Latin America

Latin America Report
10:30 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Free From A Dark Past, Peruvian Entrepreneurs Embrace Their Roots

Chef Gaston Acurio, second from left, and his Leche de Tigre Gang prepare seafood dishes at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental.
Credit Maria Murriel / WLRN

Superstar chef Gastón Acurio is a trend-setter.

For the past four years, Astrid y Gastón, his flagship restaurant in Lima, Peru, has made the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

His fusion of traditional Peruvian foods and French cooking techniques has earned him fame on gastronomy’s global stage. And it’s helped put Peruvian cuisine on the map, especially in South Florida.

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Latin America Report
5:51 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

The 21st Century Sends Low-Tech Latin America A Warning: "Innovate Or Die!"

Brazilian engineering student Lara Nesralla conducts research at the University of Florida as part of her government's Science Without Borders program.
Credit University of Florida

One look at the Brazilian flag and you think: This must be a space-age, high-tech country. That star-spackled orb in the middle glowing like a planetarium. The banner wrapped around it hailing “Order and Progress.” Engineers must be rock stars there, right?

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Latin America
5:22 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Newsflash: Honduras Is Not A Completely Terrible Place

Valle de Angeles, a town outside Hondura's capital, is a quaint tourist haven nestled in green mountains.
Credit Maria Murriel / WLRN

I admit I was scared the first time I went to Honduras, which was just last month. All I really knew of the place, aside from a little about the food, were this year's painful stories of Honduran children escaping to the United States because crippling poverty and gang violence have made their country the world's deadliest.

But my good friend was getting married, and I'd found a cheap plane ticket.

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Latin America Report
7:41 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

What The Non-Cuban Latino Vote Means For Florida Politicians

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (center) and running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (right) talk with Hector Parra (left) and his daugher Marcela Parra.
Credit Charlie Crist campaign

Latinos, as if you needed more media reminding, are America’s largest minority today. Winning their swing vote matters more than ever – even if means politicians making speeches in really bad Spanish.

In Florida, that exercise used to be a day at the beach. Or rather, an hour at Miami’s Versailles restaurant. Drink a café cubano. Declare your hatred for Fidel Castro. Head to the next campaign stop.

But that was back when Latino in Florida meant almost exclusively Cuban. And Cuban meant Republican.

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Latin America
4:24 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Gangs Can't Stop Colombia's Butterflies From Rescuing Women In Need

Three Butterflies flew to Geneva to accept a humanitarian award: Maritza Asprilla Cruz (from left), Gloria Amparo, Mery Medina.
Juan Arredondo Courtesy of UNHCR

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 4:09 pm

They call themselves "the Butterflies."

And that's not just wishful thinking.

When Gloria Amparo, Maritza Asprilla Cruz and Mery Medina sweep into NPR's bureau in central London, they are indeed as beautiful as butterflies: bright clothing, big beaming smiles. They look around in wonder at the newsroom spread out before them, laughing and joking as I make them a cup of tea.

Yet these are women who've led tough lives — born into Colombian society, where violence and abuse are commonplace.

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Latin America Report
11:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Haiti's Crucial Question: Would Baby Doc Have Gone To Jail If He'd Lived Longer?

The late Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1975.
Credit Flickr user a-birdie

As Haiti’s national police director from 1996 to 2002, Pierre Denize had a mission: to help the country’s fledgling democracy build a more professional and humane justice system.

Denize had seen too much of the polar opposite in his youth – especially when his parents were jailed, brutalized and exiled during the three-decade-long reign of cruelty and corruption known as the Duvalier dynasty.

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Haiti
3:20 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Reporting On Duvalier: Diary Of A Dictator

Wedding day in Haiti for former President Jean-Claude Duvalier and Michele Bennett, May 27th, 1980.
Credit Miami Herald

There can come a time when reporters and photographers spend so much of their working lives immersed in covering one issue, one person or one country, that their relationship with the subject being covered becomes almost symbiotic.

Think of it as a detective who must know his or her suspect’s every thought and every move.

