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

Carl Juste / IrisPhoto Collective

Former Haitian President Michel Martelly has returned to his pre-political life as pop singer “Sweet Micky.” He's performing at Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines tonight and at Miami's Bayfront Park on Saturday.

But last night he had a literary gig: presenting his just published memoir, "Michel Martelly Autobiographie," at Miami-Dade College in a Haitian Flag Day event sponsored by the Miami Book Fair.

Courtesy Family of Parker Amet

COMMENTARY

The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was last week’s biggest Latin American story, but maybe not the most important.

Personally, I think the weightier news was three scientific studies that conclude that the Zika virus does indeed cause fetal microcephaly – the heartbreaking condition that leaves newborns with reduced head and brain size.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

A recent poll shows presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are neck-and-neck in Florida. As a result, one voter bloc will likely be key to winning the state – and, since this is Florida, maybe the election.

Last week’s Quinnipiac University survey shows presumptive Democratic candidate Clinton leading de facto Republican nominee Trump in Florida by just one percentage point – 43 to 42.

Alex Silva / AP via Miami Herald

Last week Brazil’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to impeach and suspend the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff. She now faces a long trial on charges of illegally using state bank funds to cover up big budget deficits.

Rousseff is caught up in an angry public revolt against Brazil's epic corruption, including a $3 billion scandal at the state oil firm Petrobras. But she calls her impeachment a hypocritical "coup" – pointing to the fact that more than half the members of the Brazilian congressional committee that recommended her ouster face corruption charges too.

Florida International University

President Obama’s National Security Advisor – Ambassador Susan Rice – came to Miami Wednesday.

And she was recruiting.

WhiteHouse.gov

A large majority of Miami-Dade voters agree with President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. But Miami-Dade Cubans are still divided – even if they applaud the President’s recent performance in Havana.

Those are some of the findings of a survey conducted by WLRN, Bendixen and Amandi, the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Univisión 23.

Diane Guerrero / Twitter

Diane Guerrero is best known as prison inmate Maritza Ramos in the acclaimed Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” Or as Lina in the CW series “Jane the Virgin,” set in Miami.

But Guerrero plays another, arguably more important role nowadays: celebrity immigration-reform spokesperson.

And for good reason. In 2001, when she was 14 years old, Guerrero came home from school one day to find her parents had disappeared. Her mother and father were undocumented immigrants from Colombia – and that day they had been deported.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians / Via Instagram

This week Chanel brought its haute couture fashion show to Havana. But if you think the whole Cuba chic trend has become a bit too much, a prominent Miami politician has the quote of the week for you.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

As the waters of the Florida Straits warm up again, a new surge of Cuban rafters is landing in Florida. Sixty arrived in Key West in just the past week, in large part to escape the island’s moribund economy.

But Cubans aren’t the only panicked wave hitting our peninsula. Florida’s Puerto Rican population now tops 1 million, more than double the number in 2000. And they keep coming, thanks to a massive economic crisis in Puerto Rico that forced the government to default on a big chunk of a $422 million debt payment that was due Monday.

The past year’s been a good one for Miami’s gay community – including gay Latinos. In January they held their first LGBT pride event, the GayOcho! Festival, held on one of the city’s most famous streets, Calle Ocho.

It was a big moment for gay Latinos, who hail from a socially conservative culture that can be tough on homosexuality. And it was especially meaningful for the hundreds if not thousands of gay men and lesbians who’ve come here to escape often violent harassment in Latin America.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

After weeks of controversy – and a surprising change by Cuban President Raúl Castro – the first U.S. cruise ship in more than 50 years set sail for Cuba on Sunday.

But this was a historic maiden voyage that almost never left port. That’s because the Miami-based Carnival cruise line became the target of protests last month by Cuban-Americans, who were angry about a Cuban rule that barred anyone born in Cuba from entering the island by sea.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Since the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations, we’ve seen a lot of dialogue between government officials and business executives. But what about artists?

Fifteen artists from Cuba are in Miami this week as part of a new exchange project called Dialogues in Cuban Art.

It’s organized by the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and Miami art curator Elizabeth Cerejido - and it’s brought Cuban and Cuban-American artists together to share not just styles but also ideas about the role art can play in this new era of U.S.-Cuba relations.

Memegen

COMMENTARY

Venezuela’s economic disintegration has wrought severe shortages. Food, medicine, electricity. And now – ¡cónchale, chamo! – even Polar beer.

But there might be one scarcity above all others keeping President Nicolás Maduro awake and sweaty at night.

It’s a shortage of scapegoats. Especially U.S. scapegoats.

As of today, Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church has a new leader – a changing of the clerical guard that matters more on the communist island than it did in years past.

The departing Havana Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, is 79 and has wanted to retire for a few years now. But the Vatican needed to retain his diplomatic skills. Ortega helped broker the recent normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Jessel Recinos grew up on some of Honduras’ poorest and deadliest streets – and the country's ubiquitous gang violence nearly ended his life when he was still a kid.

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