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

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Despair wrought by corruption scandals also drives migration to the U.S.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Hondurans don’t get riled easily. And they’re not known for takin’ it to the streets.

But this has been a year of loud and angry torchlight protest marches in Honduras — and for good reason. The impoverished Central American country is wrestling with perhaps the worst government corruption scandal in its history.

Or as Honduran protesters like Eldan Cruz put it: “Corruption on such a criminal level it’s basically sociopathic behavior.”

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

El Edén in Honduras is no paradise for those on trek to the U.S.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    It seems the entire world is wrestling with immigration emergencies today. And lest you think the western hemisphere’s crisis is over, consider the look on Oscar Ortega’s face.

He just got a WhatsApp message that made his eyes pop.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Reform and beefed-up police presence is making Hondurans feel safer.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    On June 26, 2014, 13-year-old Andrea Argeñal had just dropped her young cousins off at school in the Rivera Hernández section of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. Relatives say it’s the sort of favor she frequently did for her family.

Thugs suddenly abducted Andrea, angry that she refused to join their mara, or drug gang. They took her to a house they’d invaded — one of many criminal lairs in Honduras known as casas locas, or madhouses.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Some U.S.-funded programs help would-be immigrants improve their lives and stay home.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Here’s the first thing to know about Jessel Recinos: He’s a breathtaking rollerblader.

Almost every day, Recinos skates in Cofradía Park in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. He spins, makes hairpin turns and takes soaring jumps, his long locks blowing like wind socks. Kids scream his name as if he were a Honduran sports icon.

Here’s the second thing to know about Recinos: He should probably be dead.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

As Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Cuba on Sunday, Cuban-Americans did the same here in South Florida – but most prayed that the Pope would convince Cuba’s communist leader, Raúl Castro, to adopt more democratic reforms on the island.

At La Ermita Roman Catholic church in Coconut Grove – a shrine to Cuba’s patron saint, Our Lady of Charity – Sunday morning Mass was standing-room-only. And many had just finished listening to Pope Francis’ homily live from Havana on Spanish-language radio.

Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba this weekend showcases the island’s Roman Catholic recovery after half a century of communism.

But that narrative is misleading. In reality, Catholicism wasn’t all that vibrant in Cuba before communism.

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

After Sunday’s first round of voting, the leading candidate in Guatemala’s presidential run-off election next month will be a former comedian. But the anti-corruption wave sweeping Central America is no joke – and has been spreading next door to Honduras.

Guatemalan actor Jimmy Morales has never held elected office. But it’s not surprising that an outsider candidate like him got the most votes. Guatemalans are so angry about corruption that last week President Otto Pérez was forced to resign and faces charges in a major scandal.

Courtesy Maryanne Rodriguez

A year ago Thursday, U.S. officials confirmed that South Florida journalist Steven Sotloff had been brutally murdered in Syria by the terrorist group known as ISIS.

ISIS reaped the global shock it thrives on. But in this case there’s at least one reason to claim the terrorists are losing. True, the West remains a good five or six clueless steps behind ISIS in the social media war. Still, Sotloff left an important legacy that a growing number of his fellow millennials are embracing – one that could eventually help counter the propaganda potency of Arab extremists.

Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology

Remember Hurricane Danny roaring out in the Atlantic last week with 115-mile-an-hour gusts? When it reached Puerto Rico this morning it was wheezing.

That’s a big relief for the Caribbean islands – but it also reflects a big problem out there.

The same abnormal climate conditions that helped deflate Danny are also responsible for the some of the worst drought the Caribbean has seen in two decades.

RELATED: The Danger Of Hurricane Complacency

Sonora Carruseles / Facebook

Maybe you’ve never heard of the Miami salsa band Sonora Carruseles. But President Obama has. This week he put one of the group’s songs on his summer playlist – and the Colombian-American ensemble is obscure no more.