Latin America

Courtesy Pro Footvolley Tour

Lately you may have seen a strange marriage of soccer and volleyball playing out on your local beach. It’s called footvolley.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes to tweet verses from the Book of Proverbs, an Old Testament favorite among conservatives that says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

You could paraphrase that to describe the Republican Senator’s diplomatic philosophy: “Fear of America is the beginning of foreign policy.”

Rubio clings to the Cold War belief that the U.S. can and should make every geopolitical rogue from Cuba to North Korea cry uncle. So does President Trump.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN.org

More than 100,000 Venezuelan expats came out to vote in South Florida Sunday in a hastily arranged election that officially means nothing - but which could end up meaning a lot if the international community is paying attention.

Twitter via El Nuevo Herald

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López was released from prison over the weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that Venezuela’s unpopular socialist government remains firmly in power – thanks largely to the loyalty of Venezuela’s military leaders. Many of those top brass are accused of having links to drug trafficking – and they fear that if President Nicolás Maduro is overthrown, they’ll have to face justice.

The news out of Venezuela isn’t getting any better, with no resolution in sight to help the political and economic crisis. Meantime, food and medicine can still be hard to find, and street protests are now regular. This week also saw a group of government supporters attack opposition lawmakers with wooden sticks and metal bars, while national guardsmen stood by.

So, more Venezuelans are leaving, building communities elsewhere, including in places like Mexico City.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Note: This story was first broadcasted on Jan. 16, 2017. 

Elusive 'Drug Baron' Of Brazil Nabbed

Jul 2, 2017

Brazilian police say they have arrested the head of an international drug trafficking ring, whose facial plastic surgeries and violent acts of intimidation helped him evade capture for nearly three decades and make him the country's "most wanted."

Luiz Carlos da Rocha's criminal organization was a major supplier of cocaine abroad, including to the United States, according to police.

In recent years, a growing number of news and political websites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say has been a small but vibrant opening afforded them since former President Obama reestablished U.S. relations with Cuba. But others worry that President Trump's harder line toward the Communist Castro government could have a chilling effect on the independent media movement afoot.

Allison Light / WLRN

Residents of Little Havana pulled together to raise money and collected much-needed items Venezuela on Thursday. The oil-rich South American country is suffering from a severe economic collapse and a chronic shortage of food and medicine.

"Everything is needed. It's unbelievable," said Venezuelan Alfredo Rodriguez. He is one of the owners of El Jaleo de la Ocho, a Cuban restaurant on Southwest Eighth Street that hosted the fundraiser. He splits his time between his hometown of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and Miami.

YouTube

COMMENTARY

Since the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution came to power in 1999, its opponents have made more missteps than hacks like me can count. 

Franklin Gutierrez / St Vincent de Paul

Greilys arrived in South Florida two months ago from Los Teques, Venezuela, south of Caracas, with “a few dollars and four suitcases” – hounded out of her job and her country, she says, by an increasingly brutal socialist regime.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

President Trump’s Cuba speech in Miami last Friday offered chest-thumping, cold-war nostalgia sound-bites like:

“Now we hold the cards.”

“We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement.”

Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

More than 500 Latin American officials gathered downtown this week for the annual Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities.

 

The conference, which is hosted at the Hilton Downtown, includes panels and workshops about how to create sustainable development in Latin American municipalities by decentralizing government.

 

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Ricans want to become America’s 51st state. But right now it's doubtful America – at least President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress – feels the same way.

In a non-binding referendum on Sunday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 97 percent of those who voted chose statehood over the two other options: remaining a U.S. territory or becoming an independent country.

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