned seven years old and I remembered that, when I was a little girl, my Grandmother used to tell me, “When you turn seven, my dear, you reach the age of reason.” I never cared to learn about the subject until now.

Throughout history, seven years of age marks a milestone in childhood. Around the world, this is the average age when formal education starts, social expectations change, and privileges and responsibility increase.
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Generosity is a Synonym for Tolerance

Good Crazy Woman

Last Monday, something extraordinary happened to me. I was in the line of a fast food drive-thru, waiting for my turn behind a white Mazda. When the driver in front of me had to pick up the food, she took longer than expected, so my impatience started boiling.

Come on! Are you buying for the entire city?” I said to myself, trying hard not to honk the horn. Then, I mocked her political affiliation as I noticed her bumper sticker. When I finally made it to the cashier and handed her my credit card to pay she said, “The lady in front of you already paid for your order.Continue reading “Generosity is a Synonym for Tolerance”

Is the USA truly aging?

Is the USA truly aging?

Last Tuesday the United States Census Bureau published a revealing report about the American population. For the first time in history, it is projected that in 12 years, the number of seniors 65+ of age will exceed the population under 18. In other words, by 2030, 1 in 5 will be retiring.

When I read this report I was in awe. If there is anything I see every day, everywhere at any given store or restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, are pregnant women or families with three or four small children. Continue reading “Is the USA truly aging?”

Human Contact Saves Lives

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From the moment I immigrated to the United States 13 years ago, I have said, kidding, that American is a crazy. Nonetheless, because of the media attention placed on mental health lately, I had time to reflect on personal experiences that led me to believe that the American craziness is more than a public health dilemma.

The stigma associated with mental health patients has hindered the efforts to find an effective and lasting solution to the problem. I say mental disorders are the modern era leprosy and just as in the past, social structures keep the ailing hidden. In other words, “Out of sight, out of mind”. Continue reading “Human Contact Saves Lives”

The Black Sheep

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Last week I sat to write my weekly blog several times, but I couldn’t. The faces of the parents of the Stoneman Douglas High School children–clenching their cellphones next to their hearts, waiting for a text or a call to answer the question, “Is my child dead or alive?”, left me without words.

Two weeks have passed. All the victims were laid to rest, the Broward County Sheriff’s office can’t shield its coward negligence and alleged corruption inside its department, and the surviving students fight to keep the conversation about background checks and gun control trending.

But more than anything, I can’t imagine the ire that the grieving parents must feel after they read in the news that the perpetrator who murdered their children was on the police and FBI radar. That the Florida Department of Children and Families was providing him with mental health therapy. And the Broward County Public School system knew about his violent and erratic behavior since his pre-adolescence.

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Patients Are Not Clients

Clientes no pacientes

Last Saturday, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin–the most prescribed and addictive opioid narcotic in the U.S.–announced that it will stop promoting this medicine to doctors and cut its sales force in more than half.

Why? Perhaps it is a delayed conscience attack due to the 35 billion dollars they acquired by destroying the lives of more than seven million Americans since 1996.

Actually not. For more than 10 years Purdue has been developing through Mundipharma–its international network–emerging markets in Europe, Latin-America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

In other words, when the U.S. market became toxic, a mine-field of lawsuits and negative corporate image, they moved abroad.

Continue reading “Patients Are Not Clients”