TRENDING TOPIC FOR MONDAY, MAY 22ND: It has been over 50 consecutive days of anti-government protests in Venezuela, and the U.S. slapped sanctions against eight members of Venezuela’s Supreme Court last week. We leave you with an analysis from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.

CONG. DIAZ-BALART ON SANCTIONS AGAINST VENEZUELA: Bernadette Pardo spoke with Congressman Mario Diaz- Balart about the sanctions placed on Venezuelan judges on her show, “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710 AM.

Diaz-Balart first discussed the almost daily protests in Venezuela and why Trump’s administration imposed these sanctions. He said, “first, I want to talk about the sanctions that the president has put on the so-called Supreme Court of Venezuela. This is a court that isn’t really independent, it is just another facet of the Maduro regime. There have already been very severe sanctions put on Maduro, and now on these judges for aggressively attempting to stifle the remaining democratic institutions in Venezuela. They essentially tried to dissolve congress in Venezuela. I am grateful that Trump took this strong step against Maduro’s regime.” He explained that because of these sanctions the members of the Supreme Court in Venezuela are not allowed to travel to the United States among other things. Diaz-Balart continued, “the most important message we sent with the sanctions is to remind the Venezuelan people that we haven’t forgotten them, and that we are telling the world that this is an unacceptable regime and dictatorship. The United States isn’t going to allow human rights violations. Trump is demonstrating that he is paying attention to Venezuela, as well as other topics.” Diaz- Balart concluded by mentioning it is very positive that the administration is paying more attention to this hemisphere.

FUNDING FOR FLORIDA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Bernadette Pardo also spoke with Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Martha Perez about public schools and the state budget on “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710 AM.

Perez focused on the main issues with the state’s budget when it comes to education. “The first problem is that it requires the school districts to share funds at the same level as charter schools. We don’t have a problem with the state giving funds to charter schools, but the problem is that they are taking those funds away from public schools. Taxpayers pay taxes to help maintain schools, and now these funds are being sent to private companies. This is money that the public school system really needs.” Pardo asked if this affected the funds to maintain and construct buildings specifically. Perez said, “no, this would be part of what the residents pay in property taxes and it would be cut in half. Right now, it has been cut from 2 percent to 1.5 percent. What this means is that in the first year we are going to have a $25 million dollar loss, and by 2021 it could amount to $61 million dollars in losses. Public schools that thought they were going to get these funds from property taxes are now going to be in debt. We must follow the regulation that specifies the amount of students per classroom, so we are going to have to keep paying that debt with less money. Meanwhile, we still have to worry about how we are going to maintain our schools, do any necessary constructions, and keep them operational. We will have had to take on more debt to finance that.”  Pardo brought up that in the past the state used to come up with 60 percent of the cost, while the local government came up with 40 percent, and how recently that number has flipped and will get worse now that they have to split the funds with charter schools. Pardo asked if it was true that charter schools didn’t have to accept every student that applies, unlike public schools which requires that every child be admitted regardless of any disability. Perez responded, “that is just one example of many rules that public schools must follow that do not apply to charter schools. So if they want equality, then they must have the same requirements, and they need to provide education to any student that applies no matter what their education level is or if they have any problem, they need to provide them the edycation they require.”