Where will they be today? What will they say today? Perhaps, more importantly, what can be confirmed today -- and what is the real reason behind the latest action?

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Haiti
8:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Baby Doc Divide: Why South Florida's Haitians Disagree On Duvalier

Notre Dame d'Haiti church in Little Haiti, where Miami's Haitian community discussed Baby Doc Duvalier's death over the weekend.
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN

From Stalin in Russia to Pinochet in Chile, there’s at least one thing we’ve learned about dictators: Despite the terrible things they often do, people’s memories of them can be fond as well as frightening.

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier – who ruled from 1971 to 1986 and died on Saturday in Portu-au-Prince at age 63 from a heart attack brought on in part by a tarantula bite – was no exception.

 WLRN spent the weekend listening to the divided opinion on Baby Doc in Miami’s Haitian community.

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Venezuela
6:59 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

No End To Venezuela's Gloom, Whether It's Currency Or Killings

NEW LOWS: Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, hit 100 to the U.S. dollar on the black market
Credit Flickr Eduardo!

Venezuela just finished another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week on both the financial and security fronts. And it suggests things could get even worse.

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Commentary
6:11 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Baby Doc Duvalier May Have Finally Helped Haiti – By Dying At The Right Time

Jean Claude Duvalier during an interview in Laboule, outside Port au Prince, Haiti, on April 16, 2011.
Credit Andres Martinez Casares / For the Miami Herald

Even for a fiend as monumentally corrupt as he was, the first words out of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s mouth upon his return to Haiti in 2011 were shamelessly dishonest.

“I came back to help my country,” Baby Doc said after ending 25 years in exile in France.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Haiti's 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Dies At 63

Former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier "Baby Doc" has died at age 63. He returned from exile in 2011.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 2:46 pm

Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator nicknamed "Baby Doc" after he succeeded his father in ruling the country, has died. Duvalier was the president of Haiti from 1971 to 1986, a brutal regime that ended in his exile. He returned to the country in 2011.

Duvalier died of a heart attack, reports Haiti Libre.

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Film
5:57 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Latin American Icon Simon Bolivar Gets Biopic Treatment In 'Liberator'

Unlike actor Edgar Ramirez, the real Simon Bolivar was a physically slight man.
Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 1:09 pm

The new film The Liberator is an attempt to bring the epic story of Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of Latin America, to international audiences. Directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo, it's one of the most expensive Latin American productions to date and features epic battle scenes, rousing speeches and stunning landscapes in the spirit of historical epics like Braveheart.

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Sunshine Economy
1:00 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Trade Winds: Exporters in South Florida

Two Super Post-Panamax Cranes await cargo and ships at PortMiami (Oct. 2013).
Credit Tom Hudson

    

It's a familiar saying among exporters -- South Florida is the shopping cart for Latin America.

From cell phones to gold, medicine to aircraft parts, it all leaves the United States from South Florida destined for overseas markets. While the pace of trade is down from a year ago, according to trade media company WorldCity, the seaports and airports here maintain a trade surplus.

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Commentary
12:46 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Bring Peace To Colombia Or Block Venezuela From A U.N. Seat? Pick One

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speaking to WLRN's Tim Padgett at the U.N. General Assembly this week in New York.
Credit Pilar Calderon / Presidencia de Colombia

Today’s international affairs quiz: Would you rather see Venezuela denied a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, or would you prefer to see an end to Colombia’s eternal civil war?

Pick one. Can’t have both.

That’s at least what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told me this week during our interview in New York, where he and a host of other heads of state are gathered for the U.N. General Assembly.

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Language
6:04 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

More English, More Money? Maybe Not In Miami

A new report says workers with poor English skills may be dragging down the economy.
Credit freedigitalphotos.net

The list of things that threaten the U. S. economy is long, indeed. But here's one item that might not have occurred to you.

Speaking bad English.

As the Brookings Institution scopes it out in a report released Wednesday, immigrants seeking work in the U. S. often have to settle for jobs beneath their qualifications just because their English is not up to snuff.

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