Latin America

Fernando Llano / AP

Every day thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country to escape the worst economic collapse in the world today. Many have come to South Florida. Venezuela’s GDP is sinking so deep, and its hyperinflation is rising so fast, it’s hard to keep track of exchange rates, food prices, minimum wages, foreign reserves and other critical economic indicators. And the authoritarian socialist regime is trying to keep a lot of that embarrassing data hidden.

An invitation for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to attend the Summit of the Americas has been withdrawn after the Latin American country's decision to hold early presidential elections – a move seen as all but shutting out the opposition.

In a terse statement on Tuesday, Peru's Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovin said Maduro's "presence will no longer be welcome" at the Summit of the Americas, a regional policy gathering scheduled this year to be held in Lima in April.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

South Florida has petal power. Just about all the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami, where they're the No. 1 import.

Luis Hidalgo / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Last week, on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s 7-day tour of Latin America, I all but wrote that I felt sorry for the man.

Here was Tillerson embarking on a mission to drum up more regional support for U.S. foreign policy goals like the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Yet he had the ball-and-chain of President Trump’s anti-Latin American jabs –  calling Mexicans “rapists,” Haiti a “shithole” – hanging from his foot.

Courtsey Diana Caballero

Sometimes an accent can render a language sexy. Even elegant.

Orlando Sierra / AFP/Getty Images via El Nuevo Herald

COMMENTARY

When Rex Tillerson leaves for his first visit to Latin America as Secretary of State on Thursday, he’ll have the ominous warnings of two Cuban-American Senators ringing in his ears.

But it’s not communist Cuba that’s got Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey in a lather. It’s Mexico – the first stop on the Secretary of State’s five-nation itinerary.

Flickr

“Doctor Zhivago,” the romanticized epic about the Russian Revolution, premiered in 1965 and it just screened in Cuba for the first time this week.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last week the renowned Key West Literary Seminar held its 36th annual gathering – and the theme of this year’s four-day event was “Writers of the Caribbean.” Thanks to President Trump, it turned out the organizers could not have picked a timelier subject.

Fernando Antonio / AP via Miami Herald

While the world has been focused on ant-government protests in Iran, deadly demonstrations are also raging much closer to South Florida – in Honduras.

More than 30 people have been killed during unrest there since the presidential election in late November – which many are calling fraudulent. Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández was declared the winner, but serious irregularities have caused his opponents to call for a month of uprising to prevent him from being sworn in on Jan. 27.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Rising dictatorship in Venezuela. Wrenching disaster in Puerto Rico. 2017 was not an especially pleasant year in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

This month, when you walk into a Colombian café in Kendall called La Candelaria, you’re met by música decembrina. December music. Meaning, Colombian Navidad or Christmas music. Old-time cumbia favorites like “El Año Viejo.”

Adopta un Bolsillo / Twitter

This Friday, Dec. 15, is the day Puerto Rico’s governor pledged to have all the island’s electric power restored. That’s not going to happen – but some Puerto Ricans have gotten power back after their long, long night in the dark.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last Friday, with dignitaries and civic hoopla, the new home of the ICA – the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami  – was inaugurated in the Design District. It was an exuberant kick-off to Miami’s Art Week.

But even then, the air was much quieter behind the new museum building, in its patio sculpture garden. In that more contemplative space, one immense sculpture stood out – not only because it’s striking but because it’s achingly somber. And because it’s very timely.

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