Americas

Latin America Report
11:38 am
Wed September 3, 2014

More Cuban Rafters Escaping Communist Failure But Needing Capitalist Help

Cubans wave goodbye to rafters headed across the Florida Straits.
Credit Al Diaz / Miami Herald

José has experienced policy failure both communist and capitalist.

    

José asked that I not use his last name to protect his family back home in Cuba. He arrived in Florida two weeks ago on a homemade raft, the kind of illegal exit that makes you a counter-revolutionary – a gusano, or worm – in the eyes of the communist dictatorship there.

Economic despair in Cuba was the main thing that compelled José to float away. “Every day you feel like a needy person,” he told me.

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Latin America Report
8:33 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Argentina's New Debt Drama: A Boost For South Florida Condo Sales?

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Credit Flickr / Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación

Argentina is no stranger to financial crisis. But an unprecedented drama is playing out there this summer, one that could alter the rules in global debt markets – and boost the sales in South Florida condo markets, as more Argentines look for safer places to put their money amid the turmoil.

At issue is $100 billion: the mountain of sovereign debt Argentina defaulted on in 2001 amid a horrific economic collapse. It was the largest default in history.

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Opinion
8:55 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Saving El Salvador: Why The Vatican Needs To Make Archbishop Romero A Saint

Archbishop Oscar Romero's image on the wall of a home in El Salvador.
Credit Alison McKellar / Flickr

In the 1980s, it was hard to find a scarier place than El Salvador. Crushing poverty and right-wing death squads. Civil war and left-wing guerrillas.

The flashlight in that darkness was Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero.

In his last Christmas Eve homily, Romero urged El Salvador’s reactionary oligarchs to find the infant Jesus on the nation’s streets – among the hundreds of thousands of children “who go to bed with nothing to eat, who sleep covered by newspapers in doorways.”

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Latin America Report
6:44 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

The Cuba Debate: Can Capitalist Rookies Thrive In A Communist Revolution?

Visiting Cuban entrepreneurs speak at Miami Dade College this month.
Credit Miami Herald

When you’ve spent your entire life on a communist island where staples like eggs and chicken are rationed, lunch in Miami can be overwhelming.

Ask Sandra Aldama, a Cuban mother and former special education teacher who made her first visit to the United States this month. Settling into a downtown Italian restaurant as waiters whizzed by with plates of fettuccine alfredo and veal parmesan, Aldama was almost certainly reminded of what the average Cuban can’t get at home.

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Haiti
11:34 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Haitian Prison Break Highlights Larger Justice Dysfunction

Accused Haitian kidnapper Clifford Brandt
Credit Haitian National Police

  The prison breakout in Haiti last weekend was one of the impoverished country’s worst. More than 300 inmates escaped – and many are alleged violent offenders. But the getaway highlights larger problems.

The recently built penitentiary in Croix-des-Bouquets, outside Port-au-Prince, was funded by Canada and was hailed as a modern facility. But the breakout may well have had more to do with Haiti’s justice culture than with its jail security.

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Latin America Report
12:16 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Canal Quarrel: How PortMiami's Future Is Tied To Tiny Panama

Epic Endeavor: Building the Panama Canal's wider locks.
Credit Panama Canal Authority

The original version of this report was published on May 13 2014.

PortMiami has finally opened its new, billion-dollar tunnel. It’s the jewel of a $2 billion port makeover, which includes a major dredging project and skyscraper-size loading cranes for sending a lot more auto parts to Brazil and getting a lot more handbags from China.

But the long-term success of that effort may depend to a large extent on whether a quarrel gets solved a thousand miles to the south. In Panama.

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Cuba
9:28 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Cuba's Fledgling Entrepreneurs Visit Miami For Capitalist Consultation

Credit Miami Herald

A fledgling private sector is taking root in communist Cuba. Last week a group of Cuban entrepreneurs made an unprecedented visit to Miami to learn how to run a business -- and to convince Americans they’re the real deal.

