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

Felipe Dana / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When the Bahamas issued a travel advisory last weekend about visiting the U.S. – citing police brutality against black people – my first reaction was:

The Bahamas is warning Bahamians about cop cruelty against blacks in America? How about warning Bahamians about cop cruelty against blacks in the Bahamas?

Felipe Marrou / WLRN TV

Billy Causey has a keen eye for recreational boaters doing dumb things around vulnerable coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

Especially on heavy boating holidays like the Fourth of July.

“Lookee there,” says Causey as his boat heads out from Big Pine Key. He points to a nearby cluster of party boats. “A lot of them are up on the sea grasses and people are walking around on top of small colonies of coral.”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The wider Panama Canal opened two weeks ago – servicing more massive post-Panamax ships. On Saturday PortMiami received its first vessel of that kind from the Canal. And it may mean a new era for Miami as a world commercial hub.

The Chinese ship MOL Majesty measures almost a thousand feet long and 150 feet wide. Larger than any cargo ship PortMiami has ever seen. Post-Panamax ships like the Majesty can carry three times the cargo of ordinary vessels. And PortMiami was recently dredged down to 50 feet to accommodate them.

Eraldo Peres (left) and Molly Riley (right) / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

We’ve seen enough media comparisons of Donald Trump and Hugo Chávez to make us think they had the same father.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the late Venezuelan president are indeed nifty portraits of egomaniacal demagoguery. But if 2016 election pundits are looking to Latin America for ominously useful parallels, they might give the Donald-Hugo chatter a rest now and consider Hillary-Dilma.

Courtsey Pro Footvolley Tour

This story first aired on December 14, 2015.   

These days, if you’re sitting on a South Florida beach and someone shouts, “Shark attack!” it’s probably got nothing to do with “Jaws.” Instead, it’s all about feet.

Namely, a sport called footvolley.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

In Latin America, scientists have become more convinced of the link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and the birth defect known as microcephaly. Colombia is the one country that hasn’t fit the pattern. But that may now be changing.

Microcephaly causes unusually small heads and brains in newborn infants. Many Latin American countries – especially Brazil – have reported cases believed to be related to Zika infection in pregnant women. 

Joshua Lim / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY -

So it seems the Orlando massacre helped prod Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, like a guy leaping back onto a subway train as its doors are closing, to change his mind Wednesday and run for reelection.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Imagine you’re an ambitious 25-year-old business school grad in Spain. But it’s 2013 – and unemployment there is a scary 26 percent. Where do you take your entrepreneurial talents?

Communist Cuba. Seriously.

Illustration by Amanda Rabines / WLRN

Pope Francis and Imam Syed Rahman share a problem. They want to have it both ways when it comes to LGBT people.

The Pope tells us to love gays and lesbians. Yet he sticks with the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine that homosexuality is a mortal sin.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Omar Mateen – the man who allegedly committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history Sunday – belonged to a mosque in Fort Pierce. But the head of that congregation says that while Mateen may have been a quarrelsome adolescent, he gave no indication he was capable of such an atrocity.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and local police spent hours  Sunday going through the apartment of the alleged Orlando shooter, Omar Sadduque Mateen, as well as his parents'  house in Fort Pierce. 

A small gaggle of reporters and TV cameras were parked outside the police tape in front of the apartment complex in Fort Pierce where Mateen allegedly lived. The FBI and local police were on the scene, but neither could confirm anything about the investigation.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here we go again, only in reverse.

If you remember the Great Recession, then you remember every liberal coming out of the woodwork in those days to denounce capitalism.

Not just the capitalist excesses that caused the U.S. financial collapse. Free-market mutants like subprime mortgages and the deranged securities they were bundled into. But capitalism itself.

AP (left) and Ariana Cubillos (right) / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Donald Trump haters are fist-bumping in South Florida this week after the PGA hauled a major pro golf tournament out of the Trump National resort here in Doral. They're moving it to Mexico – the country that’s had more rhetorical sand kicked in its face by presidential candidate Trump than any other.

Susan Walsh / AP via Miami Herald

This was a tense day for democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuela’s leftist government got smacked by the Organization of American States. Haiti may have to redo a presidential election. And both crises reflect a discouraging regional failure.

Regarding Venezuela, the OAS has taken an unprecedented action: It invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter to decide if the country should be suspended from the OAS.

Courtesy Leal

These days, Venezuela’s street soundtrack isn’t salsa or joropo. It’s a loop of anti-government chants and blasts of teargas cannisters.

It’s clashes between police and protesters calling for the removal of socialist President Nicolás Maduro – as the Western Hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation suffers deeper social, political and especially economic collapse.

But amid the angry unrest and crippling food shortages there are a few sanctuaries where Venezuela’s future looks a little less miserable – even a little less torn apart.

Pages