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

Ricardo Mazalan / AP

I won’t deny it – the leftist guerrillas who signed peace with the Colombian government this week are more Mafia than Marx.

In 1998 I spent almost a week in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province with those rebels, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC. Back then the FARC was Caquetá’s de facto government, controlling territory the size of Switzerland. Photographer Keith Dannemiller and I boated up and down the sweltering Caguán River talking with guerrillas and hearing why they’d joined up.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Fresh off his first debate with Hillary Clinton last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came straight to Miami today to meet with Latino voters – and found he still struggles to engage a voter bloc he’ll need more of if he wants to win the battleground state of Florida.

Secretaria de Seguridad Publica de Tamaulipas

In June, Mexican freelance reporter Zamira Esther Bautista was gunned down by a group of hit men at her home in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico.

Her killing has yet to be solved; no one has been arrested.

It was the most recent murder of a journalist in Mexico – the eighth there this year. Across Latin America, 23 journalists have been murdered.

That’s a big reason media rights groups this month are urging the U.N. to create a special representative for journalists’ protection.

Carlos Giusti / AP

Puerto Rico is suffering one of the worst economic crises in the western hemisphere. Adding to the U.S. territory’s problems right now is a massive, island-wide blackout - which gives Puerto Ricans one more reason to come to Florida.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Politics makes desperate bedfellows.

So it's not such a big surprise that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, also a Republican, appear to have finally slipped under the same campaign sheets.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Meet Jose Alvarez. Or as he’ll tell you when you’re introduced:

“My name is Jose Alvarez, D.O.P.A.”

Tim Padget / WLRN.org

President Obama’s policy of normalizing relations with communist Cuba enjoys larger than expected support among Cubans in Miami-Dade County, according to a new poll.

Florida International University’s biannual Cuba Poll shows almost two-thirds, or 64 percent, of Miami-Dade’s Cuban cohort back normalization, which Obama announced in December 2014. Sixty-nine percent back last year’s re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Nelson Antoine / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If you needed another reminder that the new Brazil is really just the old Brazil, here’s some handy news:

Yet another epic public fraud scheme has emerged this week – a $2.5 billion scandal involving the pension funds of Brazil’s largest state-run companies.

This latest financial atrocity adds one more fetid float to Brazil’s long samba parade of corruption – including the $3 billion bribery horror at the state-run Petrobras oil firm.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

There was a lot of celebration – and not a little hype – last week when JetBlue took the first U.S. commercial flight into Cuba in more than 50 years.

It was another big step in the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. But beneath all the airborne cheering is the grim reality that Cuba’s economic wings have been all but clipped. 

Marco Ugarte / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Why in the name of Moctezuma did Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto invite Republican presidential nominee – and sophomoric Mexico basher – Donald Trump to a south-of-the-border powwow today?

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

Jet Blue made history on Tuesday morning with its flight  from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba - the first U.S. commercial flight to Cuba in 55 years.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Colombia’s protracted peace talks have put a serious dent in President Juan Manuel Santos’ approval rating at home – and across the Caribbean.

Santos is probably most unpopular in South Florida, home to the U.S.’s largest Colombian community, which is strongly opposed to peace with Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, known as the FARC.

In a 2014 interview with WLRN, Santos – who has staked his presidential legacy on ending his South American nation’s 52-year-old civil war – took a dig at Colombian expats here.

AP

The Colombian government and Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC have been at war for 52 years. But tonight both sides confirmed from their negotiating table in Havana, Cuba, that a peace agreement has finally been forged.

"[We] have reached a final, full and definite accord," they said in a joint statement.

Colombia’s civil war is Latin America’s last guerrilla conflict. It has left more than 200,000 people dead and millions more displaced. Peace talks began three years ago, and this summer the two sides announced a mutual cease-fire.

Brazil Police via AP

COMMENTARY

I don’t wear Speedo swimsuits. I obey the unwritten law – which ought to be codified criminal statute – that middle-aged men don’t wear them.

But I’m a Speedo fan this week. Not because the company said it will no longer sponsor Lamebrain Lochte (his real first name is Ryan) for his boorish behavior in Rio de Janeiro last week. And not because most of Lochte’s other corporate patrons dumped his clueless kiester, too.

Courtesy Pro Footvolley Tour

Could this be footvolley's breakout moment?

Footvolley is a Brazilian sport that combines soccer and beach volleyball. It’s growing popular in the U.S. – especially in South Florida.

But it's been yearning for a major international stage to play on – and may well have got it this week in Rio de Janeiro, where footvolley has been invited to hold a 23-nation tournament as part of the Olympics festivities there.

The competition starts Wednesday and features teams from the U.S.

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