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

Adopta un Bolsillo / Twitter

This Friday, Dec. 15, is the day Puerto Rico’s governor pledged to have all the island’s electric power restored. That’s not going to happen – but some Puerto Ricans have gotten power back after their long, long night in the dark.

Hipodromo Presidente Remon

There is arguably no more prestigious horse race in Latin America than El Clásico del Caribe – the Caribbean Derby. Saturday is the 50th  running, and they’re marking that milestone by holding el Clásico here in South Florida.

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

For those of us who favor loosening the screws on Cuba but tightening the screws on Venezuela, this week presents a nagging question: At what point do we become guilty of a double standard?

Venezuela’s regime just made an announcement that should cause some geopolitical navel-gazing in that regard. To wit: the ruling socialists, or Chavistas, said they’re considering not holding presidential elections next year as long as the U.S. keeps its financial sanctions against Venezuela in place.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last Friday, with dignitaries and civic hoopla, the new home of the ICA – the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami  – was inaugurated in the Design District. It was an exuberant kick-off to Miami’s Art Week.

But even then, the air was much quieter behind the new museum building, in its patio sculpture garden. In that more contemplative space, one immense sculpture stood out – not only because it’s striking but because it’s achingly somber. And because it’s very timely.

Ronald Zak / AP via Miami Herald

Oil is Venezuela’s only real economic asset, accounting for more than 95 percent of its export revenues. But its oil industry has been wrecked by neglect and corruption. The government is now purging that industry’s leadership. But it’s probably too late.

They say oil is as much a curse to Venezuela as it is a blessing. The South American country has the world’s largest oil reserves. But its oil wealth has long been looted by corrupt ruling elites. Or, in this century, by a corrupt socialist revolution.

Rodrigo Abd / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

UPDATED November 30, 7 a.m.

As of Thursday morning, we are still awaiting the final results of Sunday’s presidential election in Honduras. (That's because Honduras is a lot like Florida.) With 89 percent of the votes counted, the conservative incumbent, President Juan Orlando Hernández, holds a razor-thin lead over his liberal challenger, TV star Salvador Nasralla.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

With the year ending, immigration advocates are raising pressure on Congress to pass legislation to protect DREAMers from deportation. At a major University of Miami forum on Tuesday, one top Miami Republican raised the stakes.

GOP U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Miami has a bill in Congress called the RAC Act, or Recognizing America’s Children. It would legalize the status of so-called DREAMers - some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors.

Angel Valentin / National Association of Hispanic Journalists

It's been two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. But more than half the U.S. island territory's residents still have no electricity. A fifth still don't have running water. And so far there's no reliable official death toll from the storm – even though it's becoming apparent that hundreds more died than first reported.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

This month, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in default on part of its massive foreign debt. That was bad news of course for the socialist regime. And some economists say it's helping send an already wrecked Venezuelan economy to life support.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Two things happened last week that gave hope to opponents of Venezuela’s socialist regime – especially to Venezuelan exiles in South Florida.

Associated Press

Almost eight years after an earthquake destroyed their country – and prompted the U.S. to let them stay in this country protected from deportation – more than 50,000 Haitians were told on Monday they will soon lose that benefit.

Zach Gibson / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In 2012, conservative Florida Senator Marco Rubio made one of the strongest pitches for the DREAM Act I’ve ever heard.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has been sitting on Capitol Hill in one form or another since the turn of the century, would grant legal status to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Rubio, a Cuban-American, said helping those so-called Dreamer immigrants was a “humanitarian mission.”

The Acoustic Attacks and Science / Gobierno de Cuba

We still don’t know what or who caused the alleged sonic attacks that injured U.S. diplomats in Havana. Which is why Cuba put its own scientists online this week to debunk the claims.

Some two dozen personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana say they were victims of acoustic attacks. The high-pitched sonic blasts started last year and caused hearing loss and other illnesses.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Venezuela is in economic ruin, which is why so many Venezuelans have fled to South Florida. Still, Venezuela keeps making payments on its massive foreign debt. But debt ratings agencies are suddenly using the “d” word. As in  default. But what does that really mean?

Thanks to reckless government mismanagement and falling oil prices, Venezuela is running out of money. It has less than $10 billion in foreign reserves left – yet it’s staring at almost $10 billion in foreign debt payments due over the next year.

Juan Luis Martinez / AP

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is still struggling to restore power, water and other basic needs. Things only got more muddled on Friday with the sudden resignation of the island’s emergency management director.

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