Tim Padgett

Americas editor

Tim Padgett is WLRN-Miami Herald News' Americas correspondent covering Latin America and the Caribbean from Miami. He has covered Latin America for almost 25 years, for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief, first in Mexico from 1996 to 1999 and then in Miami, where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast, from 1999 to 2013.

Padgett has interviewed more than 20 heads of state, including former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and he was one of the few U.S. correspondents to sit down with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during his 14-year rule. He has reported on, and written cover articles about, every major Latin American and Caribbean story from NAFTA, the Cuban economic collapse and Colombian civil war of the 1990s to the Brazilian boom, Venezuelan revolution and Mexican drug-war carnage of the 2000s. In 2005, Padgett received Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest international award in journalism, for his body of work from the region. His 1993 Newsweek cover, “Cocaine Comes Home,” won the Inter-American Press Association’s drug-war coverage award.

A U.S. native from Indiana, Padgett received his bachelor’s degree in 1984 from Wabash College as an English major. He was an intern reporter at Newsday in 1982 and 1983. In 1985 Padgett received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School before studying in Caracas, Venezuela, at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. He started his professional journalism career in 1985 at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he led the newspaper’s coverage of the 1986 immigration reform. In 1988 he joined Newsweek in its Chicago bureau. Padgett has also written for publications such as The New Republic and America, and he has been a frequent analyst on CNN, Fox and NPR, as well as Spanish-language networks such as Univision.

Padgett has been an adult literacy volunteer since 1989. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two children. 

Ways to Connect

Fernando Llano / AP

Every day thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country to escape the worst economic collapse in the world today. Many have come to South Florida. Venezuela’s GDP is sinking so deep, and its hyperinflation is rising so fast, it’s hard to keep track of exchange rates, food prices, minimum wages, foreign reserves and other critical economic indicators. And the authoritarian socialist regime is trying to keep a lot of that embarrassing data hidden.

Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel via Miami Herald

After last week’s school shooting in Parkland that killed 17 people, a lot of focus has fallen on the home where the confessed shooter was living. WLRN spoke with the father of that family about the young man’s mental health issues – and about issues of gun ownership.

Updated Feb. 16

The 19-year-old man who’s confessed to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people on Wednesday left a violent social media footprint. But the teens and adults who might have stopped him say they weren’t aware.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

South Florida has petal power. Just about all the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami, where they're the No. 1 import.

The U.S. military’s Southern Command, or Southcom, hosted a summit of experts in Miami Thursday on America’s growing opioid crisis. Among them was Jim Walsh, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics.

Walsh told WLRN one of his big concerns is the growing potential for increased production of fentanyl – widely considered the most addictive and dangerous opioid. Walsh said in the past China has been the sole source of fentanyl. But there are signs it’s now being produced in this hemisphere:

Luis Hidalgo / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Last week, on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s 7-day tour of Latin America, I all but wrote that I felt sorry for the man.

Here was Tillerson embarking on a mission to drum up more regional support for U.S. foreign policy goals like the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Yet he had the ball-and-chain of President Trump’s anti-Latin American jabs –  calling Mexicans “rapists,” Haiti a “shithole” – hanging from his foot.

Courtsey Diana Caballero

Sometimes an accent can render a language sexy. Even elegant.

Orlando Sierra / AFP/Getty Images via El Nuevo Herald

COMMENTARY

When Rex Tillerson leaves for his first visit to Latin America as Secretary of State on Thursday, he’ll have the ominous warnings of two Cuban-American Senators ringing in his ears.

But it’s not communist Cuba that’s got Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey in a lather. It’s Mexico – the first stop on the Secretary of State’s five-nation itinerary.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last January, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez agreed to a federal request to hand over undocumented immigrant detainees. That decision is controversial a year later, and on Tuesday immigration activists stepped up calls on Gimenez to reverse it.

YouTube

COMMENTARY

A lot of Venezuelans who oppose their authoritarian socialist regime are into self-flagellation at the moment. They feel guilty because they didn’t rally behind rebel cop Oscar Pérez – whom authorities killed last week – until it was too late.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the past year, much of the world has begun talking about Venezuela more as a dictatorship than as a democracy. The socialist regime in that oil-rich South American country hoped to change that Tuesday by announcing it will hold a presidential election by the end of April.

But it didn't exactly hear worldwide applause.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Few Miami Beach restaurants are as iconic as Joe’s Stone Crab. And for more than a quarter century, Roy Garret was Joe’s iconic maître d’.

Garret, the man who ruled the Stone Crab with stone calm, died this week.

READ MORE: Miami Herald Obituary: Roy Garret, Larger Than Life Maitre d' at Joe's Stone Crab, Dies at 92

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