Latin America Report

Immigration
6:08 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Gang Violence Pushes Even The Prosperous To Flee Central America

Saira, 23, fled Honduras with her two children, ages 7 and 4, to Miami.
Credit 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.

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Latin America Report
6:35 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Why Chikungunya – And The Mosquitoes – Are Overwhelming Haiti

MOMS VS MOSQUITOES: Haitian mothers and children await treatment for chikungunya symptoms in a PAHO information campaign
Credit 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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Latin America Report
6:54 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Brazilians: Look At Our Businesses, Not Our Bikinis

Fast Casual: Joao Barbosa at a South Florida Giraffas.
Credit CW Griffin / Miami Herald

To see Brazil for the first time is to see the New World for the first time.

That’s not a travel brochure cliché. If you’re in Rio de Janeiro, standing atop the Pão de Açúcar and surveying the Baía de Guanabara, it’s easy to recall what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the way any European must have felt upon arriving in the Americas five centuries ago: “…face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder.”

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Latin America Report
9:00 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Why Brazilians Worship Soccer -- And Why Their Leaders Can't Hide Behind It Anymore

Yellow-and-Green Fever: Brazilian World Cup fans at Boteco in Miami.
Credit Julia Duba / WLRN

Do Brazilians still care about soccer?

I know, that seems as dumb a question as "Does the Vatican still care about Jesus?" Brazilians are arguably the most soccer-passionate people on Earth.

But check out this poll result just before the World Cup started last week in Brazil: A majority of Brazilians said they were not happy about hosting international soccer’s biggest event.

That’s because Brazil’s World Cup preparations were such an embarrassment. And because the Cup’s billion-dollar cost overruns are such a source of anger for Brazilians right now.

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Latin America Report
3:39 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Could Trying To Forge Peace With Guerrillas Cost Colombia's President An Election?

Colombian presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (right) on video that allegedly shows him receiving hacked intelligence
Credit Semana

Any presidential election in Colombia these days is a matter of high stakes.

That’s because the country – now South America’s second-largest economy and the United States’ most important ally on that continent – is in the midst of peace talks with Marxist guerrillas known as the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC, to end a half-century-long civil war.

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Latin America Report
10:57 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Why Caribbean Rum Is The New Cognac – And Why Miami Is Its Showcase

Bye-bye Blackbeard: Aged rums in snifters waiting to be tasted at the Miami Rum Fest.
Credit Miami Rum Fest

There was a time when rum was rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it. Rum and croak.

Fast forward a few centuries to rum respectability – specifically, to Rob Burr’s patio deck in Coral Gables.

From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, it sets a mood not for swilling rum but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon. Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.

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Latin America Report
9:29 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

How A Doral Woman Became A Victim Of Anti-Chavista Witch Hunts

Pietra Diwan in front of her Brazilian sweets business in Miami
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN

Pietra Diwan takes pride in the master’s degree she earned in history back in her native Brazil. But a passion for historical accuracy may cost her the business she built here in South Florida.

As a historian, Diwan pays attention to document details. That’s why she raised flags last month when Venezuelan friends here started posting Facebook photos of the ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela.

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Latin America Report
4:16 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

What My Talks With Hugo Taught Me About Chavismo In Venezuela

Hugo Chavez (left) talking to Tim Padgett in 2006
Credit Steve Pyke

Back in 1998, just before he was first elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez described his socialist revolution to me:

“Our revolution is like a river and the rain,” he said with typical bravado. “It’s a natural force.”

These days, it’s looking more like a spent force.

Today, March 5, marks the first anniversary of Chávez’s death from cancer. He was still in power when he died, and his revolution still rules Venezuela.

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Latin America Report
7:36 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Colombia's Peace Crisis: Pres. Santos Confronts The Skeptics – And The Spies

Credit El Nuevo Herald

This week’s Colombian voter poll had to feel like a back-handed compliment for President Juan Manuel Santos.

The new survey by the Bogotá research firm Ipsos-Napoleón Franco shows Santos with a 17-point lead over his closest competitor in his bid to win re-election in May. But Santos garners just 25 percent of the vote. Half of those polled said they were undecided or intend to cast a blank protest ballot. That’s hardly cause for cumbia dancing at the Casa de Nariño presidential palace.

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