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FIU experts available to discuss government shutdown

FIU experts available to discuss government shutdown

January 8, 2019 at 4:48pm

As the partial government shutdown enters its third week over a disagreement on funding the border wall, President Donald Trump will address the nation at 9 p.m. tonight regarding southern border security.

Experts are available to discuss a wide range of subjects related to the shutdown, including politics, immigration, foreign relations and health. Experts are available for interviews in both English and Spanish.

For help reaching FIU’s experts, please contact:

  • Maydel Santana, assistant vice president of communication: 305-348-1555,
  • Madeline Baro, associate director: 305-310-9665,
  • Dianne Fernandez, broadcast media manager: 305-608-4870,
  • Amy Ellis, communications manager, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs: 352-999-0577,
  • Jessica Drouet, account manager, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work: 305-348-4670,
  • Ileana Varela, associate director for marketing and public relations at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine: 305-348-4926 or


Frank Mora 
Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center
Prior to coming to FIU, Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere. During the last 20 years Mora worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, U.S. Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and U.S. Southern Command. Mora is the author or editor of five books and numerous academic and policy articles, book chapters, and monographs on hemispheric security, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, Cuban politics and military, and Latin American foreign policy. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award, Department of Defense (2011). He is available for Spanish language interviews.
Office: 305-348-2894

Brian Fonseca
Director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs
Fonseca serves as the Jack D. Gordon Institute’s technical expert for national security and foreign policy. He has been featured in local and national media analyzing the 2016 U.S. general elections. He joined FIU after serving as the senior research manager for socio-cultural analysis at United States Southern Command. Fonseca holds degrees in international business and international relations from FIU and has attended Sichuan University in Chengdu, China and the National Defense University in Washington D.C. From 1997 to 2004, he served in the United States Marine Corps and facilitated the training of foreign military forces in both hostile theaters and during peacetime operations.
Office: 305-348-7420
Mobile: 305-218-6323

Randy Pestana
Senior policy analyst at FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute
At the Jack D. Gordon Institute, Pestana is tasked with coordinating the Academic-Defense partnership with U.S. Southern Command and supporting the execution of the institute’s cybersecurity programs. The majority of his work has been linked to governance and security in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on transnational organized crime, terrorism, rule of law, and gangs. He also serves as an adjunct professor for FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and FIU’s Honors College. He is available for Spanish-language interviews.

Eduardo Gamarra
Political Science Professor
Eduardo Gamarra has conducted two polls on Hispanic voters in the United States and Florida. He also has done research on the regional dynamics of Latin America, including Cuba’s role. As an expert in Bolivia and the Andean region, he has followed closely the alliances formed by Fidel Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Gamarra has also studied drug trafficking in the Caribbean and the effects of American policies in the regional dynamics. He has testified in front of the U.S. Congress several times and is the author of more than half a dozen books and more than forty academic articles on Latin America. Gamarra is available for interviews in English and Spanish.
Mobile: 786-253-4898

Jorge Duany
Director of the Cuban Research Institute
Before coming to FIU, Duany served as acting dean of the College of Social Sciences and professor of anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He previously served as director of UPR’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and director of the journal Revista de Ciencias Sociales. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies, specializing in anthropology, at the University of California, Berkeley. Duany has published extensively on migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism in the Caribbean and the United States. He is available for Spanish-language interviews.
Office: 305-348-7274

Sara Moats
Instructor in FIU’s Department of Politics and International Relations
Moats has an interest in group politics and studies group interactions from several perspectives. Her research analyzes how and why organized interests become involved with foreign governments and intergovernmental organizations, and why a group would expand beyond the domestic political arena to lobby additional venues. Moats is currently examining group involvement in several different policy areas, including environmental policy and human rights.
Office: 305-348-2226
Mobile: 304-282-5159

Kathryn A. DePalo
Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations
DePalo has extensive experience in state and local government processes and elections both in Connecticut and Florida. She has managed several campaigns, including a successful countywide judicial campaign in Broward County, Florida. Her teaching focus is American politics, including judicial process, gender and politics, and state and local government. DePalo’s primary research interest is in Florida politics, and has published on topics such as state judicial selection, the effects of gender in state legislative politics, and career paths of term-limited legislators.
Office: 305-348-2859


Juan Carlos Gómez
Director of the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
Juan Carlos Gómez has been defending the rights of individuals in immigration matters for over 25 years. During this time he has represented persons before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as well as the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in complex immigration matters. Within the field of immigration law, he has helped thousands of individuals in situations including removal and deportation proceedings, family immigration, and the transfer of professionals and executives to the United States.
Office: 305.348.7541


Dr. Eneida O. Roldan
Chief Executive Officer for FIU HealthCare Network, Associate Dean for International Affairs, and Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
Dr. Roldan has over 30 years’ experience in the health care industry as a clinician, educator and administrator. She can address health issues associated with the immigration crisis including medical issues facing immigrants during their journey and in closed quarters, and also the potential impact on the healthcare system. Dr. Roldan is available for interviews in English and Spanish.
Office: 305-348-4329

Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué
Assistant Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué, who leads the College’s HRSA-funded Maternal and Child Health training grant, is a pediatrician and pediatric infectious disease subspecialist who can speak about maternal and child health, including general pediatric and infectious disease issues, as they relate to immigration, international travel, and internal displacement. During her 19 years as an epidemic investigator and medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, she led dozens of investigations and studies, and for several years, led the Office of Minority and Women’s Health as Associate Director in the National Center for Infectious Diseases. Since she left the CDC, she helped lead the antiretroviral therapy (ART) scale-up for prevention and treatment of pediatric HIV in the Dominican Republic as a consultant to the ministry of health. She has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and national and international guidelines and reports. She is bilingual and available for both Spanish and English media interviews.
Office: 305-348-4504
Mobile: 786-253-3928