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


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 /

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.


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


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.

Tim Padgett /

The forklift’s working overtime at Vikom Export, one of the hundreds of shipping companies nestled in the warehouse labyrinths of Doral, just west of Miami.

Almost all of Vikom’s shipments go to Venezuela – and they’ve doubled since last year.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

For the past year, the border between Venezuela and Colombia has effectively been closed. That’s only worsened the suffering of Venezuelans who can’t find enough food and medicine inside their collapsing economy. But relief may be coming tomorrow.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shut down his country’s western border last year for what he called “security reasons.” Critics said he was just trying to deflect attention from his catastrophic mismanagement of Venezuela’s economy – which has led to severe shortages of basic goods.

Logan Riely / Miami Herald



Dr. Esper Kallas shared a prediction about Zika with me earlier this year. And I could have made big bucks betting that unfortunately he’d be right.

Facebook via Miami Herald

Since the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations almost two years ago, Cuban migration here has surged. But a new study shows us just how dramatic that wave has become.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald


Even after thugs broke into Anahís Montiel’s house, dragged her into the street, murdered her with machetes and threw her corpse into a nearby ravine, they still had time to return to her home and rob everything while her husband and six children were forced to watch it all.

They had about eight hours, in fact, since local cops did nothing.

Tim Padgett /

At a Brazilian restaurant in Doral called Brazuca’s, Danilo Leão is whipping up his most popular dish, feijoada. Pronounced fay-ZHWAH-dah, it's a heavenly stew of black beans, meats and spices created centuries ago by Brazilian slaves.

Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY (Updated July 29, 2016)

On immigration, this month’s Republican and Democratic conventions were as different as pit bulls and collies.

Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald


Here’s a flashback from the Cold War tape loop we used to call Cuba policy:

In 2004, then U.S. President George W. Bush tightened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, including stricter limits on how often Cuban-Americans could visit family on the island. The aim was to pressure the communist regime in Havana to adopt democratic reforms.

“We’re not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom,” Bush said, “we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.”

Panama Canal Authority

The new, wider Panama Canal opened this month – and this week the disputes over its big cost overruns start getting settled -- in Miami, a fact that reflects South Florida’s growing international legal stature.

The expanded canal opened two years later than originally planned. A big reason was the legal fight over who should pay for the billions of dollars the project went over budget. The Panama Canal Authority? The European construction consortium? Or both?