May 10, 2023

Don’t Make The Same Mistakes! – Lessons From Venezuela – with Jorge Galicia – [Ep. 168]

Don’t Make The Same Mistakes! – Lessons From Venezuela – with Jorge Galicia – [Ep. 168]

When countries collapse, people flee to seek opportunity and freedom. What happens if America’s economy collapses? There is no place for us to flee. We are still the last, best hope for freedom in the world. If we are wise, we will look to history...

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When countries collapse, people flee to seek opportunity and freedom. What happens if America’s economy collapses? There is no place for us to flee. We are still the last, best hope for freedom in the world. If we are wise, we will look to history for examples of once prosperous countries with economic systems that promised prosperity, but eventually delivered poverty and devastation. How does that happen? What are the warning signs? Linda’s guest, Jorge Galicia, is from Venezuela. His country experienced economic collapse under regime policies of tyranny and control, and Jorge’s life was forever disrupted and changed. His insights and experiences provide wisdom, so we do not make the same mistakes in America.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by guests on this podcast do not necessarily represent those held or promoted by Linda J. Hansen or Prosperity 101, LLC.
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Linda J. Hansen:  Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen, your host and the author of Prosperity 101- Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of the Breakroom Economics Online course, the book, the course and the entire podcast library can be found on Prosperity101.Com. I seek to connect boardroom to break room and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement and retention, and an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit Prosperity 101.Com.

Thank you so much for tuning in today. One of the lessons in my Breakroom Economics Online course is entitled So many Isms Which One Is Best For Me? How do you choose? You've heard all the terms capitalism, socialism, Communism, progressivism, liberalism, conservativism. One can hardly turn on a newscast or scroll through a social media feed without being bombarded by the many isms vying for attention in our culture. It can be so confusing. Have you decided which one is best for you your family, your business or your country? How should you decide? What factors and information should you consider? In America, we have operated under a free market capitalist economy which supports the idea of unlimited opportunity for everyone. This is what has been known as the American Dream. This dream of freedom draws millions of people from around the world towards our nation. People will risk their lives to reach our country with a hope of making a better life for themselves and their family. It's a system in which everyone, regardless of background, can rise if they are willing to work hard. There are no guarantees of income, but there are guarantees of freedom. We have guaranteed equal opportunity, not necessarily equal outcome. This has encouraged innovation, prosperity, philanthropy and growth for individuals and our nation. If we are wise, we will look to history for examples of once prosperous countries with economic systems that promised prosperity but eventually delivered poverty and devastation. How does that happen? What are the warning signs when countries collapse? People desire to flee to a place where they sense opportunity and freedom. What happens if America's economy collapses? There is no place for us to flee. We are still the last, best hope for freedom in the world.

My guest today is from a country that experienced economic collapse under regime policies of tyranny and control. We can learn from his story so we do not make the same mistakes here in America today. I welcome Jorge Glacier. These simple words describe Jorge Christian lawyer, freedom fighter. Before socialism devastated his country of Venezuela, Jorge lived not unlike most middle class Americans. But now he is one of 4 million Venezuelans who have fled their country following its economic, social, and political collapse. He is now part of the Dissident Project, sponsored by Young Voices, where he shares his eyewitness perspective of how a country with so much wealth and promise completely collapsed. Living under socialist tyranny showed Jorge the dangers of letting the big government state grow. From a very young age, he has been speaking out about the real damages caused by socialism and has made it his life's mission to win the fight. Jorge has been on my podcast once before in episode 145, and we have spoken at events together. It is a pleasure to welcome him back to hear his unique perspectives. So welcome back, Jorge. Thank you for making time for this interview and for helping us to learn from the tragic events in your beautiful home country so we do not make the same mistakes here in the United States.

Jorge Galicia: Thank you so much, Linda, for an invitation. It is an honor for me to be here today.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, it's always an honor to speak with you, and I so admire your bravery, your courage, and your steadfast purpose in promoting freedom. So I just really am grateful to have you on, and I know that you will inspire all the listeners. So when we did our first interview before the elections in 2022, since then you have been able to study the election processes here in the United States. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what you've observed as you've watched the United States go through elections and what is similar to what you've seen in your home country.

