There was a time when rum was rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it. Rum and croak.
Fast forward a few centuries to rum respectability – specifically, to Rob Burr’s patio deck in Coral Gables.
From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, it sets a mood not for swilling rum but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon. Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.
Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday at age 87, provided one of the eerier moments of my journalism career.
In 1996, a colleague and I had been conducting a series of interviews with the Colombian Nobel laureate about his newest book, called “News of a Kidnapping.” It was a nonfiction work on his country’s violent drug-crime culture. Shortly after García Márquez sent the final proofs to his publisher, I called him at his Mexico City home and he sounded shaken.
There’s never a shortage of unusual legal proceedings in Miami. It’s just that very few of them ever enhance the city’s image, as last month’s court hearings on Justin Bieber’s genitalia so charmingly reminded us.
If you needed any reminding of how archaic and clueless U.S. policy on Cuba can be – and the extent to which it so often actually aids an oppressive communist dictatorship – look no further than Thursday’s excellent Associated Press article about the “Cuban Twitter” fiasco.
It’s hard to look at Costa Rica these days and not feel an urge to paraphrase Shakespeare:
Et tu Ticos?
Ticos, as Costa Ricans are affectionately known, used to sit on a hemispheric pedestal. Their country was the prosperous, democratic Boy Scout of Central America if not all of Latin America – an oasis of good government and social equality in a region notorious for dictators and dysfunction.
It was the green nation that dumped its army so it could spend more on schools.
It may or not be a coincidence that Cuban leader Raúl Castro disclosed his new foreign investment law this week just as Venezuela was getting another big thumbs-down from the financial world.
Cuba’s threadbare communist economy depends on kindred benefactors like socialist Venezuela. But as that oil-rich country’s own economy continues to implode – the Fitch Ratings company downgraded Venezuelan credit to “Outlook Negative” on Tuesday – Castro has no choice but to open his island’s rusted doors more broadly to capital, capitalism and capitalists.
Of all the on-scene reporting from the deadly anti-government protests in Venezuela, Frank Bajak of the Associated Press may have written one of the mostimportant pieces this week – and it didn’t involve tear gas or street barricades.
Pietra Diwan takes pride in the master’s degree she earned in history back in her native Brazil. But a passion for historical accuracy may cost her the business she built here in South Florida.
As a historian, Diwan pays attention to document details. That’s why she raised flags last month when Venezuelan friends here started posting Facebook photos of the ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela.
There comes a moment in every political upheaval when the sound and fury of protests have to hook up with the clarity and practicality of platforms.
For anti-government demonstrators in Venezuela, that moment's arrived.
Since Feb. 12, the oil-rich but deeply divided country has been rocked by student-led unrest. Protesters are lashing out at President Nicolás Maduro’s heavy-handed socialist government and its inability to solve a raft of economic and social crises, including South America’s worst inflation and murder rates.
The Maya have many cool nicknames. The Greeks of the New World. Men of Maize. But you can add a more unfortunate moniker – the Children of Scorched Earth – to explain why they’re suddenly one of Florida’s fastest-growing immigrant communities.
The Maya are the largest indigenous group in the Americas, descendants of the glorious pre-Columbian civilization that occupied southern Mexico and northern Central America. Most live in Guatemala – where in recent decades they’ve faced one violent plague after another.