President John F Kennedy and Puerto Rico

President John F Kennedy and his entourage landed in Puerto Rico on December 15, 1961, the first stop in his visit to Latin America. As the first Catholic President and the first US President to visit Puerto Rico, the charismatic Kennedy received a warm welcome.  As he stated in his opening remarks, “Puerto Rico serves as an admirable bridge between Latin America and North America.  You have, I think, served to make it easier for us to understand each other, and therefore it is most important and appropriate that we should start this journey to two great countries, Venezuela and Colombia, that we should come here first.”

Happy Birthday to Irene Lailin Sáez Conde

Happy Birthday to Irene Lailin Sáez Conde, the politician, governor and presidential candidate born on December 13, 1961 in Caracas, Venezuela. Sáez’s first international election victory was at age 19, when the judges of the Miss Universe Pageant voted her as the winner in 1981. After her reign, she studied political science at the Central University of Venezuela, and then served as Venezuela’s cultural representative to the United Nations. Her next electoral victory was as mayor of the Chaco municipality, where she did an outstanding job and was reelected with 96% of the vote. In 1998, Sáez ran for President of Venezuela with a platform to end corruption, reduce the public bureaucracy and refinance the public debt. She was opposed by an up and coming political radical, Hugo Chávez, and suffered a huge loss in the election. Sáez returned to victory in 1999, when she won the governorship of the state of Nueva Esparta, with 70% of the vote.