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

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes to tweet verses from the Book of Proverbs, an Old Testament favorite among conservatives that says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

You could paraphrase that to describe the Republican Senator’s diplomatic philosophy: “Fear of America is the beginning of foreign policy.”

Rubio clings to the Cold War belief that the U.S. can and should make every geopolitical rogue from Cuba to North Korea cry uncle. So does President Trump.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN.org

More than 100,000 Venezuelan expats came out to vote in South Florida Sunday in a hastily arranged election that officially means nothing - but which could end up meaning a lot if the international community is paying attention.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On Sunday, Venezuelans and Venezuelan expats will hold a vote that’s expected to send a strong message to President Nicolás Maduro: Don’t rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. In South Florida, the campaigning got under way on Thursday with a conference of Venezuelan voices in Coral Gables.

Twitter via El Nuevo Herald

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López was released from prison over the weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that Venezuela’s unpopular socialist government remains firmly in power – thanks largely to the loyalty of Venezuela’s military leaders. Many of those top brass are accused of having links to drug trafficking – and they fear that if President Nicolás Maduro is overthrown, they’ll have to face justice.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Venezuela’s political violence took an ugly turn Wednesday – the country’s independence day. Pro-government militants stormed the National Assembly and beat opposition lawmakers. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s rebel helicopter cop has reappeared.

Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami appeared inside the National Assembly and urged supporters of President Nicolás Maduro to come to the chamber. Shortly after, government street enforcers known as colectivos burst into the congress and injured more than a dozen people.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Note: This story was first broadcasted on Jan. 16, 2017. 

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COMMENTARY

Since the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution came to power in 1999, its opponents have made more missteps than hacks like me can count. 

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Venezuela’s chaos turned bizarre Tuesday evening when a rogue police officer flew a helicopter over the Caracas presidential palace and later urged Venezuelans to rise up against their government. The cop has done this sort of thing before – on the big screen.

Oscar Pérez is an officer in Venezuela’s investigative police force. But now it seems he’s an insurrectionist.

Fernando Vergara / AP

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos went to a small town south of Bogotá Tuesday to mark a major milestone in the country’s peace process – but now the hard part begins in Colombia.

In the central Colombian town of Mesetas, Santos joined leaders of the Marxist guerrilla army known as the FARC. Along with representatives from the U.N., they declared the historic completion of the FARC’s disarmament — including the delivery of more than 7,000 weapons now padlocked away.

Franklin Gutierrez / St Vincent de Paul

Greilys arrived in South Florida two months ago from Los Teques, Venezuela, south of Caracas, with “a few dollars and four suitcases” – hounded out of her job and her country, she says, by an increasingly brutal socialist regime.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

President Trump’s Cuba speech in Miami last Friday offered chest-thumping, cold-war nostalgia sound-bites like:

“Now we hold the cards.”

“We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement.”

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

President Trump brought a fiery taste of the Cold War back to Miami today when he announced his new Cuba policy. But is his Cuba crackdown likely to leverage the democratic changes he promised?

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Central American leaders and U.S. Cabinet members are in Miami to figure out how to curtail illegal immigration from Central America. But the big question is whether President Trump is behind the effort to help the beleaguered region.

Central America is a major source of two problems that greatly affect and divide the U.S. – drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Which is why the U.S. and Mexico are hosting a major conference here this week on rebuilding Central American prosperity and security.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

President Trump will be in Miami Friday to unveil his new Cuba policy, which will reverse some of his predecessor’s normalization measures. The main targets are Cuba’s military – and wannabe American tourists.

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