Latin America Report

the Miami Herald

The mayors of Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami and a Hialeah commissioner are worried. They all say the county's not financially prepared for the imminent arrival of thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica.

Last week,  a deal was made to airlift the  Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica to El Salvador so they can travel through Mexico to the U.S.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks it should be the job of the federal government to take care of the migrants.  

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

It’s a Saturday night at the Amor Viviente evangelical church in North Lauderdale. And it’s rocking.

A church band has the flock on its feet, clapping and belting out pop Christian hymns. Most are Honduran migrants. And most are young — many were part of the wave of 60,000 unaccompanied Central American minors who showed up on the U.S. border in 2014.

Among them is a 15-year-old Honduran boy named Daniel, one of the thousands who came to South Florida. (He asked that his last name not be used because his immigration case is pending.)

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

The vast Caracas slum known as Catia was a cradle of the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution. Now it looks more like his regime’s coffin.

Few barrios have been hit as hard by Venezuela’s economic and social collapse after 17 years of left-wing rule. By the world’s highest inflation rate. By South America’s worst murder rate. By an orgy of government corruption. And by the long and beleaguering lines people endure every day for scarce food and medicine – a perverted postcard from the Western Hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation.

The easing of travel restrictions to Cuba could unleash a torrent of 'Yanqui' tourists, something that has the potential to transform a poor island that is rich in history, architecture and natural beauty.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Cuban culture has dominated Miami for decades. Cuban-Americans are the area’s largest Latino group and have loads of political representation.

 

But the number -- and influence -- of immigrants from other Latin American countries is growing. And there’s a tense debate over the immigration privileges Cubans enjoy -- because no other immigrant group gets them.

Gaston de Cardenas / El Nuevo Herald

Guatemala is full of sublime volcanic geography, rich Maya culture – and some of the world’s most sinister politics.

Politically motivated murder is so commonplace in Guatemala that a foreign diplomat once quipped that even drunks watch what they say about the issues.

What happened Sunday, though, is no joke: By a landslide, Guatemalans chucked their political establishment and elected a TV comedian – Jimmy Morales – as their next president.

Carnival Corp.

What would a U.S. tourist invasion of Cuba be without yanqui cruise ships – especially cruise ships owned by the Miami-based Carnival Corporation?

Last summer the Obama Administration gave U.S. cruise lines the green light to drop anchor for the communist island. Pending Cuba’s approval, Carnival plans to have its Fathom brand’s 710-passenger ship Adonia heading to Havana’s port by May. It will mark the first time in more than half a century that a U.S.-owned cruise vessel has docked there.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

El Edén in Honduras is no paradise for those on trek to the U.S.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    It seems the entire world is wrestling with immigration emergencies today. And lest you think the western hemisphere’s crisis is over, consider the look on Oscar Ortega’s face.

He just got a WhatsApp message that made his eyes pop.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Reform and beefed-up police presence is making Hondurans feel safer.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    On June 26, 2014, 13-year-old Andrea Argeñal had just dropped her young cousins off at school in the Rivera Hernández section of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. Relatives say it’s the sort of favor she frequently did for her family.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Some U.S.-funded programs help would-be immigrants improve their lives and stay home.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Here’s the first thing to know about Jessel Recinos: He’s a breathtaking rollerblader.

Almost every day, Recinos skates in Cofradía Park in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. He spins, makes hairpin turns and takes soaring jumps, his long locks blowing like wind socks. Kids scream his name as if he were a Honduran sports icon.

Here’s the second thing to know about Recinos: He should probably be dead.

A Hate Crime Haunts Jupiter And Its Latino Community

Jul 13, 2015
Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Maria Murriel / WLRN

Polls have shown most Cuban exiles who fled the island in the '60s and '70s oppose lifting the embargo and don't believe rekindling diplomatic relationships is a smart, or permissible, political move.

But professor Jorge Duany, head of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, says it's different for younger Cuban-Americans.

"In many cases," he says, "they're willing to try a different way to relate to Cuba."

Chris Alvarez, 31, and Arianna Mendez, 22, are dating. They each relate differently to the island of their ancestors.

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?

Saira / Courtesy

The country is grappling with how to handle the influx of Central American children who have come to the United States over the past few months. And as Central America has become more and more violent, more families have been coming to South Florida too.

Over the last year more than 55,000 families were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s almost six times more than the same time period a year ago.

Florida is one of the top five states receiving this influx of immigrants.

PanAmerican Health Organization

The case of Marie Therese Lindor helps explain why chikungunya is spreading so widely and rapidly through Haiti.

As she’s done so many times before, Lindor traveled from New York earlier this year to visit relatives in Haiti. But in May, about a week before she was due to return, she got sick.

Really sick.

“The fever lasted for four days,” Lindor says. “I sat down and couldn’t get up. My body and all of my bones hurt. The second day I was bedridden. I needed help to bathe.”

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