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. 

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Americas
7:00 am
Fri September 6, 2013

How Venezuela's Maduro Mess Keeps Getting Worse

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (right) next to an image of the late Hugo Chavez.
Credit aim.org

I’m becoming more certain that leftist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro keeps a Ouija board on his desk at Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Why Jamaica's Falling Crime Rate Can't Last Without Rising Employment

Kingston gang members being rounded up by Jamaican police.
Credit newxcorp.com

In May of 2010, the streets of Kingston, Jamaica erupted in fierce gun battles between security forces and followers of drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke. It took most of us in the international media by surprise -- and many of us were also at a loss to explain what had sparked such an epic showdown, which would leave more than 70 people dead.

To help me understand the upheaval, which revolved around efforts to extradite Coke to the United States, I turned to respected Jamaican-American legal scholar David Rowe.

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Americas
7:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Why We Can't Blame Cuba For Our Doctor Shortages

Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha (right) welcomes Cuban doctors in the capital Brasília.
Credit Cadenagramonte

Millions of angry Brazilians have taken to the streets this summer to demonstrate against their government and political class. And right now we’re seeing a vivid example of why: the controversy over Brazil’s recruitment of 4,000 Cuban doctors to work in its remote regions.

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Americas
7:23 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Why The Alarm Is Going Off About Students Learning English As A Second Language

Full disclosure: My wife is a bilingual teacher and my children grew up speaking English and Spanish. But you don’t need those factors in your life to have a vested interest in how well the school program commonly known as ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages – is faring in this country, state and community.

Latinos are now the largest minority in the US. Florida’s population growth today is driven largely by Latinos. And Latinos make up almost two-thirds of Miami-Dade County’s residents.

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Biographer Shoer Roth On 'The Spiritual Father' Of Miami’s Cuban Exiles

Daniel Shoer Roth (right) with Alicia Castroverde Aixala of the Bacardi Family Foundation (left) and the Rev. Juan Rumin Dominguez, current rector of the Our Lady of Charity shrine, with a photo of Román behind them.
Credit Catholic Archdiocese of Miami

A month before he died last year at the age of 83, Augustín Román was honored by the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews for his interfaith work as a Roman Catholic bishop. So the fact that a Jewish author will pen Román’s authorized biography  isn’t just fitting -- it is itself a reassuringly Miami narrative.

During the final months of his life, Román designated El Nuevo Herald religion writer Daniel Shoer Roth, a Venezuelan Jew, to tell his life story.

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Americas
8:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Why FIU's Frank Mora Worries As Much About Brazil, Venezuela As Cuba

Frank Mora, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere, speaking at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Besides the horrific carnage inside Port-au-Prince, one of my most vivid memories of the 2010 Haiti earthquake is military helicopters idling out in Port-au-Prince Bay.

From the bridge of the Navy aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, I watched H-53 and Seahawk choppers waiting for rescue and relief supplies that seemed agonizingly slow in arriving from U.S. and other foreign aid sources. International coordination, in fact, felt as wanting in those first few post-quake days as the food and medicine.

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Opinion
12:55 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Marijuana Legalization: Why U.S. Latinos Are Not Latin Americans

Credit NPR/ Flickr

One irony of last week’s vote in Uruguay’s House of Representatives to legalize marijuana is that almost two-thirds of Uruguayans themselves oppose the measure, according to some polls.

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Americas
8:00 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Why This Summer Offers Hope For Better U.S.-Cuba Relations

Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez speaking to State Department officials during her visit to the U.S. earlier this year, after Cuban leader Raúl Castro began allowing Cubans to travel abroad.
Credit U.S. State Department

 

Like a lot of idealistic U.S. presidents, Barack Obama took office in 2009 hoping to establish better dialogue with communist Cuba. Remember his plan to “pursue direct diplomacy” with Havana? Then he quickly discovered what most U.S. presidents find out:

First, communist Cuba really doesn’t want improved dialogue with Washington, since conflict with the U.S. offers more political payoff on the island. Hence Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s 2009 Christmas gift to Obama: the arrest of U.S. aid subcontractor Alan Gross on dubious espionage charges.

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Americas
3:56 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Florida Is Out Of Step With The Rest Of The Hemisphere On Marijuana

Credit reason.com

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday signed a “bong ban” bill that outlaws the sale of pipes and other marijuana-smoking paraphernalia.

We’re used to Scott being out of step with his state: in this case, a recent poll shows 70 percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana legalization. And with his country: most Americans now back marijuana legalization. And maybe with his hemisphere: Latin American and Caribbean government representatives gathered this week primarily to urge the Obama Administration to consider making pot legal.

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Americas
11:27 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Immigration Debate Marks Rising Clout Of Young Latinos

Jose Machado reacting last year to President Obama's decree halting the deportation of young undocumented immigrants (aka "DREAMers") like himself who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Credit Roberto Koltun/The Miami Herald

Jose Antonio Machado was brought to Miami as an undocumented immigrant from Matagalpa, Nicaragua, when he was six years old. He grew up here with his mother, Melba, also an indocumentada, until she was deported two years ago after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

“I expected her home at 11:15 p.m. that night,” says Machado, now an 18-year-old who graduated this month from Miami Senior High School. “Eventually I fell asleep. The next morning I realized she wasn’t there.”

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

How 1993 Hunger Strikes Prepare Florida For A Possible Haitian Exodus Today

Many Haitian refugees took to rickety boats to escape their military regime's violence.
Credit Holly Ackerman/blog.gitmomemory.org

  The rise in the number of Haitians being detained at sea, at airports and at border crossings this year has the international community scratching as well as turning its head. More than 70 picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard in the waters off Puerto Rico; 33 by authorities off Jamaica; almost 3,500 in or off the Dominican Republic; 65 as far away as Peru.

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Americas
6:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Why Swimming The Florida Strait Has Become A Metaphor For U.S. Relations With Cuba

Chloe McCardel
Credit facebook.com/ChloeMcCardel

The strait doesn’t wanna be swum.

Last week, for the fifth time in two years, a swimmer’s attempt to become the first human to cross the Florida Strait between Havana and Key West without a shark cage was thwarted.

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Americas
11:41 am
Tue June 11, 2013

How Venezuelans in South Florida Are Shopping For Toilet Paper In Caracas

A woman in Venezuela stocks up on toilet paper and other necessities.
Credit El Mundo/Flickr

Last week a Venezuelan-American friend in New York sent me an e-mail raving about a new, free mobile phone app called Abastéceme. Its most important use: locating toilet paper. Well, that and about two dozen other basic everyday items, from rice to deodorant, which are in chronically short supply these days in Venezuela.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

How The Most Violent Places On Earth Benefit Miami

South Florida has benefited from the combination of Latin America's financial wealth and its criminal scourge as immigrants transfer new wealth to the United States.
Credit seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of stark paradoxes, and that has never been truer than in the past decade: Even as the continent enjoys one of its most dynamic economic booms, it’s suffering one of the worst violent crime crises in its history.

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Americas
8:24 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Hollywood Readies Story Of Trapped Chilean Miners

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (third from right) watches as the rescue capsule descends during a test run on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
Credit Government of Chile

You could call it Latin America’s Apollo 13 moment. In October 2010, 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet below Chile’s Atacama Desert for 70 days were rescued one by one in a small steel capsule. I’ll never forget being there to witness that operation, which was watched on television by more than a billion people around the world.

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