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Opinion
6:12 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

As Central Americans Flee Their Countries, Their Leaders Take Refuge In Hypocrisy

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez (left) talks with U.S. Marine General John Kelly during his Southcom visit on Wednesday.
Credit U.S. Southern Command

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández dropped by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami this week to talk about security in Central America. Or the utter lack of security in Central America. Honduras has the highest murder rate on Earth, and things are almost as deadly in neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador.

That’s why the Southcom visit was a nifty photo op for Hernández – who'd like the world to believe that he’s having to wage a war with vicious narco-gangs solely because Americans have an insatiable appetite for drugs.

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Latin America Report
4:25 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Should The Panama Canal Join Classes As Well As Oceans?

Two Panamas: Panama City's gleaming new towers directly above its large shanty slums.
Credit Peter Nickalls / Flickr

This story originally ran on May 7, 2014  

Jorge Quijano has one of the coolest office views in the Americas: the Pacific port entrance to the Panama Canal. The panoramic vista seems to help Quijano, who heads the Panama Canal Authority, see the bigger picture.

On the one hand, Quijano understands why Panama has run the canal much more effectively than the United States did.

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Documentary
6:59 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Hear From Children Seeking Refuge In Miami From Violence Below The Border

Sindy, 18, who came to the United States as an unaccompanied minor from Honduras in March, tells the story of her dangerous journey.
Credit Emily Michot / Miami Herald staff

As tens of thousands children from Central America have been fleeing for the United States, U.S. society is trying to figure out how to deal with the crisis -- at many different levels.

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Latin America Report
10:50 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Zahra Burton Of "18 Degrees North" Aims To Make A "60 Minutes For The Caribbean"

Zahra Burton, host of "18 Degrees North"
Credit 18 Degrees North

Eighteen degrees north is the latitude where Jamaica and much of the Caribbean sit. It’s also the name of a new television newsmagazine show, perhaps the first to take an unflinching look at the problems and potential of the Caribbean.

“18 Degrees North” is in its second season. It debuted in South Florida this summer, airing Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on CBS affiliate WBFS-TV, My 33. It’s hosted by former Bloomberg TV reporter Zahra Burton.

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Latin America Report
7:11 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

How Panama Cut Poor Kids Out Of A Florida Millionaire's Will

BEQUEST BATTLE: Impoverished children in Panama.
Credit Appropriate Projects

Panama today is best known for its economic boom, and rightly so. But unfortunately, poverty and piracy remain as much a part of the country's image as the Panama Canal.

According to the World Bank, half of Panama’s children are poor. A fifth of them are malnourished. Those underfed kids cram Panama charity centers like Nutre Hogar. On a recent visit there I saw the devastating effects of child malnutrition, including brain damage.

“We don’t only feed them,” one Nutre Hogar staff member told me. “We spend a lot of time repairing their motor skills.”

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Opinion
10:14 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Why Brazil's Futebol Failure Is the Best Thing For The Country

ROLE MODEL: Neymar before his World Cup injury
Credit Flickr

I’m as speechless as any sports fan on this planet. Seven-to-one. That’s how badly Germany defeated – no, demolished – Brazil in the semi-finals of the soccer World Cup on Tuesday.

Granted, Brazil was without two of its best players, team captain Silva and star striker Neymar. But even so: 7-1? The Bloodbath in Belo Horizonte – at a World Cup Brazil is hosting, no less – was the worst humiliation South America’s soccer superpower has ever and probably will ever suffer.

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Venezuela Crisis
5:33 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Jetting To Venezuela Just Got Harder: Why American Is Slashing Flights

FEWER FLIGHTS: An American Airlines aircraft at Caracas' Simon Bolivar Airport.
Credit Simon_sees / Flickr/futureatlas.com

It’s going to get even tougher to find a seat on a flight to Venezuela now. International airlines are cutting if not ending their service to the South American country. And that now includes the major U.S. carrier  – American Airlines.

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News
3:48 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Caribbean Airlines Flights Resume After Pilots' Sick-Out

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

Due to a labor dispute, dozens of Caribbean Airlines pilots called in sick Tuesday, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

Nearly all of the Trinidad-based airline's flights were disrupted across the Caribbean and in major hubs such as Miami, New York and London.

Airline spokesman Clint Williams says the company is in touch with travelers affected by the sick-out and has provided alternate flights for them.

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