Latin America

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Its economy relies to an absurd extent on the low-wage tourism sector. Because it lacks higher-wage, tech-oriented jobs, its average citizens struggle to bridge the chasm between their incomes and their exorbitant living costs.

But so what? It’s a sunny town on a bay with muy caliente Latin flavor. The visitors and their money will keep coming and keep the place afloat. Besides, it’s got more important things to worry about – like a mortal political enemy 90 miles away.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Last fall Colombia was being called “the Brexit of the Americas.” That’s because, in stunning Brexit fashion, voters there had just rejected a peace agreement to end the country’s half-century-long civil war. Most Colombians felt the accord was too lenient toward the Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

Typically, when people are in the court system they want their cases heard as quickly as possible. But asylum requests are different.

Courtesy

COMMENTARY

If you’ve lived in Miami long enough, you’re used to seeing all things Cuban – all things – refracted through a political prism.

Music. Art. Baseball. Rum. Animal rights activists in lettuce bikinis promoting veganism in Havana. (Yeah, see the angry comments on my report about that last month.)

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Puerto Rico is still mired in one of the worst economic crises in the island’s history. Its new young governor, Ricardo Rosselló, is on a campaign to turn things around - and he's betting an important ally will be South Florida’s booming Puerto Rican diaspora.

Rosselló is only 38 years old. But he’s leveraging his youthful energy in an effort not only to reform the U.S. territory’s disastrous finances but to change the often dysfunctional relationship between the U.S.  government  and Puerto Rico – whose residents are U.S. citizens.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Last summer the first U.S. commercial flights to Cuba in more than half a century took off to jubilant fanfare - and landed to cheers and water cannon salutes. U.S. airlines were giddy about resuming commercial flights to the communist island.

Maybe too giddy.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

President Trump’s rough rhetoric toward Mexico suggests his relationship with Latin America could be rocky. But the security challenges there remain daunting. That was the subject of a major Florida International University gathering on Thursday - a conference that made it clear the U.S. will need to summon a more involved hemispheric strategy than just building a wall.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

South Miami teacher Jorge Cast has his enemies of the people all neatly figured out – including the mainstream media.

“My family came from Cuba, and they taught me something very basic,” Cast told WLRN last Saturday at a rally in Tropical Park in support of President Trump.

“When the media tells you something is white, you believe it’s black. When they tell you it’s right, you believe it’s wrong.”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org


PETA

The Kardashians have visited Cuba. So have Chanel models. So it was just a matter of time before animal rights activists showed up wearing bikinis made of lettuce. Right?

They did indeed fly to Cuba on Tuesday – but something might be wrong with this picture.

Most people want Cuba to be democratic. They want it to be Internet accessible. Now the Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wants the island to get vegan.

YouTube (left); Tim Padgett(right) / WLRN.org

For some of his countrymen, Venezuelan cross-country skier Adrián Solano’s performance in Finland last week was uplifting – even though it involved a lot of falling down. To others it was mucha pena. Really embarrassing.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

It’s Valentine's Day. And once again, Latin America is front and center: Colombian roses. Venezuelan chocolate. Argentine tango.

But here’s another Latin love link guys like Erik Calviño want you to consider: Caribbean cigars.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

It has been a year since Haiti has had an elected president. On Tuesday one was at last inaugurated: Jovenel Moïse. And among the witnesses were Haitian-Americans from South Florida who played a role in making it happen.

Haiti’s been torn by violent election chaos since 2015. But businessman Moïse was finally elected President in November and sworn in Tuesday morning in Port-au-Prince.

Tornasol Films/Netflix

Veteran actor Jorge Perugorría was a smart choice to play detective Mario Conde – if only because Perugorría is 51 years old.

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