Tim Padgett

Americas editor

Tim Padgett is WLRN 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

Almost eight years after an earthquake destroyed their country – and prompted the U.S. to let them stay in this country protected from deportation – more than 50,000 Haitians were told on Monday they will soon lose that benefit.

Zach Gibson / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In 2012, conservative Florida Senator Marco Rubio made one of the strongest pitches for the DREAM Act I’ve ever heard.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has been sitting on Capitol Hill in one form or another since the turn of the century, would grant legal status to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Rubio, a Cuban-American, said helping those so-called Dreamer immigrants was a “humanitarian mission.”

The Acoustic Attacks and Science / Gobierno de Cuba

We still don’t know what or who caused the alleged sonic attacks that injured U.S. diplomats in Havana. Which is why Cuba put its own scientists online this week to debunk the claims.

Some two dozen personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana say they were victims of acoustic attacks. The high-pitched sonic blasts started last year and caused hearing loss and other illnesses.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Venezuela is in economic ruin, which is why so many Venezuelans have fled to South Florida. Still, Venezuela keeps making payments on its massive foreign debt. But debt ratings agencies are suddenly using the “d” word. As in  default. But what does that really mean?

Thanks to reckless government mismanagement and falling oil prices, Venezuela is running out of money. It has less than $10 billion in foreign reserves left – yet it’s staring at almost $10 billion in foreign debt payments due over the next year.

Juan Luis Martinez / AP

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is still struggling to restore power, water and other basic needs. Things only got more muddled on Friday with the sudden resignation of the island’s emergency management director.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When right-wing military tyrant Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile in the 1970s and 80s, a then-democratic Venezuela gave refuge to Chilean opposition exiles who'd been targeted for prison or “disappearance” under his brutal dictatorship.

Airbnb

Last June, President Donald Trump pledged to make it harder for Americans to visit Cuba and do business with the communist island. On Wednesday his administration released its new Cuba regulations – and ironically, private Cuban entrepreneurs may get hit worst.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

Driving through Puerto Rico last week, my attention was often focused on the hurricane destruction all around me. And that was really stupid – because if you’re not entirely focused on the road in Puerto Rico, you’ll hit one of the island’s countless, craterous and calamitous potholes.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

TOA BAJA – Heavy rains fell last week in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, a town west of San Juan. The sound of the downpour took 68-year-old Carmen Rivera back to September 20 – the day Hurricane Maria roared into Puerto Rico and destroyed her home.

Associated Press

GUAYAMA, PUERTO RICO —  Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló visited President Trump at the White House on Thursday to discuss the U.S. island territory’s hurricane catastrophe. The President gave himself a perfect score on Puerto Rico relief. Puerto Ricans on the island … beg to differ.

A full month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 80 percent of its 3.4 million people still have no power. And relief supplies are only now starting to move more regularly into the island’s demolished interior. Still, President Trump gave his performance there a perfect 10.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

RIO PIEDRAS – Puerto Rico’s government says power should be fully restored to the island by mid-December. But that’s three months after Hurricane Maria demolished the U.S. territory. And some fear that Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable people can’t wait that long.

Government of Dominica

Since Hurricane Maria crashed through the Caribbean last month, most of the attention has focused on Puerto Rico. But smaller nearby islands were even harder hit. Especially Dominica. It was the first to feel Maria’s Category 5, 160-mph winds. They demolished the country, leaving 27 dead, 50 still missing – and the population of 71,000 still with little access to food, water and power.

Government of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN – Like many in Congress, Florida Senator Bill Nelson had been frustrated by not being able to see Puerto Rico’s hurricane destruction first hand. So Sunday he took a commercial flight to the U.S. island territory – and voiced some criticism of U.S. relief efforts.

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