Latin America

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Venezuela just finished another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week on both the financial and security fronts. And it suggests things could get even worse.

Andres Martinez Casares / For the Miami Herald

Even for a fiend as monumentally corrupt as he was, the first words out of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s mouth upon his return to Haiti in 2011 were shamelessly dishonest.

“I came back to help my country,” Baby Doc said after ending 25 years in exile in France.

Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator nicknamed "Baby Doc" after he succeeded his father in ruling the country, has died. Duvalier was the president of Haiti from 1971 to 1986, a brutal regime that ended in his exile. He returned to the country in 2011.

Duvalier died of a heart attack, reports Haiti Libre.

The new film The Liberator is an attempt to bring the epic story of Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of Latin America, to international audiences. Directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo, it's one of the most expensive Latin American productions to date and features epic battle scenes, rousing speeches and stunning landscapes in the spirit of historical epics like Braveheart.

Tom Hudson

    

It's a familiar saying among exporters -- South Florida is the shopping cart for Latin America.

From cell phones to gold, medicine to aircraft parts, it all leaves the United States from South Florida destined for overseas markets. While the pace of trade is down from a year ago, according to trade media company WorldCity, the seaports and airports here maintain a trade surplus.

Pilar Calderon / Presidencia de Colombia

Today’s international affairs quiz: Would you rather see Venezuela denied a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, or would you prefer to see an end to Colombia’s eternal civil war?

Pick one. Can’t have both.

That’s at least what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told me this week during our interview in New York, where he and a host of other heads of state are gathered for the U.N. General Assembly.

freedigitalphotos.net

The list of things that threaten the U. S. economy is long, indeed. But here's one item that might not have occurred to you.

Speaking bad English.

As the Brookings Institution scopes it out in a report released Wednesday, immigrants seeking work in the U. S. often have to settle for jobs beneath their qualifications just because their English is not up to snuff.

freedigitalphotos.net

Cristina Quintanilla’s tragic story now includes a sad epilogue.

Quintanilla was 18 when she suffered a miscarriage at her home in rural El Salvador. But when she awoke on an operating table that night in 2004, she didn’t see doctors. She saw cops.

Someone on the hospital staff had accused Quintanilla of inducing an abortion. And abortion under any circumstance is a felony in El Salvador.

“They arrested me while I was in surgery,” says Quintanilla, now 28. “I was handcuffed to the bed. They didn’t care how badly I was hemorrhaging or how terrified I was.”

Miami Herald

When you’ve spent your entire life on a communist island where staples like eggs and chicken are rationed, lunch in Miami can be overwhelming.

Ask Sandra Aldama, a Cuban mother and former special education teacher who made her first visit to the United States this month. Settling into a downtown Italian restaurant as waiters whizzed by with plates of fettuccine alfredo and veal parmesan, Aldama was almost certainly reminded of what the average Cuban can’t get at home.

Panama Canal Authority

The original version of this report was published on May 13 2014.

PortMiami has finally opened its new, billion-dollar tunnel. It’s the jewel of a $2 billion port makeover, which includes a major dredging project and skyscraper-size loading cranes for sending a lot more auto parts to Brazil and getting a lot more handbags from China.

But the long-term success of that effort may depend to a large extent on whether a quarrel gets solved a thousand miles to the south. In Panama.

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