Jorge Galicia: Well, Linda, that's a really interesting question. I do believe that there are a lot of things, different things to fix here in the US. When it comes to elections. First, I don't want to get into so deep into the debate whether there is fraud or not in the different elections that we just saw in the 2022 cycle. However, I do believe that there are good reasons to at least not be so confident about the outcome of these elections, right? I mean, for example, look at what happened in Arizona, right, all the time that they took to count the different votes. Why did they take so long? I remember this other episode in Nevada where the cameras just turn off at the same time in the middle of the day, and they were not back on after hours, right? I mean, episodes like this give me reasons, and I think the American public should believe the same, that episodes like this give reasons to be at least doubtful about the outcome of these elections. Right? Now, I'm not saying that there is fraud. I don't really know if there was or not, or that's not for me to say if there was or if there wasn't. I don't have the information to say that. But there are a lot of different events like this happening everywhere in the country, in different states. At least give me reasons to don't be trustful to suspect about the outcomes of this election. Right. And I believe that we need to fix stuff like this. Stuff like this cannot happen in the future because otherwise we're not going to trust anymore the electoral process in this nation and we're going to lost our democratic system.

Linda J. Hansen: Exactly. And we've seen this in other countries too. I mean, Brazil has been going through a total rebellion against the election, basically because the people claim there was fraud. There was a lot of nations have been suffering under this. And I know when we did our first interview, you talked about how Venezuela's demise, in a sense did not start right after a certain election. It really started, you said, in 1975, and things happen slowly until they happen all at once. It's kind of a favorite phrase I have, because when people see the results of negative policies and policies that inhibit freedom, they don't usually see them bubbling up below the surface. It's like the tip of the iceberg that we see. But now when it becomes a flood of regime changes, it can truly be a problem.

So I'd like you to explain a little bit about what happened in Venezuela, but then explain your own experiences and what that meant for you. Because you lived in a prosperous country with a relative amount of freedom, you were progressing in your life, and because of the changes in the policies of the government, now you're basically a refugee in America. And so I'd like you to share how did that happen in Venezuela, because I'm sure there's people who really don't know, maybe don't even know that Venezuela was once a prosperous country. I don't know all the listeners I have. So we want to be able to help them understand this from the root cause, in a sense. But then also, what does this mean to people like you who are just trying to live your life, live in freedom, and promote truth? So please tell us basically the fall of Venezuela in a sense, in a short estimation, but also then what did it mean to your life?

Jorge Galicia: No, definitely, of course, this is a really difficult question for me to answer, like in a short podcast, right? I think we would need several episodes to address that question. Right. But what you said is definitely true. This wasn't a thing that happened from one day to another. Unfortunately, a lot of people here in the US. Believe that Venezuela before one year was some sort of paradise. I have heard even this, unfortunately, among conservative speakers, they say like, hey, Venezuela before Hugo Chas was a really nice place. And this is not really the case. I mean, Venezuela has been on a path to destruction since at least 1975. I think that's the year when we did our first mayor mistake or when we waved our first major step towards socialism. This is when we nationalized all of our oil industry. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. And during this time, we used to be one of the main oil producers of the world. And well, when this happened, we gave the state so much power and so much economic power. Basically, we started to increase the size of the state by incredible numbers. And of course, the individual in Venezuela started to become little and little more little. Right? Well, before 1975, you could definitely say that Venezuela was always growing economically. We were doing extraordinarily well. At some point, Venezuela was the fourth biggest economy in the entire world. But then almost right after the nationalization process, the government started to extend like crazy. They started to create a bunch of new social programs of all kinds, subsidies. The bureaucracy started to grow incredibly and well, it grew so much that we reached a point where it became just unsustainable. And this is when we started to see inflation happening. We started to see a lot of scarcity of different products. People just started to leave production, all of the stuff. We created a really chaotic situation because we followed the wrong ideas. And well, this process has ended. I mean, we started in 75. Thank you. O. Chavez came and he promised changes, but the only changes that he did was that he radicalized the system that we used to have before. And now, not only the oil industry was nationalized, but he decided to nationalize lands and hospitals and transportation.

