Esther Silva(HOMESTEAD, Fla.) — BY: TOMMY BROOKSBANKAn 83-year-old Florida man is now home after battling COVID-19 at a hospital for 75 days.Lorenzo Rodriguez tested positive for novel coronavirus back in March after coming down with a fever. Three days later, he was rushed to a Baptist Health South Florida hospital once his conditioned worsened. Doctors immediately put Rodriguez under a medically induced coma and used a ventilator to support his failing lungs.The situation seemed grim, but Esther Silva knew her dad was a fighter.“I had faith that he was going to pull through,” Silva explained. “He’s such a hard worker, I knew he wouldn’t give in.”Days turned into weeks without much progress, until Silva asked medical staff about a plasma treatment for COVID-19 she heard about on TV. Rodriguez received the experimental therapy April 18, and shortly thereafter, a medical breakthrough.“That night I was told my father moved his arm and his eyes — it was incredible,” Silva said. “God answered my prayers.”Rodriguez slowly regained his strength over the course of several weeks, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. After overcoming kidney problems, blood pressure spikes and pneumonia complications, the father and husband eventually was taken off a ventilator. He couldn’t swallow food or water for a time after enduring weeks of receiving meals via feeding tube.Through it all, his determination never wavered.“I kept telling him he had to put in 150% for his part,” Silva said. “Would keep reminding him to continue fighting, and that’s what he did.”After 75 days battling COVID-19, Rodriguez tested negative and was discharged from the Homestead, Florida, hospital as medical staff gathered for a round of applause and cheers. It’s a moment the father-daughter duo will never forget.“I was overwhelmed as soon as I saw him, what can I tell you,” Silva said through tears. “I’m an only child, so my dad is my hero and he was so happy. I would have moved mountains to keep him alive and it was the most incredible feeling to see him after everything he went through.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
As the Union increases its authority and becomes a complex mix of intergovernmental and communautaire policies, there is a natural tendency for prime ministers, chancellors and presidents to want to ensure that the person at the centre of that web understands their domestic pressures.Even so, the requirement seriously limits the field as the search begins for the person to lead the Commission through the early years of the new millennium.That is one reason why former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González is emerging as a potentially strong challenger. Another is that his domestic political career appears to be over and, given his understanding with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on European issues, he could win the support of both Socialist and Christian Democrat leaders. After running the Union’s most powerful country for close on two decades, why should he move to Brussels and play second fiddle to younger prime ministers?Two Italian names are increasingly in the frame: former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato and current Premier Romano Prodi. Either would fit the bill if it was decided that someone from a southern member state should head the Commission.Another contender is the former Irish Commissioner Peter Sutherland.A member of the Christian Democrat family, he has an impressive range of credentials: Ireland’s youngest-ever attorney general, a highly successful Competition Commissioner; the man who assisted in the birth and early life of the World Trade Organisation; and now a prominent international businessman as chairman of Goldman Sachs.That record should more than compensate for the one obvious gap in his CV – he has never held the post of prime minister.Would he go for it? Almost certainly yes. But it would also require his Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrat political opponents in Ireland to champion a Fine Gael politician for one of Europe’s top posts. González has consistently denied any knowledge of the death squads which are alleged to have killed 28 people.However, the trial this month of his former Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo and other ex-Socialists ensures that questions will continue to be asked about González’ possible involvement.Spanish Christian Democrats privately predict that this cloud will eventually turn into a storm which will destroy any presidency hopes González might harbour.Interestingly, they also suggest that his weak knowledge of English might be a handicap in a Union, and a world, where it is fast becoming the dominant language.But these criticisms may only be designed to hide the fact that qualified Christian Democrat candidates are noticeably thin on the ground.Kohl’s name occasionally comes up during speculation sessions, but few treat the suggestion seriously. In the past month, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has publicly said that González “has the right profile for the job”. Even Spain’s Conservative Premier José María Aznar has indicated that his government always supports Spaniards running for top international posts.Jacques Delors’ suggestion that political parties should campaign in next June’s European parliamentary elections alongside their chosen candidate for Commission president has only encouraged speculation about González’ plans. He would be an obvious champion for European Socialists.At the end of the day, González’ chances will depend on a small number of factors with little or nothing to do with Delors’ innovative scheme.Does he want the job? The answer is probably yes, although he is reputed to have said that after enduring Belgium’s grey skies as a student, he would not want to subject himself to its temperamental climate again. Perhaps different circumstances would change his mind.Would a Conservative Spanish government support a former Socialist prime minister? The answer is undoubtedly yes, if he had a realistic chance of landing the top post.But the final question exposes González’ potential Achilles’ heel. To what extent will his political credibility be tainted or even ruined by the allegations of the ‘dirty war’ his government is accused of waging against Basque separatists in the Eighties. As a result, the future offers the intriguing scenario of the staunchest supporters of two of the potential front runners being their long-standing domestic opponents.It is a clear sign of how the Union is changing.