In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.
I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.
Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of stark paradoxes, and that has never been truer than in the past decade: Even as the continent enjoys one of its most dynamic economic booms, it’s suffering one of the worst violent crime crises in its history.
We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.
The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.
You could call it Latin America’s Apollo 13 moment. In October 2010, 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet below Chile’s Atacama Desert for 70 days were rescued one by one in a small steel capsule. I’ll never forget being there to witness that operation, which was watched on television by more than a billion people around the world.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will visit Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago next week. President Obama already swung through Mexico and Costa Rica this month and next month Obama will host the presidents of Chile and Peru at the White House.
If you had to guess where most of the TV programming for Latinos is being produced these days, where would you guess? L.A., New York, Texas? How about Miami? A recent deal has solidified Miami as a major television hub.
Ana Sagastegui was born in Peru. She has worked in the Miami TV industry for 20 years. Sagastegui remembers how different Miami was then. Just a few broadcast studios but plenty of open space.
I am not a Latina. I am a middle-aged white guy whose salsa dancing embarrasses my Venezuelan-born wife. But because she is a Latina, and because my teen-aged daughter is half Latina, I take more than passing interest in how popular culture portrays Latinas. And these days I’m annoyed, because the most popular Latina image out there is, well, almost as embarrassing as my salsa dancing.
It’s an image, in fact, that represents a setback for Latinas.
The last time I spoke with former Guatemalan strongman Efraín Ríos Montt, in 2003, he was running (unsuccessfully, thank God) for President—and he was delusional as ever.
Every bit as unhinged from reality as he’d been two decades before, during the darkest days of Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war, when as military dictator from 1982-83, he led a “scorched earth” campaign that killed thousands of mostly indigenous Maya peasants.
The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had an impact on more than his own country. Now it remains to be some what his successor, Nicolas Maduro, will do or not to maintain those ties. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos patched up fractured relations with Venezuela before Chavez died.
The history between Haiti and Venezuela dates all the way back to liberator Simon Bolivar and is a big reason why Haiti's second-largest airport was just named for the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
From world famous beaches to international trade flows, South Florida has become one of the world's most vibrant and diverse economies.
Through a series of one-hour radio programs, special correspondent Tom Hudson will host a weekly series on Mondays in May and June exploring The Sunshine Economy, a fresh take on the key industries driving growth across South Florida.