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.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los j óvenes – 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...

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.

Univision

Before Wynwood was the heart of hipster Miami, it was a Puerto Rican enclave. So Puerto Rican community leaders and business owners recently gathered there at Jimmy'z Kitchen for a campaign fundraiser.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On Labor Day there was a good Puerto Rican party on Hollywood Beach – classic Willie Colón salsa music playing on the boom box – hosted by a South Florida group called Boricuas Realengos. Boricua means Puerto Rican, and so the group’s name translates to “Far-Flung Puerto Ricans.”

Haiti Again Faces 'Pure Devastation.' But Will Recovery Be Different This Time?

Oct 10, 2016
Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Some of Hurricane Matthew's most gut-wrenching stories are coming out of the coastal city of Jérémie on Haiti's southwest peninsula – the region hardest hit.

Courtsey National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians

Back in July, State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed the U.S. had “suspended its assistance toward completion of the presidential electoral process” in Haiti. Which means: Uncle Sam is not helping to pay for the presidential election being held in Haiti this coming Sunday. Nor will it help with the likely run-off election scheduled for January. Other international donors, like Canada, have also cut off election aid. Simply put, they’re fed up with Haiti’s political leaders. “All...

Secretaria de Seguridad Publica de Tamaulipas

In June, Mexican freelance reporter Zamira Esther Bautista was gunned down by a group of hit men at her home in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Her killing has yet to be solved; no one has been arrested. It was the most recent murder of a journalist in Mexico – the eighth there this year. Across Latin America, 23 journalists have been murdered. That’s a big reason media rights groups this month are urging the U.N. to create a special representative for journalists’ protection. “Journalists are under...

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Meet Jose Alvarez. Or as he’ll tell you when you’re introduced: “My name is Jose Alvarez, D.O.P.A.”

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

The Irish aren’t entirely strangers to Latin America and the Caribbean. Saint Patrick’s Battalion fought for Mexico in the 1800s. Irish tycoon Denis O’Brien owns Digicel, one of the Caribbean’s largest cell phone companies. But Ireland’s new government has set out a specific agenda for engaging Latin America that’s unusual for a European country outside Spain and Portugal. And Miami figures prominently in that strategy. Shane Stephens, Ireland’s consul general for the Southeast U.S., based in...

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

There was a lot of celebration – and not a little hype – last week when JetBlue took the first U.S. commercial flight into Cuba in more than 50 years. It was another big step in the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. But beneath all the airborne cheering is the grim reality that Cuba’s economic wings have been all but clipped.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Colombia’s protracted peace talks have put a serious dent in President Juan Manuel Santos’ approval rating at home – and across the Caribbean. Santos is probably most unpopular in South Florida, home to the U.S.’s largest Colombian community, which is strongly opposed to peace with Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, known as the FARC . In a 2014 interview with WLRN , Santos – who has staked his presidential legacy on ending his South American nation’s 52-year-old civil war – took a dig at...

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The forklift’s working overtime at Vikom Export, one of the hundreds of shipping companies nestled in the warehouse labyrinths of Doral, just west of Miami. Almost all of Vikom’s shipments go to Venezuela – and they’ve doubled since last year.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

At a Brazilian restaurant in Doral called Brazuca’s, Danilo Leão is whipping up his most popular dish, feijoada. Pronounced fay-ZHWAH-dah , it's a heavenly stew of black beans, meats and spices created centuries ago by Brazilian slaves.

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