Presidencia de Panama

The Summit of the Americas kicks off Friday evening when the hemisphere’s heads of state inaugurate the two-day gathering in downtown Panama City. But while there a host of issues to discuss, all eyes are on just two guys: President Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro.

Perhaps embodying the experience of many Miami residents, Jonathan Brooks is torn between two lands. His American father and Cuban mother raised Brooks in an environment that he describes as equal parts “Que Pasa U.S.A.?” and “I Love Lucy.”

Brooks, a writer, photographer and filmmaker, recently published the book "True Cuba," partially in response to "Vamos a Cuba," which was pulled from Miami-Dade County public school libraries in 2006 for portraying what critics called an unrealistic depiction of life on the island.

Arnulfo Franco / AP

Here’s the conventional line you're hearing about President Obama and this week’s Summit of the Americas:

Up to now, Obama had been doing many smart things to improve dysfunctional U.S.-Latin American relations. On issues like immigration, the drug war and especially Cuba – in December he announced the U.S. would restore diplomatic relations with its cold-war communist foe – a gringo president was finally getting it.

Tim Padgett /

Guennady Rodriguez may be a Cuban émigré, but his musical tastes aren’t exactly counter-revolutionary.

Inside his apartment near Miami International Airport, Rodriguez likes to pull out his guitar and strum tunes by Pablo Milanés, a Cuban troubadour who’s considered a favorite of the Castro regime.

It’s when the 33-year-old Rodriguez puts on a suit and tie and goes to work in downtown Miami that his break with Havana becomes obvious. Rodriguez is a senior sales executive at a large international company that organizes corporate events.

Andre Deak / Flickr

The meeting of heads of state from throughout the western hemisphere known as the Summit of the Americas starts later this week in Panama.

For the first time, Cuba will be there – and so will Cuba’s most famous dissident blogger, Yoani Sánchez.

Florida Roundup: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush

Apr 3, 2015

Editor's note: This is a pre-recorded episode of the Florida Roundup. There is no live chat this week. 

On the Florida Roundup, we talk about the week's top news with the area's top journalists.

National Politics

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Common Cause-Embassy of Venezuela DC/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Roberta Jacobson is burning up Twitter in English and Spanish this week trying to recover President Obama’s fumble on Venezuela.

She’s worried – and gosh, we can’t imagine why – that left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is giving his people the wrong impression about Obama’s ill-advised announcement on Monday that Venezuela is a “national security threat” to the U.S.

Roberto Morejon Guerra / Juventud Rebelde

All the Cuba buzz these days is about Conan O’Brien, who broadcast his TV show last week from Havana -- the first time an American late-night talk show host has done that since 1959.

Conan Goes to Cuba

Mar 5, 2015
Conan O'Brien Show /

In his white suit and hat, the six-foot-four red-headed television host Conan O'Brien was anything but inconspicuous as he walked the streets of Havana. 

The trip took place in mid-February but aired last night. 

Conan's clips include: a visit to a rum museum, rumba dance lessons and a jam session with a salsa band. It was all in the goofy, awkward and self-deprecating humor that Conan O'Brien fans expect.