Americas

Americas
9:30 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:23 am

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.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

How The Most Violent Places On Earth Benefit Miami

South Florida has benefited from the combination of Latin America's financial wealth and its criminal scourge as immigrants transfer new wealth to the United States.
Credit seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx

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.

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Americas
12:44 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Rio Goes High-Tech With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:27 am

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.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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Americas
1:15 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

New Laws Enshrine Domestic Worker Rights In Brazil

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:57 pm

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.

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Americas
8:24 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Hollywood Readies Story Of Trapped Chilean Miners

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (third from right) watches as the rescue capsule descends during a test run on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
Credit Government of Chile

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.

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Americas
8:20 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Why China Is Behind Fresh U.S. Moves In Latin America

School children in Sao Paolo, Brazil take a Mandarin-language proficiency class at the Confucius Institute, which offers language courses and Chinese cultural programs.
Credit Juan Forero/NPR

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.

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Business
7:00 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Why Miami Is Now A Hub For Latino TV

Hosts Jorge Ramos (left) and Maria Elena Salinas (center) sit with President Obama at the University of Miami September 20, 2012 in Coral Gables.
Credit Carolyn Kaster

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.

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Americas
11:50 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Why TV's 'Modern Family' Is A Setback For Latinas

Actress Sofia Vergara (right) in a scene from the upcoming season finale of the hit ABC show, Modern Family.
Credit abc.go.com

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.

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Americas
6:00 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Miami Feels Pain Of Guatemala Genocide, Narco-Terror

Guatemala in recent years has been the site of massacres perpetrated by narco-gangs that are all too reminiscent of the 1980s butchery.
Credit wbur.org

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.

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News
6:00 am
Mon May 13, 2013

WLRN Adds Latin America Correspondent In Collaboration With NPR And The Herald

Tim Padgett is the new Americas Correspondent for WLRN-Miami Herald News. The former Time correspondent will be based in Miami but coordinate coverage with reporters throughout Latin America.
Credit C. DiMattei

Journalist Tim Padgett spent nearly a quarter of a century covering Latin America and the Caribbean for TIME and Newsweek magazines.

But he's always been envious of the way foreign correspondents deliver the news for NPR.

"They're giving listeners a richer sense of the sounds and the colors than perhaps I'm able to do as a print reporter," he says.

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Americas
6:16 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Venezuela's Future Impact On Latin America, Cuba

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.

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Americas
6:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

How Haiti And Venezuela Became So Close

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.

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The Sunshine Economy
7:01 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Part One Of The Sunshine Economy Special Series: The Americas And Miami

Special correspondent Tom Hudson will host a weekly series on The Sunshine Economy, a fresh take on the key industries driving growth across South Florida.
Credit WLRN

 THE AMERICAS AND MIAMI

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.

Guests:

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