Miami's Jewish Congregations Disturbed By Ukraine's "Jewish Registration" Letters

Photo by MosheA via Wikimedia Commons
Miami Beach became one of the Jewish capitals of America thanks in part to the mass immigration fleeing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe under the Nazis. So it's no surprise that when news broke earlier today about fliers circulating in eastern Ukraine demanding that Jewish residents "register" with the government, switchboards lit up at local Jewish centers from residents worried about the implications.

"The situation has to be taken very seriously," said Rabbi Marc Philippe of the Temple Emanu-El synagogue in Miami Beach. "When people didn't take it too seriously in 1940, 1939 we know what happened...It's so eerie that it's exactly the same scenario that is happening over there."

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Miami Company's Venezuelan Security Expert Arrested and Accused of "Terrorist Acts"

Courtesy of Risks Inc.
Chamel Akl was arrested after photographing protests like this one in Caracas.
The police station burned bright as a bonfire. As cars hissed past on the Caracas highway, flames consumed the roadside structure as if it were kindling. Black smoke belched into the night sky. By the time dawn broke over the Venezuelan capital April 1, nothing was left of the building but a charred concrete shell.

The station was still smoking when Chamel Akl drove by hours later. An instructor for a Miami-based security company, Akl was also an open critic of the Chavista government. Two months of violent street protests had scared away most international businessmen -- his usual clients -- so he had taken to tweeting the location of cops and soldiers he spotted around the city.

They were watching him as well, however. And when Chamel pulled up in front of his brother's house after dinner, cops suddenly swarmed his armored SUV. They dragged the brothers out at gunpoint, cinched their hands behind their backs with zip ties, and pushed them into the back of a paddy wagon.

See also: Miami Mercenaries: International Security Business Is Booming in South Florida

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Guatemala's Ex-President Pleads Guilty to Miami Money Laundering

What started in Guatemala and took a financial detour to Miami has now ended in New York. Former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo pleaded guilty in a New York courtroom today to a charge of money laundering designed to hide bribes he had taken from Taiwan.

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Venezuela's Maduro Blames Marco Rubio and the "Miami Lobby" for Protests

Nicolas Maduro
Protests have rumbled through President Nicolas Maduro's Venezuela for the past month, but in a televised press conference today, Hugo Chavez's successor seemed more concerned with what was going on in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Maduro singled out Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinene as leaders of a "Miami lobby" who are trying to overthrow him. He claimed that the recent protests were not due to his government's failure, but rather were part of a United States-backed coup.

See also: What the Hell Is Going on in Venezuela? A Guide To Understanding the Chaos in Caracas.

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J.J. Rendon: "If You Support [Nicolas Maduro], You Support Killing. You Support Genocide."

J.J. Rendón
Of the thousands of protesters in JC Bermudez Park on Saturday, only one was dressed all in black.

J.J. Rendón stood out solemnly in the sea of white. Latin America's most infamous political consultant wouldn't have had it any other way. For the 15 years since Hugo Chávez was elected, Rendón has mourned what he considers the death of his native Venezuela. Now that student protests are shaking the chavista government, Rendón is eager to add his two cents.

"If you support [Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro], you support killing," he says. "You support genocide."

See also: J.J. Rendon is Latin America's Karl Rove

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What the Hell Is Going on in Venezuela? A Guide To Understanding the Chaos in Caracas

via YouTube
Venezuelan police arrest a protester
Even if you're not Venezuelan, with the number of venezolanos in Miami soaring since Hugo Chávez took power in 1999, chances are by now you've got plenty of friends and co-workers who are from the oil-rich South American country.

And for the past two weeks, all those friends and co-workers have been talking about is the student protests setting Venezuela on fire. Eight people have been reportedly killed, including a 22-year-old beauty queen. Meanwhile, Hugo Chávez's successor has expelled American ambassadors and international news stations.

This afternoon there is a rally in Doral to protest the violence in Venezuela. So before you show up screaming "¡Qué se caiga Fidel!" here is a guide to the chaos underway in Caracas.

See also: Caracas Protests: Three Dead, Maduro Warns of Miami Plans "To Fill Venezuela With Blood"

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Is Social Media a Safe Space for Whoremongers?

via Facebook
Cubadave's Facebook page has more than 1,500 followers who are willing to link their real-life identities to the sex tourism industry.
The sex tourism industry is about a century old, but when the Internet first became publicly available, sites like World Sex Guide allowed perpetual whoremongers to form communities online. Founded in 1994, WSG today has more than 30,000 pictures of prostitutes posted by men who talk to each other over the site each day to share insight and exploits.

This is one subculture that has been pretty reluctant to embrace web 2.0 technology -- and many of the most popular sites promoting the lifestyle/hobby are pretty hokey-looking by today's standards. Message boards still predominate, likely because they allow for relative anonymity.

See also: Cubadave's Sex Tourism Empire in Jeopardy

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Is Carnival Cruise Lines Pushing Sex Tourism Out of the DR? Meet Cubadave, Who Says Yes

Courtesy of David Strecker
Cubadave on his most recent trip to Sosua. His electronics were later confiscated by U.S. Customs officials.
David Strecker was returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic this past October 30 when U.S. Customs officials at Miami International Airport told him to line up with six other people and hand over his electronics. The Key West resident dutifully surrendered a laptop computer, two cell phones, and two digital cameras. Then the 62-year-old sighed. This would be a problem.

Cubadave, as he is better known, is the man behind an eponymous blog promoting sex tourism in Sosua, a town on the northern coast of the DR. He has thousands of acolytes who worship him online for his stories about prostitutes -- and for his pictures.

Dave claims to have slept with thousands of Caribbean sex workers. Today, his goal is to help other -- often older -- men do the same so that they can reclaim their youth and that the impoverished women of the DR can supplement low incomes, he says.

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Jim Wyss, Miami Herald Reporter, Detained by Venezuelan Authorities UPDATED

via Linked In
Miami Herald's South America bureau chief Jim Wyss was detained last night by Venezuelan government authorities. Wyss, who is based in Bogota, was just across the border in southwestern Venezuela reporting on the country's chronic food shortages when he was detained, the Herald reports.

"We are very concerned," said Herald executive editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez. "There doesn't seem to be any basis for his detention and we're trying to figure out what's going on. We are asking that Jim Wyss be released immediately."

UPDATE: Wyss has been freed and is doing well. Read more about his release here.

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Paraguayan President's Son Arrested for Drunken Fight in Bal Harbour

You know how Donald Trump keeps threatning to run for president? Well, Paraguay's version of Donald Trump, Horacio Cartes, actually did and won. So of course he has a partying son who lives in Miami who gets arrested after a drunken fight after a party at his ritzy condo. Of course he does.

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