Latin America Report

Tim Padgett

Brazilian investors buy Miami real estate. Haitian earthquake survivors attend South Florida schools. It's clear what happens in Latin America and the Caribbean has a profound effect on South Florida.

WLRN’s coverage of the region is headed by Americas editor Tim Padgett, a 23-year veteran of TIME and Newsweek magazines.

He joins a team of reporters and editors at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and NPR to cover a region whose cultural wealth, environmental complexity, vast agricultural output and massive oil reserves offer no shortage of important and fascinating stories to tell.

U.S Marshal

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega remains unconscious in a Panama hospital after brain tumor surgery. Doctors say his prognosis is not good.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org


YouTube (left); Tim Padgett(right) / WLRN.org

For some of his countrymen, Venezuelan cross-country skier Adrián Solano’s performance in Finland last week was uplifting – even though it involved a lot of falling down. To others it was mucha pena. Really embarrassing.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

It’s Valentine's Day. And once again, Latin America is front and center: Colombian roses. Venezuelan chocolate. Argentine tango.

But here’s another Latin love link guys like Erik Calviño want you to consider: Caribbean cigars.

Tornasol Films/Netflix

Veteran actor Jorge Perugorría was a smart choice to play detective Mario Conde – if only because Perugorría is 51 years old.

AP via Miami Herald

Most civil rights experts will tell you this: Before Martin Luther King Jr., before Malcolm X, before Nelson Mandela – there was Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born black empowerment leader who died in 1940.

“Marcus Garvey was before his time," says Niyala Harrison, a Jamaican-American attorney in Miami and president-elect of the Miami-based Caribbean Bar Association.

“He was speaking about things that had never been spoken about before when we’re talking about self-determination and the advancement of black and colored people.”

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When Donald Trump becomes President on Friday, what we’ll be asking in South Florida is: Will he cancel normalized relations with Cuba? And will he still let Americans travel there?

But here's another question: If Trump does allow Americans to visit Cuba, will they reconsider how they visit the island? Will they think about something Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco told me a couple years ago:

Courtesy Christina Frohock

Among its demands for normalized relations, Cuba wants the U.S. to leave its naval station at Guantánamo Bay on the island’s southeastern tip. But the lease Cuba signed more than a century ago lets the U.S. stay there forever if it wants to.

Virtual Reality Takes You To Cuban Raves

Dec 26, 2016
Courtesy of Joyce Lanxin Zhao

Fifer Garbesi is creating a virtual Cuban rave.

She’s making a virtual reality film about the Cuban electronic music scene which so impressed her when she studied filmmaking on the island in the Spring of 2015, because she thinks there’s something special about electronic music concerts in Cuba.

 

Desmond Boylan (left), Charles Tasnadi (right) / AP via Miami Herald

2016 was a year of historic highs and lows for Latin America and the Caribbean. A U.S. president visited Cuba – for the first time in 78 years. A Brazilian president was impeached. A Colombian president won the Nobel Peace Prize. And Haiti finally elected a president.

WLRN’s Tim Padgett sat down with Miami Herald deputy editorial page editor and veteran Latin America correspondent Juan Vasquez – who is retiring this week after an outstanding career of more than 50 years – to look back on the region’s top stories.

YouTube/Empty Head Games

HAVANA – At a relative’s house in Miami's Coconut Grove, Cuban artist Josuhe Pagliery is showing me something on his laptop that looks what he calls "super cool." (That's the English translation. I can't print the Spanish expression.)

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los jóvenes – young people. But it couldn’t hide the fact that communist Cuba is still run by much older people. Like Raúl, who’s 85.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - When the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in more than half a century touched down in Santa Clara in August, the JetBlue plane from Fort Lauderdale was met with cheers and water-cannon salutes.

When the first commercial flight between Miami and Havana in more than half a century landed at José Martí International Airport Monday morning, the American Airlines 737 taxied quietly to the terminal and unloaded 125 passengers wearing complimentary straw fedoras.

No confetti. No music. And it felt remarkably fitting.

Luis Choy / Special to the Miami Herald

Next month marks the second anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba – and things couldn’t look more uncertain. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to cancel normalization unless Cuba delivers more democratic reform. But even before Trump’s election, Cuba seemed to be closing rather than opening the door to U.S. business.

Robin Thom / Insight Cuba

Last month they ran the Key Biscayne Half Marathon – with a big new prize.

“They said, 'You’re gonna go to Cuba,'" says Elliott Mason, who won the race and gets a paid trip to run in the Havana Marathon this Sunday. “I had no idea that Havana had a marathon.”

But like a growing number of U.S. runners, now that he knows, he wants to get to the starting line.

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