I mean, almost every factory in Venezuela was jeopardized and the private property was jeopardized. Because of Hugo Chavez Marxist ideas and now because of his policies, we're seeing the chaos that we're seeing right now in Venezuela. More than 8 million people like me have left the country right now. Unfortunately, you see all over the news, the US out, their mortality is flooded by poor Venezuelans that are just trying to desperately run from that situation. It's a really sad situation. You know what, by the way, I hear a lot of democrats that claim, hey, yeah, we need to take care of these people. But the way to take care of Venezuelan people are trying to leave the regime, is actually trying to help us to remove the regime that we put there. Right. I think Donald Trump understood this really well. He tried to do a lot of different things to try to help us. He was almost there. But now we're seeing the Biden administration lifting sanctions against Maduro. He's trying to negotiate with his people. He's trying to get along with them. This is not going to help anyone. And people are just going to keep coming and coming and coming because they are trying to escape our horrible regime. And, well, this is a problem for both because I understand not all countries have the capacity to receive millions of people out of nowhere from one day to another. But yeah, as you said, this is a process that started decades ago. And I see similar things happening here in the US. That remind me of that Venezuela from 1975. So we need to do a lot of things to stop that from happening in the not so distant future. Right, absolutely.

Linda J. Hansen: And as big government has grown and grown and grown and taken away rights of private property and has had more influence and control over production and supply chains and all these different things, we see this socialist takeover, in a sense, here in America. And just like you experienced in Venezuela, I think it was Margaret Thatcher that said, the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of everyone else's money and it's like you can't just keep spending because as you take away the opportunity for capitalism and wealth creation, you take away basically the tax base. So it's like you spend yourself into bankruptcy, into oblivion, in a sense, because it just doesn't balance out. And so we're seeing that here in America, with our ridiculous debt, our inflation, we see it and the freedoms that have been so diminished in this current administration, especially. And so I think that here in America, so many people, especially young people, just take freedom for granted. They don't really think about the freedom of the press, the freedom to move, about, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to travel, freedom to create all these different things that we've taken for granted in America. But you fled your country and you can't go back right now. So could you tell the listeners, like, your own experience and why you fled and why you can't go back? I mean, this is a warning to America.

Jorge Galicia: Sure. I would say, especially to young people, do not commit that mistake of taking freedom and not only freedom, but all of the prosperity that you see around you for granted. Right. Why do I say this? Because I did that mistake as well. When I was, I don't know, 1415 years old, I never, ever imagined I could ever in my lifetime live or experience something that like the things that I experienced after those years. Right. I mean, simple stuff like having water supply, like having electricity, like, I don't know, having waste management in my street, stuff like that. That I always thought those things were, like, part of nature. Those things could never go away. Because I was so used to living under those conditions that well, I really never gave thought that those things could easily be gone. Right. And it only took one, two or three years before to see all of those different things gone. In my house, we stopped having electricity constantly. Water supply was constantly failing waste management was precarious. Internet connection was gone most of the time. I went from being part of the Venezuelan middle class, being basically someone who wasn't even able to eat properly at some point. In my house we even stopped buying meat or chicken or stuff like that because it was either extremely expensive or really hard to find in the marketplace. It wasn't available. Yeah, I would say to people listen, do not take those things for granted. You need to fight for the right ideas all the time. You need to fight for liberty because if you lose it, if you lose freedom, if you start following the wrong ideas, it is not going to take that long before you see all of those different things also gone here in the US. Right? Well, for me that's basically my experience. I started to see how I lost so much different things in Venezuela in the name of socialism and in the name of Marxism. And because of that I started to of course protest against that system. I started to root for the back of democracy, of republicanism, of capitalism, of free market, because I started to believe in those ideas thanks to the things that I was witnessing in Venezuela. And because of that I got in trouble with the authority there, with police.

