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

Marco Ugarte / AP

COMMENTARY

Once again, Donald Trump’s got it all wrong.

Mexican immigrants aren’t the problem. Mexican officials are.

Especially all the Mexican officials who live deep inside the pockets of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the world’s richest and most wanted drug kingpin. Thanks to them, El Chapo, or “Shorty,” was able to waltz out of Mexico’s most secure penitentiary through a mile-long escape tunnel that’s already being called one of the country’s engineering marvels.

RenewableEnergyWorld.com

Now that Venezuela can no longer afford to subsidize cheap oil for Caribbean countries, the U.S. wants to step into the region’s fuel future, and the State Department’s point man was in Coral Gables Wednesday to promote that effort.

The poor and indebted island nations of the Caribbean rely heavily – too heavily – on expensive fossil fuel imports. Over the past decade, oil-rich Venezuela has helped them out with its Petrocaribe program. But with Venezuela’s economy now in ruins, the Caribbean desperately needs alternatives.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Is the Dominican Republic’s controversial plan to deport hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent on hold? 

Almost half a million people living in the Dominican Republic have Haitian ancestry. But the Dominican Supreme Court has ruled that anyone born in the D.R. after 1929 will have their citizenship revoked if their parents were not Dominican. That has set the stage this summer for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans.

COMMENTARY

It’s one of those photos that cries out for a thought bubble.

During Pope Francis’ visit to Bolivia yesterday – the second stop on the Pope’s three-country tour of South America this week – left-wing President Evo Morales offered him an unusual crucifix that depicts Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle. That is, Jesus laid out on the international symbol for communism.

Francis reportedly muttered to Morales, "Eso no está bien." Translation: We are not amused.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP

COMMENTARY

Yes, yes, Cuba is big news. President Obama’s Wednesday announcement that the U.S. will open an embassy in Havana was historic stuff.

And yet – I can’t shake the feeling that the more important story out of the Caribbean this week is Puerto Rico’s financial collapse.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the U.S. has agreed to formally restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed 54 years ago.

It is the first major piece of the plan Obama laid out on December 17 to normalize ties with the communist island.

The U.S. and Cuba have also reached an agreement to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to be in Cuba to open the U.S. embassy.

Courtesy NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

The photographs we see from Haiti usually evoke misery – especially after the country’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake. But anyone who has been to Haiti, of course, knows that’s hardly the whole picture.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP

As WLRN has reported this year, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico is staggering under $73 billion in debt. The Caribbean island’s governor is giving a speech this afternoon to announce it’s unpayable. And that could have a significant economic impact here in South Florida.

Jeff Bottari / AP

Opinion

Like most attention-craving clowns, Donald Trump has to turn up his asinine rhetoric on a regular basis.

Last week, while announcing his presidential run, he hurled uber-asinine insults at Mexico – calling migrants from our southern neighbor “drug dealers, rapists and murderers.”

Normally, I’d condemn the Comb-Over King for that kind of anti-Latino bigotry. And a big part of me still most vehemently does.

Here's what you heard today on WLRN:

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