If you live on the Caribbean street – and Florida is part of that street – here are three ways of looking at Nelson Mandela’s death yesterday.
Each, not surprisingly, involves Cuba and Fidel Castro. But in a larger sense they involve how immaturely we practice politics on this street – and how immaturely the world beyond this street views our politics.
Brazil has proved itself a global force in soccer and music, architecture and business. But there’s one area where the South American giant has yet to produce a Pelé or a Veloso, a Niemeyer or an Embraer: art.
That seems odd considering Brazil’s richly creative culture and its awesomely idyllic surroundings. Mexico can claim the marquee power of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Colombia has Botero. But the Brazilian art scene “is still finding its way internationally,” says São Paulo entrepreneur and art promoter Michel Serebrinsky.
When I interviewed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos last year in Bogotá, he crowed about foreign investment pouring into his country. A nation considered a failed narco-state less than a decade ago was now one of South America’s hottest money magnets, doubling its take from the previous year.
“This is completely out of anyone’s imagination,” Santos said.
It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.
And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.
What do you when you live in the most violent place on earth and you can’t take another day of it?
We’re not talking about Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan. This is about Honduras, in Central America, little more than a two-hour flight from Miami. It has the highest murder rate of any nation in the world today, more than 80 per 100,000 people. Its second largest city, San Pedro Sula, has the worst homicide rate of any urban area in the world, almost 175 per 100,000.
What do Miss Universe and Miami Herald South America correspondent Jim Wyss have in common? Not a heck of a lot physically. But quite a bit symbolically: Left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would have liked to use both of them recently to distract voters from his so-far disastrous administration.
There are two basic realities about Cuba’s communist dictatorship that U.S. policy, and the anti-Castro hardliners that shape it, prefer to ignore. The first is that the Castro brothers will almost certainly die in power. The second is that market-oriented economic reforms, albeit tentative, are as much a part of Cuba’s landscape today as 1956 Chevrolets.
Batista appears with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a ceremony in celebration of the start of oil production by OGX, Batista's oil and gas company, in 2012. The company filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.
Credit Sergio Moraes / Reuters/Landov
Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista gives a thumbs up in better days.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm
In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:
"For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year's tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.
I met Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007, just before she was first elected president of Argentina. In our interview, she talked a good deal about the rise of women leaders in the Americas, from then Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to then U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:12 pm
During a second night of violent protests, police in São Paulo arrested 90 people. NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro reports that since protests flared this summer, confrontations with police in Brazil's two largest cities — São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — have happened almost daily.
Reporting from São Paulo, Lourdes sent this report to our Newscast unit:
Demonstrators who are critical of the Catholic Church and favor abortion rights take part in a protest in Rio de Janeiro during Pope Francis' visit to Brazil on July 27. Abortion is illegal in Brazil with rare exceptions. Some lawmakers are attempting to make it even more restrictive.
The doctor's office is clean and white and comfortingly bland in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo. We were given the address by a health professional who told us one of the doctors here gives safe abortions in a country where they are illegal.
The doctor agrees to speak on condition of anonymity after we prove we are not there to entrap him. He does not admit on tape that he terminates unwanted pregnancies. But he says openly he favors legalizing abortions.