Maduro is someone who does not take lightly people who are against him, who are protesting, who are trying to peacefully promote a regime change in Venezuela and stuff like that. Of course they incarcerated one of my best friends and because of that I needed to disappear. I went into hiding into isolation for a long period of time. Well, to make a long story short, I was able to leave Venezuela. I came here to do a leadership program and thanks what I was able to come here. But now I cannot return that. I claim asylum because I know for a fact that if I return to Venezuela, especially after doing all of this activism and after exposing the reality that ordinary Venezuelans are suffering day by day, after exposing that here in the US. I know that the regime is not just going to allow me to return safely. Right. They are going to put me in prison. Of course, I don't feel like that's a good scenario. Right. I can do more for my country even from here, talking to people like you and exposing them. I'm going back and being in some sort of dodging. Right?

Linda J. Hansen: Well, your work, you really tried to help both countries, really all countries in a sense, because you're not only working to expose the tyranny in Venezuela, but you're warning Americans about how relatively quickly this happened and the changes, while they took a long time in coming, when they did come, it was very rapid in a sense. Like you mentioned, your water supply was impacted, your electricity was no longer guaranteed that it affects so many people. You can't work as well then either. You said your Internet, the waste management, like the garbage pickup, and you're talking about your sewer, your water, all these different things. And I know when I've heard you speak before, you talked about how you lost so much weight even there because you couldn't have proper nutrition. And people's health, their safety, everything is impacted when socialism, communism, Marxism, all these things take over and begin to take root because the state is now in total control. And if they don't care about you, they don't care about you. And you mentioned that your friend had been put in prison and you had to go into hiding. And so this was really hard on your family. And we know that there's people here in the US. Even now. For those of you who may be listening and not believe this. There are people now in jail in the US. Who have spoken out against our government, against the policies of our government, and they're being harassed. Some are being imprisoned, some are being canceled. We've talked about canceled culture, all these things where their voices are being canceled. So having these voices for freedom is really important. And as you have fought for freedom and you came here, it's hard for you to even see your family. I mean, what a sacrifice you have made for the cause of freedom, for not only Venezuelans, but Americans. So how's your mom?

Jorge Galicia: Yeah, I think that's the most difficult part about being here, not being able to see my family again. My mom, unfortunately, she doesn't even have a US. Visa to come here and visit for a while. I wish that was the case, but her visa recently expired. And as you know, because of all of the conflicts between the US. And Venezuela, we no longer even have a US embassy operating in Venezuela anymore. So it is really difficult for Venezuela, like my mom to come here for a while and visit me and then go back and stuff like that. It's really complicated nowadays. And I also have my grandma over there, my uncle. I mean, more than half of my family is there. I dream all the time about returning there and reuniting with them. Probably that's my biggest dream right now. Even though I'm right now I'm doing fine here in the US. I love what I'm doing here. I've been able to get involved in activism. My life has changed dramatically since I left, and I will always be grateful to the US. For that. But at the same time, I cannot say that I am completely happy because I still have a lot of people back there, and I know that they are not having really a good time, right? I mean, who could really have a good time under those conditions, right? But until who knows? I won't be able to see them. I pray to God every single time to give me that gift. Right to be able to reunite with them. Whether that means that they come here or I go back because there was some liberation process, I don't know. But I really, really want to be able to see my family again and spend time with them because they mean everything for me. And until that scenario doesn't happen, I won't be completely happy.

Linda J. Hansen: Exactly. Well, and you're fighting for freedom for them as well. So it involves so much sacrifice. There's many battlefields in the war for freedom and you're fighting on one. So thank you. And thank you to your family. So if any of your family ever listened to this podcast, we say thank you. And I know I pray for your family and I invite listeners, please, if you are a praying person, please pray for the safety of Jorge's family, safety for him, and that they could be reunited. This is one of the things that happens when we don't have freedom, we can't travel. When we don't have freedom, we can't be with the people we love in the same way. And this is just one example. And so young people, like Jorge said, don't fall for the line. I think in Venezuela, they offered so much, the government could take care of this and take care of that. And what really happens when the government takes care of things.

Jorge Galicia: Thanks for those prayers. I know. Every single prayer is helped. God will listen eventually. I know. So thank you.

