Americas

The Sunshine Economy
6:30 am
Wed October 23, 2013

How Brazilians Have Helped Save South Florida Real Estate

Credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Click the play button above and listen to this segment from WLRN's hour-long episode, "The Sunshine Economy: Brazil & South Florida," with host Tom Hudson. The episode is part of an ongoing series examining key industries of the South Florida economy. Shows air Mondays at 9:00 a.m. on 91.3 FM.

The years 2009 and 2010 were dark days for Miami real estate. Home prices plummeted. Mortgages imploded. Foreclosures soared.

And buyers flooded in from Brazil.

Since that time, Brazilians have become the top foreign buyers of homes and especially condominiums in South Florida. As recently as June, the largest number of foreign-based online visitors to the Miami Association of Realtors website came from Brazil. In 2011 and 2012, most international buyers of residential real estate in the Miami area came from Brazil.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Why Dilma's Doldrums Nixed Her State Visit To Washington

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends a recent meeting of the G-20 in St. Petersburg, Russia

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by WLRN Americas Editor Tim Padgett.

Washington was supposed to fete Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff today. But she canceled her formal state visit, the only one the White House had scheduled for a foreign head of state this year.

By now most people know why. Rousseff is protesting revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on her personal phone calls and e-mails.

“Without respect for sovereignty,” she said in a blistering speech last month at the United Nations aimed at the Obama Administration, “there is no basis for relationships among nations.”

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Americas
3:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Cuba To Phase Out Two-Peso Currency System

A woman displays Cuban pesos, or CUP (right) and the more valuable convertible pesos, or CUC (left), in Havana Tuesday. Raul Castro's government announced that it will begin unifying the two currencies.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.

The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.

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Trade
11:49 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Spanish Investment, Trade Ties With Florida Offer Business Gold

Angel Santibañez is the owner of Brisas de España, 8726 NW 26 St., Doral, which carries a variety of goods from Spain including paella pans hanging from wall, hams, ceramics and food products.
Credit C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff

Arriving in South Florida, visitors from Spain might feel as if they’ve never left the Iberian Peninsula.

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Americas
11:37 am
Mon October 21, 2013

A Look Back At The Protests That Have Bedeviled Brazil And Dilma Rousseff

Demonstrations in Fortaleza, Brazil, part of a movement that began against bus fare increases and expanded to include spending on soccer stadiums for the 2014 World Cup.
Credit Semilla Luz/Flickr

Preocupado, sim. Surpreendido, não.

Worried, yes. Surprised, no.

That’s how most Brazilians in South Florida are reacting to the sudden and sometimes violent outburst of protests sweeping their home country this week. While they’re obviously concerned to see hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Brazil’s major cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, they’ve long seen the frustrations bubbling beneath the surface of the nation’s waning economic boom.

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Americas
11:19 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Think Driving In South Florida Is Scary? Try Brazil

Brazilian carmakers, capitalizing on rising demand as the nation’s middle class expands, are making a 10% profit these days, twice the global average.
Credit emergingmoney.com

Like Miami Herald sportswriter David J. Neal, who wrote so eloquently about his boyhood memories of the Indianapolis 500, I’m a Hoosier-turned-Miamian who spent many a May in my own youth at the world’s most famous race car track.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:10 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Brazil & South Florida

Click the play button above and listen to WLRN's hour-long episode, "The Sunshine Economy: Brazil & South Florida," with host Tom Hudson. The episode is part of an ongoing series examining key industries of the South Florida economy. The show airs Mondays at 9:00 a.m. on 91.3 FM.

This week was supposed to bring together the leaders of the largest and sixth-largest economies in the world. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff had been scheduled to make an official state visit to the White House but she called off the trip after it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Administration intercepted emails and telephone calls between herself, her staff and the Brazilian state energy company Petrobras.

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Americas
8:27 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Activists Sue U.N. Over Cholera That Killed Thousands In Haiti

Haitians protest against United Nations peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince in 2010.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:32 am

Human rights activists are suing the United Nations on behalf of five Haitian families afflicted by cholera — a disease many believe U.N. peacekeeping troops brought to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake there.

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Americas
6:30 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Why So Many Latinos Are Becoming Muslims

Latino Muslims marching in New York. The sign they're carrying says in Spanish: Reclaiming our Islamic Heritage.
Credit middleeastamericas.info

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by WLRN Americas Editor Tim Padgett.

Most Latinos know the country is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month right now. What far fewer Latinos know is that next week marks Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s most sacred holidays.

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Americas
2:01 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Argentina's Kirchner To Have Surgery For Brain Hematoma

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will undergo surgery to relieve a hematoma on her brain Tuesday. She is seen here last month, at the U.N. General Assembly.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:07 pm

Days after doctors said Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner must take a month off from work to recover from a brain hematoma, reports now indicate that she'll undergo surgery to relieve the condition Tuesday.

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Americas
6:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Deja Vu Venezuela: How Rotted Is The Revolution?

U.S. dollars and Venezuelan bolivares being exchanged in Caracas.

Anyone who’s traveled to Caracas in the past few years knows the drill. As soon as you clear customs, you scan the airport terminal for the guys in trench coats.

They’ve got the good stuff: bolívares, the Venezuelan currency, which they exchange for your dollars at the black market rate. That means what the bolívar is actually worth -- about six times less than the laughably overvalued official rate of 6.3 to the dollar.

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Americas
7:57 am
Fri October 4, 2013

How Drug Traffickers Are Returning To The Caribbean

Crew members aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant transfer bales of cocaine caught on Feb. 19. Roughly 1,400 pounds of cocaine were seized from a speedboat in the Caribbean in the operation. Officials say drug traffickers are sending larger shipments of cocaine through the Caribbean.
Credit Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon-Paul Rios / U.S. COAST GUARD

More of the cocaine smuggled to the United States is passing through the Caribbean, officials said, representing a shift in which drug traffickers are returning to a region they largely abandoned decades ago.

RELATED: Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

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Americas
7:30 am
Thu October 3, 2013

'Castrocare' Divides Doctors In Cuba, Brazil

Cuba is sending thousands of badly needed doctors to Brazil, but Brazil's medical establishment has sought to block the program. Here, Cuban Dr. Yocelin Macias treats a patient in the capital Brasilia on Aug. 30.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:48 am

Call it "Castrocare." Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro sent doctors abroad for decades to work throughout Latin America and as far away as Africa.

In some cases, like Haiti, the medical missions were seen as purely humanitarian. In other places, like Venezuela, it was a form of barter that provided Cuba with subsidized oil imports.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

La Mano (The Hand), a modernist sculpture at Punta del Este, is one of Uruguay's best known landmarks.
Credit Flickr

This article was originally published in October and has been updated.

Uruguayans love it when you tell them what a resort paradise Punta del Este is. Or how tasty the country’s Tannat wine is. Or what a stable democracy their small nation (pop. 3.5 million) has turned out to be.

What they don’t like is to hear Uruguay called, as many do label it today, “the Switzerland of South America.” Not that Uruguayans dislike Switzerland. But many if not most of them think the comparison is cliché, exaggerated, inaccurate, condescending.

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Americas
11:18 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Canada To Launch Billion-Dollar Marijuana Free Market This Week

A new free market for medical marijuana in Canada will replace small growers with large-scale indoor farms.
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:53 pm

Canada is ushering in what it projects to be a $1.3 billion medical marijuana free market this week, as it replaces small and homegrown pot production with quality-controlled marijuana produced by large farms. The market could eventually serve up to 450,000 Canadians, according to government estimates.

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