Latin America

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Jessel Recinos grew up on some of Honduras’ poorest and deadliest streets – and the country's ubiquitous gang violence nearly ended his life when he was still a kid.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’m eating crow on both sides of the Florida Straits today.

I owe an apology on this side to the Carnival Corporation. And one al otro lado to the Cuban government.

I wrote a column this week predicting it would snow in Havana before Cuba changed a rule that barred anyone born in Cuba, including those living in the U.S., from entering or leaving the island by ship.

File photo / El Nuevo Herald

Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand ship will cruise to Cuba May 1 as planned and Cuban-Americans will be welcome on board.

Cuban state media are reporting this morning that starting next Tuesday, anyone born in Cuba will now be allowed to enter and leave the island by ship. Until now, all Cuban-born persons - even those living in the U.S. - were barred from doing so under Cuban migration policy.

Ismael Franco / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Does the Carnival Corporation know something the rest of us don’t?

Because if it doesn’t, its Fathom cruise ship may not be heading to Cuba for a long time.

American businessmen, lawyers and government officials – in their eagerness to make hay from the normalization of U.S.-Cuba ties – too often forget a paramount rule about striking deals with communist Cuba:

It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s politics, both there and here.

DNGUAH / YouTube

If there’s one parcel of waterfront turf South Florida real estate videos love to gush about, it’s the Sunset Islands.

Located just north of the Venetian Causeway, the four isles feature some of the ritziest properties in Miami – a Planet One-Percent where long yachts are docked next to multimillion-dollar mansions.

Superstar celebs like Shakira have digs there.

And until recently, so did the former head of Brazil’s national soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira.

'Two Friends' Veloso And Gil Bring Brazil's Tropicália Songs To Miami

Apr 18, 2016
Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Two Brazilian musical icons performed in South Florida over the weekend. In their heyday they were as important to Latin American music as the Beatles were to rock and roll.

Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are both 73 today. But they haven’t slowed down. They’ve just released a live, acoustic retrospective album of their songs called “Two Friends, One Century of Music.”

 

Jose Luis Magana / AP via Miami Herald

This week Cuban-Americans here in South Florida have protested against a Cuban law that bars them from entering Cuba by ship. Thursday they got high-level backing. Presidential cabinet-level.

Eraldo Peres / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, made a particularly sensible point when I talked to him during his visit to Miami this week.

The recent normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations, Almagro said, is good for the Western Hemisphere because it “has changed the logic of relations between Latin America and the United States.”

Susan Walsh / AP via Miami Herald

Luis Almagro is the Secretary General of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). As the head of the largest intergovernmental body in the Americas, Almagro has his eyes on a number of crises these days  not least of which is the possible impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff this week. But he does see one unusually bright spot in the Americas: The normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

And he hopes the two countries keep the ball moving forward.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

On Saturday, Cuba’s communist leaders will launch their seventh party congress – a gathering to set the island’s future political and economic course. It will run through Tuesday, April 19.

The last congress was held five years ago – but since then, Cuba has normalized relations with its sworn cold-war enemy, the United States.

Arnulfo Franco / AP via Miami Herald

Not surprisingly, the Panama Papers controversy that erupted this week is shining a renewed spotlight on the financial practices of…Panama. Money-laundering experts say that's a good thing – and it just might be a good thing for South Florida too.

The massive leak of documents confirms at least two things:

Panamanian law firms are very prolific at creating offshore firms where clients can secretly park vast sums of money.

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

In his historic speech from Havana last week, President Obama called for a number of changes in Cuba. More human rights. More economic reform.

But the one that seemed to elicit the most applause from Cubans was his call for more Internet – which Obama said “should be available across the island so that Cubans can connect to the wider world – and to one of the greatest engines of growth in human history.”

Only 5 percent of the island’s 11 million people have full household access to the Web. That’s one of the lowest –and slowest – Internet coverage rates in the world.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP via Miami Herald

The world is buzzing over the viral video of President Obama dancing tango Wednesday night at a state dinner during his visit to Argentina. And no one is watching it more than tango instructors, especially here in South Florida. Today they seemed to give el presidente thumbs up.

WhiteHouse.gov

COMMENTARY

Shortly after Barack Obama’s historic speech in Havana Tuesday morning, I met a smart, 34-year-old Cuban accountant named Kariel González in the Vedado district.

He’d listened to President Obama on the radio, and he was cheering the U.S. leader's last line – ¡Sí Se Puede! – a Spanish rendering of his iconic campaign slogan, Yes We Can!

González said he'd already heard Cubans repeat the soundbite on the sidewalks. “It’s the sort of thing that makes Obama so popular on the island,” he told me.

Cubans Embrace President Obama's Call For Change On The Island

Mar 23, 2016
Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

It's fairly apparent that President Obama's historic speech to Cubans yesterday was received positively on the island.

Obama called for democracy, free expression and a freer economy during his 35-minute speech at the Gran Teatro in Old Havana Tuesday morning. Obama even directly addressed Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who was in the audience, telling him the U.S. presidential visit means he no longer needs to fear Cuba's Cold War foe.

"I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas," Obama declared in perhaps the linchpin line of his speech.

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