Linda J. Hansen: Yes, absolutely. And we thank you. Tell us about the Dissident project? Tell us more.

Jorge Galicia: Yeah, we are a group of dissidents that come from all over the world. We have people from Venezuela, of course, like me. We have people from North Korea. We have Pi guy from Africa, an African nation named Erithrea. We have people from Cuba, we have a girl from Afghanistan. We have a really good group. And we have the mission of visiting different high schools across America to speak to young children about, well, the dangers that we left behind and how easily they could lose their freedom if they follow the wrong ideas. Right. So that's basically our mission, to give, then, people from all across the world a voice, so they can use that voice to warn young Americans about the dangers of letting the state role not only in the form of socialism, but in the form of other different ideologies that promote the growth of the state and that do not see the individual as the most important thing to protect. And yet we have been doing this for, I believe it's a year now, or maybe less, I'm not quite sure. But yeah, I have been visiting, have visited several high schools already. I went to Wisconsin, I went to Texas, I went to different, other different states. And it's been a really great experience to speak to these really young kids that are just beginning to think about these political debates. It's not like these people are just going to start getting into the debate. They are just going to start reading the different philosophies, and this is a good point to start speaking to them about the truth and the dangers of letting the state growth, right? That's what we're doing with the Dissident Project. And I feel it's a really amazing program. And if you have contacts with high schools in your area and you would like to bring one of these, one of us, of our speakers, well, you can contact me and we can make that happen. The program will cover all of the costs, the travel expenses, the accommodation expenses. You don't have to pay anything to us. Just give us space to speak in an audience of high schoolers and we're going to be there for sure.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, that is incredible. And I think you have chosen a great audience in a sense that helping these high schoolers to understand before they enter into either the workplace or higher education. And we know that so often the institutes of higher education especially, they've become in many places anti American and anti-freedom in a sense. And they're really preaching things that are destructive to our country and to individuals. And you mentioned how the rights of the individual are so important and in so many of these countries, that is so minimized and people take that for granted. And these high schoolers need to wake up. So I really appreciate what the Dissident project is doing. I've heard from you on several occasions, but then also some of the other Dissidents, and it's just a great program. So if people would want to contact you or others with the Dissident Project, how should they do?

Jorge Galicia: So? Yeah, sure. You can always contact me through my social media. I'm on Twitter and Instagram, and my handle is at Jorge Galicia 95. At Jorge Galicia 95. And you can also, of course, follow the Dissident Project social media, which is Dissident p as in Synpoto, R-O-J. That's how we are on Twitter and Instagram. So you can either DM me or DM them and we can start scheduling something if that's what you can do for us.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, perfectly. That's perfect. And if people can't remember that or they hear this and they forget what it is, you can always reach out to me at Prosperity 101. Com and I can get you in touch with Jorge and the Dissident Project. So what would you say before we close? What would you say to employers, employees about why it's so important to speak up against these socialist policies?

Jorge Galicia: Anyway? It is extremely important because if you don't speak up, these socialist people are going to take advantage of every single chance that they have to advance their agenda. And the danger of this is that they don't advance like whole lot once, right? They give a little step and then they give a little step and they a lot of little step and you may say, well, this is just something little. I'm not going to speak up because I don't see the relevance of that. But when you see the whole picture, when you give a couple of steps back, you're going to realize that they have been advancing quite a lot, little by little. Right? So I think we really need to start speaking up whenever we see something, no matter how small we think it is. We need to start speaking up against these kind of policies because otherwise it's going to be extremely easy for them to just take over in a couple of decades from now. Right. We need to fight for individual liberty. We need to fight the same private property.

