Americas

John Power / WLRN

The rhythms of  the Spanish language have contributed a lot to the sound of South Florida, where more than two million people speak the language. Immigrants from Colombia to Cuba to Venezuela have made vale and dale part of the region’s everyday talk.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

On Wednesday, Cuba may have a new president, elected by the National Assembly. (The election session had been scheduled to start Thursday, but the government moved it up a day.)

“Election” is a relative term here – Cuba is a communist state – but something does set it apart.

President Trump was scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru, this weekend for the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere. But the White House announced Tuesday that Trump would remain in the U.S. to oversee the American response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Vice President Pence will attend the summit in Trump's place. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump are also attending a gathering of CEOs held in conjunction with the summit.

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Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned as president of Peru in March because of a corruption scandal – just a month before he was supposed to host the Summit of the Americas this week in Lima. But here’s the kicker: This time the theme of that gathering of the hemisphere’s heads of state is ... corruption.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

At a warehouse near Miami International Airport, Adelys Ferro is unpacking boxes and making a checklist of donated medicines for Venezuelans.

U.S. Attorney Southern District of Florida

The Bay of Pigs is one of the darkest episodes of Cuban-American history. But that failed 1961 attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro had another dark result. Some of its resentful veterans came back to the U.S. to form a violent Cuban-American mafia called The Corporation.

Jose Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

Two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, ravaged the Caribbean within two weeks of each other last September. Afterward, the world's attention fell largely on the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico. But just as badly hit was the American territory next door: the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.

Fernando Llano / AP

Every day thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country to escape the worst economic collapse in the world today. Many have come to South Florida. Venezuela’s GDP is sinking so deep, and its hyperinflation is rising so fast, it’s hard to keep track of exchange rates, food prices, minimum wages, foreign reserves and other critical economic indicators. And the authoritarian socialist regime is trying to keep a lot of that embarrassing data hidden.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

South Florida has petal power. Just about all the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami, where they're the No. 1 import.

Courtsey Diana Caballero

Sometimes an accent can render a language sexy. Even elegant.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last week the renowned Key West Literary Seminar held its 36th annual gathering – and the theme of this year’s four-day event was “Writers of the Caribbean.” Thanks to President Trump, it turned out the organizers could not have picked a timelier subject.

Fernando Antonio / AP via Miami Herald

While the world has been focused on ant-government protests in Iran, deadly demonstrations are also raging much closer to South Florida – in Honduras.

More than 30 people have been killed during unrest there since the presidential election in late November – which many are calling fraudulent. Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández was declared the winner, but serious irregularities have caused his opponents to call for a month of uprising to prevent him from being sworn in on Jan. 27.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Rising dictatorship in Venezuela. Wrenching disaster in Puerto Rico. 2017 was not an especially pleasant year in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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