Latin America

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald


Even after thugs broke into Anahís Montiel’s house, dragged her into the street, murdered her with machetes and threw her corpse into a nearby ravine, they still had time to return to her home and rob everything while her husband and six children were forced to watch it all.

They had about eight hours, in fact, since local cops did nothing.

Military officials from 18 Latin American nations are meeting in Jacksonville to discuss the security of the Panama Canal.

It’s been a little more than a month since the first super-vessels made it through the newly expanded canal, but the future of trade in the region is uncertain.

Tim Padgett /

At a Brazilian restaurant in Doral called Brazuca’s, Danilo Leão is whipping up his most popular dish, feijoada. Pronounced fay-ZHWAH-dah, it's a heavenly stew of black beans, meats and spices created centuries ago by Brazilian slaves.

The photos wouldn't be out place in a Craigslist ad: "Three-room suite features tiled walls, plush chairs, flat-screen TV and plenty of storage. With a conference room and a cozy living room, it's perfect for both work and relaxation. Treadmill included!"

Except it's not an apartment: It's a three-room cell at the crowded Tacumbu prison in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY (Updated July 29, 2016)

On immigration, this month’s Republican and Democratic conventions were as different as pit bulls and collies.

Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Hillary Clinton enthusiasts weren’t the only people who attended Saturday’s rally at Florida International University.


Donald Trump supporters brought their signs and T-shirts too. One made fun of Clinton’s public email scandal, one read quote Lock her up, and one more said: “Latino Para Trump”.


Holding signs was 24 year-old Matthew Delfay. He said, he came to the rally because he doesn’t believe Clinton supports Latino family values.


Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald


Here’s a flashback from the Cold War tape loop we used to call Cuba policy:

In 2004, then U.S. President George W. Bush tightened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, including stricter limits on how often Cuban-Americans could visit family on the island. The aim was to pressure the communist regime in Havana to adopt democratic reforms.

“We’re not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom,” Bush said, “we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.”

Panama Canal Authority

The new, wider Panama Canal opened this month – and this week the disputes over its big cost overruns start getting settled -- in Miami, a fact that reflects South Florida’s growing international legal stature.

The expanded canal opened two years later than originally planned. A big reason was the legal fight over who should pay for the billions of dollars the project went over budget. The Panama Canal Authority? The European construction consortium? Or both?

Spencer Parts /

Puerto Rico’s economic crisis has gotten deeper this summer. This month the U.S. commonwealth defaulted on $1 billion of debt – and the U.S. Congress approved a federal oversight board to rescue the island.

Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland want a say in how that happens. So they recently created a more unified front called the National Puerto Rican Agenda (NPRA). The group includes a South Florida chapter – which reflects the surprising growth of Florida’s Puerto Rican population down here, not just in Central Florida.

Felipe Dana / AP via Miami Herald


When the Bahamas issued a travel advisory last weekend about visiting the U.S. – citing police brutality against black people – my first reaction was:

The Bahamas is warning Bahamians about cop cruelty against blacks in America? How about warning Bahamians about cop cruelty against blacks in the Bahamas?

Felipe Marrou / WLRN TV

Billy Causey has a keen eye for recreational boaters doing dumb things around vulnerable coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

Especially on heavy boating holidays like the Fourth of July.

“Lookee there,” says Causey as his boat heads out from Big Pine Key. He points to a nearby cluster of party boats. “A lot of them are up on the sea grasses and people are walking around on top of small colonies of coral.”

Eraldo Peres (left) and Molly Riley (right) / AP via Miami Herald


We’ve seen enough media comparisons of Donald Trump and Hugo Chávez to make us think they had the same father.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the late Venezuelan president are indeed nifty portraits of egomaniacal demagoguery. But if 2016 election pundits are looking to Latin America for ominously useful parallels, they might give the Donald-Hugo chatter a rest now and consider Hillary-Dilma.

Courtsey Pro Footvolley Tour

This story first aired on December 14, 2015.   

These days, if you’re sitting on a South Florida beach and someone shouts, “Shark attack!” it’s probably got nothing to do with “Jaws.” Instead, it’s all about feet.

Namely, a sport called footvolley.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

In Latin America, scientists have become more convinced of the link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and the birth defect known as microcephaly. Colombia is the one country that hasn’t fit the pattern. But that may now be changing.

Microcephaly causes unusually small heads and brains in newborn infants. Many Latin American countries – especially Brazil – have reported cases believed to be related to Zika infection in pregnant women. 

Moises Castillo / AP via Miami Herald

On Sunday morning, a 984-foot-long Chinese container vessel – aptly renamed Panama – became the first ship to enter the new, wider locks of the Panama Canal. The waterway’s $5.5 billion expansion ran over budget and almost two years behind schedule. But now that it can accommodate more massive, post-Panamax ships, it should be a boon to U.S. harbors like PortMiami.