We need to fight against all of these horrendous mismanagement and all of this horrendous overspending that we're seeing from Washington. And unfortunately, this means that we need to probably fight Democrats as well as Republicans because I do believe that both parties have been really bad at trying to fix the budget significantly and try to bring reforms to put our finances in order again. Right? So I think we need to be really careful about that and we need to start advocating on a daily basis about fight decisions because otherwise we're going to lose this country. And I know for sure that people in Washington won't help us unless we add pressure against them. That's the only way, I think, that we could actually get our political system back in order. Right. I believe in grassroots activism, and if we don't do a lot of that well, as I said, I do believe that we are going to be in a really bad place, maybe in the not so distant future. I mean, we are already seeing the levels of inflation exploding, the shape of the economy. It's not like we're in a great place right now. And if we keep following this path, definitely the odds won't be in our favorite.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, absolutely. And you express that so well. An image came to my mind while you were talking about your experiences in Venezuela and after the government promised so much to the people. One of the things that socialism does is it makes it seem like government can take care of all your needs. Daddy government will come in and take care of you instead of allowing you to take care of yourself. And I remember seeing a post sometime. I don't know who to give credit to, but the first picture was a.

Linda J. Hansen: Lion in a cage and it said, this lion has his food and shelter taken care of for him. And then there was a lion out in the jungle and it was like, which one would you rather be? And I think we would rather not be caged in and be able to be free to roam, to be free to soar and to really prosper. And so whether it's. Individuals or companies or our countries. That's what we want. We want the freedom to grow. So, Jorge, thank you so much for sharing your experiences, your insights. I thank you for sounding the warning for America and for your passion to reach young people. So, again, listeners, if you know a high school in your area where they would like to have someone from the Dissident Project come Jorge or some of his other colleagues, you can reach out to Jorge on his social media, Jorge Galicia, 95. Or again, you can reach out to the Dissident Project, but I really want to encourage you. And then also, just a question, like, if people have other events that are not necessarily high school, will the Dissident Project help send you there as well?

Jorge Galicia: I would need to speak to the head of that program, but I'm pretty sure that we can also arrange something like that. I'm more than sure that that's a possibility. Of course, our main objective are high schoolers, but I do believe that we can arrange also activities with all other kind of audiences.

Linda J. Hansen: That would be wonderful, because I think that even people outside of high school would benefit from hearing from all of you. So if there is a local high school, maybe open it up to the public so they can hear Jorge or his colleagues talk about this, because their experiences are so important. Like we've often told people, we don't have to make our own mistakes. We can learn from the mistakes of others, so we can learn from the mistakes of Venezuela and these other countries that have fallen to socialism or communism, and we don't have to make the same mistakes. We're in the throes of it right now. So we really have to do what Jorge said and speak up and put pressure on our elected officials so we can preserve freedom for Americans and people all over the world. So. Thank you, Jorge. Do you have anything else to close with before we say no?

Jorge Galicia: Well, thank you, Linda. Again, thanks all your audience for listening to me. And just encourage all of you to keep fighting, to keep praying a lot, because this is also a spiritual fight that we are dealing with, is not only the physical things that we see daily, but also there are fights going on in the spiritual world. I think we need to start following Jesus as a nation again, following God, and we can definitely God out of the equation of this if we want to be successful, because I believe that's a mistake that many people here in the US. Are doing. And, yeah, we need to fix that. We need to put back Jesus and God again into the equation and put it in the most important place. Right?

Linda J. Hansen: Yes, that is the most important thing. And blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. When the righteous rule, the nation rejoices. But when ungodly leaders are in place, the people groan. And we've seen that in our own nation. Over time, when righteousness rules, there is peace and prosperity and we can really pray for that. So thank you for that is the most important thing, and I thank you that that's what we are closing with. So thank you again for joining with me and I look forward to next time.

Jorge Galicia: Thank you, Linda, thank you. God bless you.

Linda J. Hansen: You too.

Linda J. Hansen: Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share, and leave a great review. Don't forget to visit to access the entire podcast library to order my newest book, Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck or to enroll you or your employees in the Breakroom Economics online course. You can also receive the free e-book, 10 Tips for Helping Employees Understand How Public Policy Affects Their Paychecks. Freedom is never free. Understanding the foundations of prosperity and the policies of prosperity will help you to protect prosperity as you become informed, involved, and impactful. I give special thanks to our sponsors Matthews Archery, Inc. and Wisconsin Stamping & Manufacturing. Please contact us today at to let us know how we can serve you. Thank you.