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

Presidencia de Honduras

Illegal immigration from Central America remains a big U.S. concern - enough so that a conference begins in Miami Thursday at which Central American leaders and U.S. cabinet members will try to hash out how to pull the region out of its violent and impoverished tail spin.

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Ricans want to become America’s 51st state. But right now it's doubtful America – at least President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress – feels the same way.

In a non-binding referendum on Sunday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 97 percent of those who voted chose statehood over the two other options: remaining a U.S. territory or becoming an independent country.

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Rico held a referendum Sunday on whether to remain a U.S. commonwealth, be independent – or become the 51st U.S. state. Those Puerto Ricans who voted gave statehood a big victory, but it’s not as big a win as it first looks, largely because turnout was far lower than anticipated.

More than 97 percent of Puerto Ricans who cast ballots in the non-binding plebiscite chose statehood. Now they take the issue to the U.S. Congress, which has the final say on whether U.S. territories like Puerto Rico become states.

Lisette Poole / Airbnb

In Miami-Dade County, Airbnb has become a big business and political controversy. But across the Florida Straits in Cuba, there are few complaints about the online lodging service.

In fact, Airbnb is urging the Trump Administration not to roll back normalized relations with Cuba. And it’s stepping into Cuba politics because it’s doing so well in Cuba business. This week Airbnb reports that Cubans have netted $40 million the past two years by using the online service to rent their homes and rooms to short-term visitors.

Cliff Owen / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While South Florida breathlessly awaits President Trump’s decision on whether to roll back his predecessor’s normalization of relations with Cuba, something else is happening in Washington that could nudge normalization forward – or severely set it back.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Today there’s rarely if ever good economic news from Venezuela. But the country’s already collapsing economy may be closer to outright crashing. And that has serious repercussions for South Florida.

Italian tire maker Pirelli announced Tuesday it’s suspending operations in Venezuela. United Airlines this week stopped service to Venezuela. General Motors said last month it’s leaving Venezuela. The reason: Venezuela is suffering the world’s worst economic implosion.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On the night of May 12, a group of Venezuelan expats gathered in front of the house of former Venezuelan judge Dayva Soto in Weston. They screamed insults at her in Spanish.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Goldman Sachs made a dumb p.r. move last week when it bought a $2.8 billion tranche of Venezuelan government bonds – and did so in a way that appears to have handed President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled socialist government an important financial lifeline.

U.S Marshal

This interview was originally published on March 20.

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega is dead at the age of 83.  The Panamanian government announced his death late Monday night, May 29. In March Noriega had undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor, and for a time had been in a coma.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

I have a question for the Haitian community.

Let me preface it by saying I sympathize with your dogged efforts to win extension for federal Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, which has allowed more than 50,000 Haitians to live here since their country’s apocalyptic earthquake in 2010.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

Car radios told Miami drivers Tuesday morning about the fatal crash on the Julia Tuttle Causeway – and they appreciated its gravity. But many didn’t understand how that accident could paralyze traffic throughout Miami.

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Ricardo Rosselló became Governor of Puerto Rico in January at the age of just 37 – and he inherited a disaster.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Three years ago, Venezuela’s socialist regime jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López for leading anti-government protests – and also tried to imprison López’s top lieutenant, Carlos Vecchio.

But Vecchio went into hiding and then into exile in South Florida. From here Vecchio helps lead López’s party, Voluntad Popular, or Popular Will.

Associated Press

COMMENTARY

Nine years ago a colleague and I had dinner in Culiacán, Mexico, with local journalist Javier Valdez. At the time, Mexico was locked in of some of the bloodiest narco-violence in its history. Culiacán – the capital of Sinaloa state, home to the powerful drug cartel once run by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – was ground zero.

Pages