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 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.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I don’t usually feel sorry for Central American heads of state. Too many of them, right-wing or left-wing, have done their damnedest to perpetuate the image of the corrupt, tin-pot strongman.

Presidencia de Honduras

Illegal immigration from Central America remains a big U.S. concern - enough so that a conference begins in Miami Thursday at which Central American leaders and U.S. cabinet members will try to hash out how to pull the region out of its violent and impoverished tail spin.

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Ricans want to become America’s 51st state. But right now it's doubtful America – at least President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress – feels the same way.

In a non-binding referendum on Sunday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 97 percent of those who voted chose statehood over the two other options: remaining a U.S. territory or becoming an independent country.

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Rico held a referendum Sunday on whether to remain a U.S. commonwealth, be independent – or become the 51st U.S. state. Those Puerto Ricans who voted gave statehood a big victory, but it’s not as big a win as it first looks, largely because turnout was far lower than anticipated.

More than 97 percent of Puerto Ricans who cast ballots in the non-binding plebiscite chose statehood. Now they take the issue to the U.S. Congress, which has the final say on whether U.S. territories like Puerto Rico become states.

Lisette Poole / Airbnb

In Miami-Dade County, Airbnb has become a big business and political controversy. But across the Florida Straits in Cuba, there are few complaints about the online lodging service.

In fact, Airbnb is urging the Trump Administration not to roll back normalized relations with Cuba. And it’s stepping into Cuba politics because it’s doing so well in Cuba business. This week Airbnb reports that Cubans have netted $40 million the past two years by using the online service to rent their homes and rooms to short-term visitors.

Cliff Owen / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While South Florida breathlessly awaits President Trump’s decision on whether to roll back his predecessor’s normalization of relations with Cuba, something else is happening in Washington that could nudge normalization forward – or severely set it back.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Today there’s rarely if ever good economic news from Venezuela. But the country’s already collapsing economy may be closer to outright crashing. And that has serious repercussions for South Florida.

Italian tire maker Pirelli announced Tuesday it’s suspending operations in Venezuela. United Airlines this week stopped service to Venezuela. General Motors said last month it’s leaving Venezuela. The reason: Venezuela is suffering the world’s worst economic implosion.

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