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

Associated Press

Miami’s Janet Reno,  the first woman to be United States attorney general, died Monday at 78 from complications connected to Parkinson’s disease.

Her eight-year tenure in that office brought some of the country's most high-profile issues to her desk including the seizure and return of Elián González to Cuba, the capture of the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and the 51-day Waco siege standoff in which 76 people died.

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

When the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations two years ago, hope sprang eternal that Americans could now do business on the island. But we got another reminder this week that it may also require eternal patience.

Last February, President Obama approved plans by an Alabama enterprise to build the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than half a century.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Early Wednesday, another Palm Beach County mosque was vandalized. It’s just the latest anti-Muslim hate crime to hit Florida – and South Florida. But perpetrators now face more serious punishment.

Surveillance video shows someone spray-painting hate profanity – "F--- Islam," among others – on signs outside the Al Amin Islamic Center in Boynton Beach shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Esteban Felix / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I understand why Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is outraged at Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

Ortega’s a strongman, autocrat, caudillo, whatever authoritarian label you want to give a guy who’s mugged Nicaragua’s democracy and turned much of the impoverished Central American country into his fiefdom.

Univision

Before Wynwood was the heart of hipster Miami, it was a Puerto Rican enclave. So Puerto Rican community leaders and business owners recently gathered there at Jimmy'z Kitchen for a campaign fundraiser.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

It has been more than two months since the Zika virus was found in Miami-Dade County and almost three-fourths of voters surveyed in a new WLRN-Univision 23 poll are satisfied with the response by county government.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

Last December – when Venezuela’s opposition demolished the ruling socialists in parliamentary elections – a lot of folks got ready for an Andean Spring.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On Labor Day there was a good Puerto Rican party on Hollywood Beach – classic Willie Colón salsa music playing on the boom box – hosted by a South Florida group called Boricuas Realengos.

Boricua means Puerto Rican, and so the group’s name translates to “Far-Flung Puerto Ricans.”

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Some of Hurricane Matthew's most gut-wrenching stories are coming out of the coastal city of Jérémie on Haiti's southwest peninsula – the region hardest hit.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

The post-hurricane news out of Haiti took a more tragic turn Thursday – as the government announced a death toll far higher than expected. As communication is regained with Haiti’s southwest, the awful reality is more apparent.

After Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti’s rural southern peninsula on Tuesday, the country initially reported five fatalities. But that was largely because transportation to the hardest hit areas was cut off by a major bridge wash-out.

National Hurricane Center

Haiti got hit hard by Hurricane Matthew yesterday. But next door to Florida, the Bahamas could get bruised just as badly tonight - especially since this is the worst storm the Bahamas’ main island has faced in 87 years.

Dieu Naleio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

The news from Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew is certainly bad – especially on Haiti’s southwest peninsula. But it's perhaps not all as bad as it could have been for the rest of the western hemisphere's poorest country.

Matthew pounded southwest Haiti on Tuesday with winds of 145 miles per hour and more than 20 inches of rain. At least five deaths have been reported there - and low-lying cities like Les Cayes suffered catastrophic flooding that’s forced 15,000 people from their homes.

Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Hurricane Matthew is making its way through the Caribbean packing Category-4 winds of more than 150 miles per hour and dropping up to 40 inches of rain. Haiti is in its path - and.that’s the country that can least absorb the damage.

Courtsey National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians

Back in July, State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed the U.S. had “suspended its assistance toward completion of the presidential electoral process” in Haiti.

Which means: Uncle Sam is not helping to pay for the presidential election being held in Haiti this coming Sunday. Nor will it help with the likely run-off election scheduled for January.

Other international donors, like Canada, have also cut off election aid. Simply put, they’re fed up with Haiti’s political leaders.

Ricardo Mazalan / AP

COMMENTARY

I won’t deny it – the leftist guerrillas who signed peace with the Colombian government this week are more Mafia than Marx.

In 1998 I spent almost a week in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province with those rebels, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC. Back then the FARC was Caquetá’s de facto government, controlling territory the size of Switzerland. Photographer Keith Dannemiller and I boated up and down the sweltering Caguán River talking with guerrillas and hearing why they’d joined up.

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