Tim Padgett

Americas editor

Tim Padgett is WLRN 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

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The Trump Administration announced Monday it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans living in the country. South Florida’s Salvadoran population is relatively small - but the TPS ruling will still be felt here.

Fernando Antonio / AP via Miami Herald

While the world has been focused on ant-government protests in Iran, deadly demonstrations are also raging much closer to South Florida – in Honduras.

More than 30 people have been killed during unrest there since the presidential election in late November – which many are calling fraudulent. Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández was declared the winner, but serious irregularities have caused his opponents to call for a month of uprising to prevent him from being sworn in on Jan. 27.


President Trump last year made it harder for Americans to travel to and do business with Cuba. In response, Cuba is making it easier for at least Cuban-Americans to engage the communist island. 

Richard Drew / AP


Let’s make one thing crystal clear: Rafael Ramírez is no hero. Venezuela’s former oil czar is almost as complicit in the country’s economic and democratic ruin as President Nicolás Maduro is.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Rising dictatorship in Venezuela. Wrenching disaster in Puerto Rico. 2017 was not an especially pleasant year in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Gentrification is coming to Little Haiti faster than in any community in Miami – and Haitian-owned businesses are getting pushed out as a result.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

This month, when you walk into a Colombian café in Kendall called La Candelaria, you’re met by música decembrina. December music. Meaning, Colombian Navidad or Christmas music. Old-time cumbia favorites like “El Año Viejo.”

AP via Miami Herald


It’s hard to exaggerate what a repugnant U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore of Alabama was. Right-wing bigot. Mean-spirited homophobe. Alleged pedophile. An intolerant theocrat who rode to the polls Tuesday on horseback to highlight the antediluvian past he and his followers want to drag us back to.

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


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


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 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.