TRENDING TOPIC FOR THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15TH: TGIF! All Spanish-language radio shows discussed what has been dubbed “the plastic wars” in Miami-Dade County, after Mayor Carlos Gimenez vetoed rules that would regulate luggage-wrap vendors outside the airport earlier this week. We leave you with some of the commentary.
THE PLASTIC WAR: On “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710AM,Bernadette Pardo discussed the topic (read more here) with County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Safe Wrap’s President Radames Villalon, while Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Juan Carlos Zapata were on “Noticias del Mediodia” with Yoly Cuello, and Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera talked to Commissioner Esteban Bovo and Miami-Dade County’s Director of Communications Michael Hernandez on “Contacto Directo” on Actualidad 1020AM. Both Hernandez and Villalon also participated on “A esta hora con Almora” on WQBA 1140AM.
County Commissioners Barreiro, Zapata and Bovo focused on the reasons why they voted in favor of regulating the plastic used to wrap luggage, in an effort to protect Miami International Airport’s operations and ensure that all baggage systems function properly. They explained that they are also getting as much additional information on this issue before it comes up in the next County Commission meeting on October 20th, where they will decide whether to override the veto or listen to any other proposals to address this problem. On the other hand, Commissioner Levine Cava defended her vote against the regulation, explaining the proposed rules can cause delays and other issues in the airport. “We have the airport director and major airlines saying they don’t want want this rules and urged Mayor Gimenez to veto the resolution, TSA has said they don’t have any issues with the plastic used to wrap luggage. This is not necessary and gives the company (Safe Wrap) an improper advantage.”
Villalon highlighted the alleged issues raised by the companies that handle luggage for the airport, who claim that the bags wrapped with the wrong plastic constantly stick together making their jobs harder. “The commissioners made the right decision, this is a business and we have a contract that was not being enforced. We don’t have exclusivity, but the contract says that the plastic used must be approved and must follow certain specifications.” When Pardo asked about opposition to the regulation from airport and airline officials, as well as argued that it would create a monopoly, Villalon stated, “the airlines have not done any studies and have not seen the effects discussed by the companies handling luggage. It is not a monopoly. As long as outside vendors use the regulated plastic, they can provide the service. They can also come through us and we can work with them. However, I pay almost $10 million to the airport and I want to protect this business for Miami-Dade County and MIA.”
Hernandez, on the other hand, stated that Safe Wrap wants to “monopolize the plastic wrap industry, claiming security is a concern, when it is not. TSA has said they don’t care about this matter, since plastic is such a low concern in terms of security at an international airport. Also, the airlines have written letters to the mayor urging him to veto. When have you heard airlines asking for a veto?” Hernandez also stated that this regulation would “harm all operations at the airport, they would need to hire full time employees to serve as the plastic police.” “It will end up jeopardizing costumer service at MIA and our relations with major airlines, due to unnecessary plastic issues,” he concluded.
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CUBAN MILITARY FORCES IN SYRIA?: The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami first reported that two Russian planes arrived at the Damascus airport with Cuban military personnel on board (read more here). The news was discussed on both “Contacto Directo” with Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera with Political Analyst Frank Diaz-Pou, and on “Noticias del Mediodia” with Yoly Cuello on Caracol 1260AM, with retired Lieutenant Colonel Octavio Perez.
Diaz-Pou stated that the information has not been confirmed, “if it is true, it is going to affect the restored relations between Cuba and the United States. This would also weaken the Obama administration’s position.” For Diaz-Pou “it doesn’t make sense for Cuba to ask for better relations and then mess with a region that is extremely sensitive. The Cuban government shouldn’t challenge the US, especially in the military aspect.”
Perez explained that they need more sources to corroborate if Cuba has troops in Syria. “There are many speculations and incongruous things and only one article. Also, the Cuban military is not trained to use the latest technology, unless they were training in Russia for at least four months.” He explained there is a possibility for a Cuban delegation, but not likely troops. “I don’t give this story much importance, because why would Raul Castro risk all that has been achieved with Obama? There are too many things that don’t add up. We can never trust communists, but I don’t think getting involved in Syria is in their best interest,” said Perez.