When socialist Nicolás Maduro eked out last April’s special presidential election in Venezuela, I wrote: “Even if Maduro won, he lost.”
Maduro defeated the opposition candidate – the same challenger Maduro's mentor Hugo Chávez had trounced just six months earlier by an 11-percent margin – by only 1.6 percent of the vote. Maduro’s lame performance shook the socialists’ claim that Chávez’s revolution would be just as dominant without Chávez, who had died of cancer in March after ruling Venezuela for 14 years.
Brazil has proved itself a global force in soccer and music, architecture and business. But there’s one area where the South American giant has yet to produce a Pelé or a Veloso, a Niemeyer or an Embraer: art.
That seems odd considering Brazil’s richly creative culture and its awesomely idyllic surroundings. Mexico can claim the marquee power of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Colombia has Botero. But the Brazilian art scene “is still finding its way internationally,” says São Paulo entrepreneur and art promoter Michel Serebrinsky.
If you live on the Caribbean street – and Florida is part of that street – here are three ways of looking at Nelson Mandela’s death yesterday.
Each, not surprisingly, involves Cuba and Fidel Castro. But in a larger sense they involve how immaturely we practice politics on this street – and how immaturely the world beyond this street views our politics.
When I interviewed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos last year in Bogotá, he crowed about foreign investment pouring into his country. A nation considered a failed narco-state less than a decade ago was now one of South America’s hottest money magnets, doubling its take from the previous year.
“This is completely out of anyone’s imagination,” Santos said.
It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.
And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.
This pre-holiday week, from Nov. 18-22, we brought you a bit of nostalgia (see our "Delis Of Yore" post below), some future planning (that's two proposals for Miami-Dade structures) and a little current analysis in the form of beauty-pageant criticism.
What do you when you live in the most violent place on earth and you can’t take another day of it?
We’re not talking about Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan. This is about Honduras, in Central America, little more than a two-hour flight from Miami. It has the highest murder rate of any nation in the world today, more than 80 per 100,000 people. Its second largest city, San Pedro Sula, has the worst homicide rate of any urban area in the world, almost 175 per 100,000.
What do Miss Universe and Miami Herald South America correspondent Jim Wyss have in common? Not a heck of a lot physically. But quite a bit symbolically: Left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would have liked to use both of them recently to distract voters from his so-far disastrous administration.
There are two basic realities about Cuba’s communist dictatorship that U.S. policy, and the anti-Castro hardliners that shape it, prefer to ignore. The first is that the Castro brothers will almost certainly die in power. The second is that market-oriented economic reforms, albeit tentative, are as much a part of Cuba’s landscape today as 1956 Chevrolets.
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.
Six years ago I visited an indigenous village in southern Mexico called Santa Cruz Mixtepec. It was, or used to be, one of those impoverished rural hamlets that sent most of its population over the U.S. border to find living-wage work.
Until somebody got the bright idea to start promoting small businesses there. Through micro-lending and other assistance, Santa Cruz Mixtepec began sprouting small but viable enterprises. A carpentry shop. An irrigated tomato greenhouse. A window-frame maker.
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During his glorious military career he logged 75,000 miles on horseback. Some might slyly suggest he also logged 75,000 lovers.
But as "The Liberator" that his admirers call him, or as the libertine that his detractors call him, Simón Bolívar’s life was epic – and so were the paradoxes that marked that life. Was South America’s 19th-century independence hero, best known to Americans as the George Washington of Latin America, the founder of his continent’s democracy? Or was he the archetype of its long line of dictatorial caudillos?