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. 

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Art Basel
6:11 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Picasso Heist Stuns Art Miami Satellite Fair

Pablo Picasso's "Visage Aux Mains" (Face With Hands)
Credit Art Miami

It’s hardly his most famous or most valuable work, but it’s a Picasso nonetheless. And Thursday night it was believed to be stolen from Art Miami in Midtown. That’s one of the prominent satellite fairs to the main Art Basel Miami Beach.

The piece is called “Face With Hands” (Visage Aux Mains). It’s an engraved silver plate, about 16 inches in diameter, part of a series Pablo Picasso made in 1956. Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei is following this story and tells us this is an unusual heist:

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Opinion
3:20 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Venezuela's Truly Indictable Offense? President Maduro's Governance

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Credit chavezcandanga / Flickr

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government indicted opposition leader María Corina Machado this week for allegedly plotting to assassinate him.

But the thing to remember about Machado is that she isn't exactly the most competent anti-government operative.

She’s best known for blunders like leading the 2005 opposition boycott of parliamentary elections. That essentially gifted the National Assembly to Venezuela’s ruling and radical socialist revolution, turning it into a rubber stamp for then-President Hugo Chávez.

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Venezuela
8:14 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Venezuela Opposition: Machado's Indictment For Plot To Kill President Is A Political Move

Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado
Credit World Economic Forum / Flickr

Among Venezuela's opposition leaders, María Corina Machado is a favorite of ex-patriates in South Florida for her strong defiance of the country's radical socialist government. But now that regime hopes to put her behind bars for a long time.

Machado, a conservative, was a congresswoman until she was stripped her of her seat this year. Officials were angry that she'd denounced Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro before the Organization of American States.

On Wednesday his government indicted Machado on charges of conspiring to assassinate him.

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Cuba
8:23 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Alan Gross Marks Five Years In Cuban Prison, Family Warns He's "Wasting Away"

Alan Gross, left, with his wife and daughters at their Maryland home before his 2009 arrest in Cuba.
Credit Gross family

Today marks five years since U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross was jailed in Cuba on controversial spying charges. Gross's wife is warning he may not survive another year -- and says the family is “at the end.”

Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing what Cuban officials called illegal communications equipment into the communist island. Gross was more likely arrested as retaliation for the U.S. 2001 conviction of five Cuban spies. Three are still in U.S. prisons, and the Cuban government wants them freed as a condition for freeing Gross.

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Knight Arts Challenge
8:00 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

From Weird Miami To Youth Mariachi, Knight Foundation Awards $2.29 Million In Grants

Visitors at the FATVillage Projects gallery in Fort Lauderdale.
Credit Mitchell Zachs / Knight Foundation

Almost 50 South Florida artists and arts organizations received $2.29 million in grants on Monday to help them build everything from a Stiltsville artist-in-residency program to a Homestead mariachi academy.

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Mexico Crisis
12:58 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

What's A Good Way To Overhaul Immigration? Overhaul Mexico

Pres. Obama addressing the nation on his executive order on immigration and in an undated photo of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Credit Day Donaldson and Edgar Alberto Domínguez Cataño / Flickr

Coincidence or communiqué?

When President Obama issued his executive order on immigration last week, including his decision to halt the deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants, some of his foes noted the date: Nov. 20.

Nov. 20 commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution 104 years ago. So Americans for Legal Immigration PAC wondered if the president purposely chose that day as a way of “comparing his new immigration orders to the violent Mexican revolution and civil war.”

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Mexico Crisis
5:38 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Mexico Crisis A "Last Call" For Rule Of Law Reforms, Says Nation's Miami Consul

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto
Credit Edgar Alberto Dominguez Cataño / Flickr

After weeks of angry protests in Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto will reportedly announce major changes to the country’s police and justice systems on Thursday. U.S. and Florida politicians are also worried about the Mexican crisis, as is the nation's representative in Miami. 

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Latin America Report
5:51 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

The 21st Century Sends Low-Tech Latin America A Warning: "Innovate Or Die!"

