Americas

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COMMENTARY

If you’ve lived in Miami long enough, you’re used to seeing all things Cuban – all things – refracted through a political prism.

Music. Art. Baseball. Rum. Animal rights activists in lettuce bikinis promoting veganism in Havana. (Yeah, see the angry comments on my report about that last month.)

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Puerto Rico is still mired in one of the worst economic crises in the island’s history. Its new young governor, Ricardo Rosselló, is on a campaign to turn things around - and he's betting an important ally will be South Florida’s booming Puerto Rican diaspora.

Rosselló is only 38 years old. But he’s leveraging his youthful energy in an effort not only to reform the U.S. territory’s disastrous finances but to change the often dysfunctional relationship between the U.S.  government  and Puerto Rico – whose residents are U.S. citizens.

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.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Last summer the first U.S. commercial flights to Cuba in more than half a century took off to jubilant fanfare - and landed to cheers and water cannon salutes. U.S. airlines were giddy about resuming commercial flights to the communist island.

Maybe too giddy.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

President Trump’s rough rhetoric toward Mexico suggests his relationship with Latin America could be rocky. But the security challenges there remain daunting. That was the subject of a major Florida International University gathering on Thursday - a conference that made it clear the U.S. will need to summon a more involved hemispheric strategy than just building a wall.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

South Miami teacher Jorge Cast has his enemies of the people all neatly figured out – including the mainstream media.

“My family came from Cuba, and they taught me something very basic,” Cast told WLRN last Saturday at a rally in Tropical Park in support of President Trump.

“When the media tells you something is white, you believe it’s black. When they tell you it’s right, you believe it’s wrong.”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org


PETA

The Kardashians have visited Cuba. So have Chanel models. So it was just a matter of time before animal rights activists showed up wearing bikinis made of lettuce. Right?

They did indeed fly to Cuba on Tuesday – but something might be wrong with this picture.

Most people want Cuba to be democratic. They want it to be Internet accessible. Now the Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wants the island to get vegan.

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.

Southern Africa is facing an invasion by an army — but not the sort of force you can defeat with ammunition. This foreign invader is an agricultural pest that is threatening the breadbasket of the region.

Zambian farmer Daniel Banda noticed in late December that something was munching through his crop of corn, destroying the maize fields on his small farm just outside the capital, Lusaka. Voracious caterpillars, known as fall armyworms, had nestled in the cobs and chomped through the leaves.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

It has been a year since Haiti has had an elected president. On Tuesday one was at last inaugurated: Jovenel Moïse. And among the witnesses were Haitian-Americans from South Florida who played a role in making it happen.

Haiti’s been torn by violent election chaos since 2015. But businessman Moïse was finally elected President in November and sworn in Tuesday morning in Port-au-Prince.

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

Donald Trump becomes President on Friday – and now here we wait to see how he plans to keep his pledge to roll back normalized relations with Cuba.

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