Americas

Ricardo Mazalan / AP

I won’t deny it – the leftist guerrillas who signed peace with the Colombian government this week are more Mafia than Marx.

In 1998 I spent almost a week in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province with those rebels, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC. Back then the FARC was Caquetá’s de facto government, controlling territory the size of Switzerland. Photographer Keith Dannemiller and I boated up and down the sweltering Caguán River talking with guerrillas and hearing why they’d joined up.

The Americas Are Now Officially 'Measles-Free'

Sep 28, 2016

The Americas are now free of measles, the first region in the world to achieve that goal, the Pan American Health Organization announced this week. The success is credited to the effectiveness of mass vaccination programs over the past 22 years.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Fresh off his first debate with Hillary Clinton last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came straight to Miami today to meet with Latino voters – and found he still struggles to engage a voter bloc he’ll need more of if he wants to win the battleground state of Florida.

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.

Carlos Giusti / AP

Puerto Rico is suffering one of the worst economic crises in the western hemisphere. Adding to the U.S. territory’s problems right now is a massive, island-wide blackout - which gives Puerto Ricans one more reason to come to Florida.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Politics makes desperate bedfellows.

So it's not such a big surprise that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, also a Republican, appear to have finally slipped under the same campaign sheets.

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 Atlanta, spoke with WLRN’s Tom Hudson during a recent visit to Miami.

Nelson Antoine / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If you needed another reminder that the new Brazil is really just the old Brazil, here’s some handy news:

Yet another epic public fraud scheme has emerged this week – a $2.5 billion scandal involving the pension funds of Brazil’s largest state-run companies.

This latest financial atrocity adds one more fetid float to Brazil’s long samba parade of corruption – including the $3 billion bribery horror at the state-run Petrobras oil firm.

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. 

Marco Ugarte / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Why in the name of Moctezuma did Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto invite Republican presidential nominee – and sophomoric Mexico basher – Donald Trump to a south-of-the-border powwow today?

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

Jet Blue made history on Tuesday morning with its flight  from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba - the first U.S. commercial flight to Cuba in 55 years.

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 Colombian expats here.

AP

The Colombian government and Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC have been at war for 52 years. But tonight both sides confirmed from their negotiating table in Havana, Cuba, that a peace agreement has finally been forged.

"[We] have reached a final, full and definite accord," they said in a joint statement.

Colombia’s civil war is Latin America’s last guerrilla conflict. It has left more than 200,000 people dead and millions more displaced. Peace talks began three years ago, and this summer the two sides announced a mutual cease-fire.

Brazil Police via AP

COMMENTARY

I don’t wear Speedo swimsuits. I obey the unwritten law – which ought to be codified criminal statute – that middle-aged men don’t wear them.

But I’m a Speedo fan this week. Not because the company said it will no longer sponsor Lamebrain Lochte (his real first name is Ryan) for his boorish behavior in Rio de Janeiro last week. And not because most of Lochte’s other corporate patrons dumped his clueless kiester, too.

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