Brazilian engineering student Lara Nesralla conducts research at the University of Florida as part of her government's Science Without Borders program.
Credit University of Florida

One look at the Brazilian flag and you think: This must be a space-age, high-tech country. That star-spackled orb in the middle glowing like a planetarium. The banner wrapped around it hailing “Order and Progress.” Engineers must be rock stars there, right?

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Latino Voters
9:49 am
Tue November 25, 2014

How Barack Obama Took Latinos For Granted – And How It Cost Charlie Crist

A Spanish-language election-day sticker: "I voted."
Credit Elle Cayabyab Gitlin / Flickr

So you’re a Florida Democrat. You’re looking for a silver lining to the humiliating Sunshine Shellacking your party took in Tuesday’s midterm elections. 

There really isn't one. But there may be a pewter lining: Your gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Crist, lost to the Republican incumbent, Governor Rick Scott, by only a percentage point. What's more, Crist might have won if not for a dumb political move by President Obama that alienated Latino voters.

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Latin America
8:49 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

News Of A Kidnapping: Will Colombian Peace Talks Survive?

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos talking with WLRN's Tim Padgett in New York in September about peace talks with the FARC.
Credit Presidencia de Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recently told WLRN that his government’s peace talks with Marxist guerrillas were “at their most difficult moment.” After a kidnapping last weekend, we now know what Santos was talking about.

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Miami Book Fair International
5:55 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Richard Blanco's New Miami Memoir Explores 'Becoming' Cuban-American

Richard Blanco reading from a book of his poetry
Credit Joyce Tenneson / RichardBlanco.com

From the opening pages of poet Richard Blanco’s refreshing memoir, “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood,” it’s clear that you’re not wandering Calle Ocho in one of those nostalgic, Little Havana paradises that so many Cuban-American chronicles try to recreate.

Instead, you’re wandering a Winn Dixie in Westchester.

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Opinion
7:51 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

El Salvador's Jesuit Massacre: A Reminder Why Fewer Latin Americans Are Catholic?

Garden memorial to the six Jesuits murdered in El Salvador on November 16, 1989.
Credit Universidad de Centroamerica

This Sunday marks one of the sadder remembrances on both the Latin American and Roman Catholic calendars: The 25th anniversary of the brutal military massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during El Salvador’s civil war.

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Marijuana
10:53 am
Thu November 13, 2014

U.S. Adapting To New World Of Permissible Pot

William Brownfield speaking recently in Costa Rica.
Credit State Department

Last week, voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia became the latest to approve legalizing marijuana use. They join Colorado and Washington state.

That movement conflicts with federal law, which still says pot is illegal. And it poses a foreign policy challenge for Washington, since it complicates the message the United States conveys to other nations about the drug war. That's especially true in Latin America, where Uruguay this year became the first country to legalize pot.

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Cuban Migrants
5:52 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

More Cuban Doctors Than Ever Defecting From Venezuela To South Florida

A Cuban doctor gives a patient a vaccination at a clinic for the poor in Venezuela.
Credit United Nations / Flickr

How bad are things in Venezuela? Even doctors from Cuba – one of the hemisphere’s most economically deprived countries – want out of Hugo Chávez's revolution. And now we know just how many are defecting.

Communist Cuba sends tens of thousands of doctors and other medical personnel to Venezuela, its key South American ally. In return, Cuba gets oil at a deep discount. 

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Immigration
5:46 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Miami Archbishop, Immigrant Rights Leaders Urge Obama To Stop Deportations

Archbishop Thomas Wenski releases a dove in downtown Miami as part of an appeal to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Credit C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

South Florida is seeing a larger influx of undocumented immigrants, especially Central Americans fleeing violence in their home countries. As a result, Miami’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas Wenski joined leaders from the Florida Immigrant Coalition Thursday morning at the downtown Freedom Tower. 

He urged President Obama to keep his pledge and stop deporting law-abiding undocumented immigrants in this country – at least until Congress acts on immigration reform.

“To alleviate the sufferings of untold millions," Wenski said, "we call on the President to provide relief.”

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