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

Alan Diaz / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In June I moderated a Miami panel on renewed U.S.-Cuba relations. The panelists, all  Cuban-Americans, represented the pro- and anti-normalization sides. But the normalization team had the momentum.

Washington-Havana détente “is the new normal,” one pro-engagement panelist assured the audience. “There’s no going back,” he insisted.

Except there is.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los jóvenes – young people. But it couldn’t hide the fact that communist Cuba is still run by much older people. Like Raúl, who’s 85.

Associated Press

MATANZAS – A caravan carrying Fidel Castro’s ashes is moving across Cuba from Havana to Santiago on the island’s eastern tip – marking a funereal return to where the Cuban Revolution was born.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - Hundreds of thousands of Cubans filled Havana’s Revolution Square Tuesday night to bid farewell to Fidel Castro, who died Friday. We can’t know how many of them will actually miss the communist leader. But some of the mourners are not who you’d expect.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

The first commercial flight from Miami to Havana in more than half a century left Miami International Airport at 7:30 on Monday morning.

American Airlines crew and executives cut a ceremonial red ribbon at Gate D30 before 125 passengers boarded flight 17 to Havana. Airline employees handed to all on board commemorative straw hats for the occasion.

David Santiago / El Nuevo Herald

Fidel Castro's death will no doubt spark a robust debate about what Cuba would be like today if he had never come to power in 1959.

But here's another important question: What would Miami be today without Castro and the thousands of exiles his communist revolution drove to South Florida?

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

News of Fidel Castro’s death sent Cuban exiles old and young into the streets of Little Havana early this morning. Both generations recall Castro with a sense of betrayal - and his demise with a sense of hope.

80-year-old Ana Celia watched fellow Cuban exiles dance a conga line in front of the Versailles restaurant in Little Havana - some of them holding signs that read, "Go to Hell Fidel."

Associated Press

This obituary originally ran in Time Magazine. 

Fidel Castro, the world's most revered and reviled revolutionary, has died in Havana at age 90.

Luis Choy / Special to the Miami Herald

Next month marks the second anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba – and things couldn’t look more uncertain. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to cancel normalization unless Cuba delivers more democratic reform. But even before Trump’s election, Cuba seemed to be closing rather than opening the door to U.S. business.

Marco Ugarte / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

You’ve heard of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program, right?

Don’t worry, neither have most Americans – even though what TAA does should have been front and center in the presidential campaign. More important than Hillary’s crafty emails. More significant than Donald’s creepy libido. Sorry, the President-elect’s creepy libido.

Robin Thom / Insight Cuba

Last month they ran the Key Biscayne Half Marathon – with a big new prize.

“They said, 'You’re gonna go to Cuba,'" says Elliott Mason, who won the race and gets a paid trip to run in the Havana Marathon this Sunday. “I had no idea that Havana had a marathon.”

But like a growing number of U.S. runners, now that he knows, he wants to get to the starting line.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

If you’re a U.S. presidential candidate – and you’re running against Donald Trump – it takes complacency or cluelessness or both to underperform with Latino voters.

Hillary Clinton seems to have pulled it off.

From the moment Trump launched his campaign – when he branded Mexican immigrants “rapists,” “killers” and “drug-traffickers” – he dragged Latinos through the bigoted mud, scapegoating them for America’s ills.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

After an unusually long race to determine who will be mayor of Miami-Dade County for the next four years, incumbent Carlos Gimenez was reelected by an almost 12-point margin Tuesday over his opponent Raquel Regalado.

With most precincts reporting, Gimenez secured 56 percent of the vote to Regalado’s 44 percent.

Associated Press

Miami’s Janet Reno,  the first woman to be United States attorney general, died Monday at 78 from complications connected to Parkinson’s disease.

Her eight-year tenure in that office brought some of the country's most high-profile issues to her desk including the seizure and return of Elián González to Cuba, the capture of the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and the 51-day Waco siege standoff in which 76 people died.

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

When the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations two years ago, hope sprang eternal that Americans could now do business on the island. But we got another reminder this week that it may also require eternal patience.

Last February, President Obama approved plans by an Alabama enterprise to build the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than half a century.

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