Tim Padgett

Americas editor

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. He has reported on Latin America for almost 30 years - for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief in Mexico and Miami (where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast) from 1996 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. He has covered every major Latin American and Caribbean story from the end of the Central American civil wars of the 1980s to NAFTA and the Colombian guerrilla conflict of the 1990s; to the Brazilian boom, the Venezuelan revolution and Mexican drug-cartel war carnage of the 2000s to the current normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

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. In 2016 he won a national Edward R. Murrow award for Best Radio Series for "The Migration Maze," about the brutal causes of - and potential solutions to - Central American migration. His 1993 Newsweek cover, “Cocaine Comes Home,” won the Inter-American Press Association’s drugs coverage award.

Padgett is an Indiana native and a graduate of Wabash College. He 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 career at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he led the paper's coverage of the 1986 immigration reform. Padgett has also written for publications such as The New Republic and America and 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 and is a member of the Catholic anti-poverty organization St. Vincent de Paul. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two children. 

Ways to Connect

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | It’s not easy for Jesús Mendoza to talk about all the things he’s had to sell to buy medicine – life-saving medicine.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If there were any doubts about the deadly madness of Venezuela’s dictatorial socialist regime, they were erased this week by a stunning Reuters report:

Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms – and often at a loss….”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

First of a three-part WLRN series, "Escape From Venezuela"

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | This is what the Venezuelan refugee crisis sounds like: the fists, knuckles and open palms of destitute – and above all hungry – Venezuelan migrants pounding on the metal gates of humanitarian relief stations here in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The Venezuelan refugee crisis is only worsening - and international aid raised so far to help hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans pouring into countries like Colombia is falling well short. As a result, the U.N. and other aid  groups are looking for new sources of funding.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While a growing global chorus calls for Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega to step down, I’m thinking back to one of my favorite editorial cartoons.

It appeared 28 years ago, at the curtain call of Ortega’s first presidency – right after Nicaraguan voters tossed out him and his Marxist Sandinista party, ending their decade of authoritarian rule.

The cartoon shows Ortega rafting across the Caribbean to Cuba. Iconic communist dictator Fidel Castro stands onshore angrily shouting, “You lost a WHAT?!”

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Covering Cuba, I’ve long followed this maxim: If both the communist leadership in Havana and the exile leadership in Miami are angry at you, you’ve probably done your job right.

I felt that way 10 years ago this very week, when I wrote that Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl disagreed on economic policy.

Catharine Skipp / University of Miami Law School

A historic anti-corruption wave is sweeping across much of Latin America. Its hero is a federal judge in Brazil named Sergio Moro - and he got a hero’s welcome on Thursday in the so-called capital of Latin America: Miami.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

Updated April 19, 2018

Cuba’s likely new president is a good generation younger than the Castro crowd he’s replacing. The younger generation of Cuban exiles here doesn’t expect that to mean change on the communist island. But many say it’s better than what Cuba has now.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

On Wednesday, Cuba may have a new president, elected by the National Assembly. (The election session had been scheduled to start Thursday, but the government moved it up a day.)

“Election” is a relative term here – Cuba is a communist state – but something does set it apart.

Ariana Cubillos, White House / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When President Trump announced this week that he won’t attend the Summit of the Americas in Peru on Friday and Saturday, a lot of Latin America watchers reacted with outrage.

An insult to our New World neighbors! A blown opportunity to mend hemispheric fences! We won’t get to see Donald and Melania not hold hands in historic Lima!

Sorry, folks – you should be popping champagne corks.

YouTube

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned as president of Peru in March because of a corruption scandal – just a month before he was supposed to host the Summit of the Americas this week in Lima. But here’s the kicker: This time the theme of that gathering of the hemisphere’s heads of state is ... corruption.

Felix Marquez / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’ve learned to think like President Trump. That should probably scare the hell out of me, but journalists get paid for that kind of thing.

It was Tuesday when I knew I was finally on the same page with the man. That’s because my head didn’t do a 360 like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist” when he said he was thinking of cutting off U.S. aid to Honduras.

Thomas Becker / Center for Constitutional Rights

Fifteen years ago, violent clashes between Bolivian security forces and protesters over control of natural gas resulted in many civilian deaths. On Tuesday a jury in Fort Lauderdale found Bolivia’s president at that time responsible for the killings.

More than 60 Bolivian civilians were killed in 2003 when security forces opened fire on demonstrators during the so-called Gas War. Many of them were Aymara Indians.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN.org

It’s now been more than six months since Hurricanes Irma and Maria demolished the Caribbean. Former President Bill Clinton brought his foundation to Miami on Tuesday to propose ways to rebuild Florida’s island neighbors stronger.

Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused $106 billion damage when they roared through the Caribbean last September in just two weeks. Small islands like Dominica and Barbuda were decimated; larger islands like Cuba and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico need years to recover.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

At a warehouse near Miami International Airport, Adelys Ferro is unpacking boxes and making a checklist of donated medicines for Venezuelans.

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