Latin America

Politics
6:24 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Venezuelan Elections: Maduro's Counter-Counter-Revolution

Nicolás Maduro at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's funeral in Caracas last March.
Credit Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

When socialist Nicolás Maduro eked out last April’s special presidential election in Venezuela, I wrote:  “Even if Maduro won, he lost.”

Maduro defeated the opposition candidate – the same challenger Maduro's mentor Hugo Chávez had trounced just six months earlier by an 11-percent margin – by only 1.6 percent of the vote. Maduro’s lame performance shook the socialists’ claim that Chávez’s revolution would be just as dominant without Chávez, who had died of cancer in March after ruling Venezuela for 14 years.

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Art Basel
8:12 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Brazil ArtFair Pushing Latin Artists To Basel Forefront

"A Cara de Reprovação" (The Face of Disapproval) by Brazilian artist Sesper, at Brazil ArtFair
Credit Brazil ArtFair/Galeria Logo

Brazil has proved itself a global force in soccer and music, architecture and business. But there’s one area where the South American giant has yet to produce a Pelé or a Veloso, a Niemeyer or an Embraer: art.

That seems odd considering Brazil’s richly creative culture and its awesomely idyllic surroundings. Mexico can claim the marquee power of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Colombia has Botero. But the Brazilian art scene “is still finding its way internationally,” says São Paulo entrepreneur and art promoter Michel Serebrinsky.

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Opinion
2:17 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mandela, Castro And The Caribbean Street

Nelson Mandela visits Fidel Castro and Cuba in 1990.
Credit cubahora.cu

If you live on the Caribbean street – and Florida is part of that street – here are three ways of looking at Nelson Mandela’s death yesterday.

Each, not surprisingly, involves Cuba and Fidel Castro. But in a larger sense they involve how immaturely we practice politics on this street – and how immaturely the world beyond this street views our politics.

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Americas
3:34 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

With Miami's Help, Colombia Trades Battle Lines For Zip Lines

Cartagena, Colombia, at sunset
Credit Flickr

When I interviewed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos last year in Bogotá, he crowed about foreign investment pouring into his country. A nation considered a failed, civil war-torn narco-state less than a decade ago was now one of South America’s hottest money magnets, doubling its take from the previous year.

“This is completely out of anyone’s imagination,” Santos said.

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Science
6:36 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

How We Left Hurricanes In Our Dust This Year – Literally

What we dodged this year: Haitians struggle through Hurricane Sandy's devastating floods last year.
Credit Carl Juste / Miami Herald

It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.

And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.

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Americas
5:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

The Mistakes Of Martelly: Why Haiti's President Faces Angry Unrest

Haitian president Michel Martelly meets with Spain's prime minister.

    

When Michel Martelly was elected President of Haiti in 2011, expectations for his performance as a head of state were fairly low. And in many respects, unfortunately, he’s met them.

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Mid-day Links
2:51 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Nov. 18-22

Miss Universe, Venezuela's Gabriela Isler.

  This pre-holiday week, from Nov. 18-22, we brought you a bit of nostalgia (see our "Delis Of Yore" post below), some future planning (that's two proposals for Miami-Dade structures) and a little current analysis in the form of beauty-pageant criticism.

Well, we brought you much more than just that. But here's what you liked best:

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Americas
7:40 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Haunted Hondurans: Fleeing The Most Violent Place On Earth

Honduran soccer fans cheer the national team at Miami Gardens' Sun Life Stadium.
Credit Miami Herald

What do you when you live in the most violent place on earth and you can’t take another day of it?

We’re not talking about Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan. This is about Honduras, in Central America, little more than a two-hour flight from Miami. It has the highest murder rate of any nation in the world today, more than 80 per 100,000 people. Its second largest city, San Pedro Sula, has the worst homicide rate of any urban area in the world, almost 175 per 100,000.

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Americas
5:19 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

How Venezuela Won Miss Universe – And Lost Its Relevance

Miss Unvierse 2013, Venezuela's Gabriela Isler
Credit Wikipedia.org

What do Miss Universe and Miami Herald South America correspondent Jim Wyss have in common? Not a heck of a lot physically. But quite a bit symbolically: Left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would have liked to use both of them recently to distract voters from his so-far disastrous administration.

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Americas
10:22 am
Thu November 7, 2013

A Soft — And Prosperous — Landing For Cubans Is In The U.S.'s Interest

A private Cuban shop vendor
Credit Brookings Institution

There are two basic realities about Cuba’s communist dictatorship that U.S. policy, and the anti-Castro hardliners that shape it, prefer to ignore. The first is that the Castro brothers will almost certainly die in power. The second is that market-oriented economic reforms, albeit tentative, are as much a part of Cuba’s landscape today as 1956 Chevrolets.

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Americas
8:07 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Miami Versus Pinochet: As Chile Holds An Election, It Recalls Justice in Florida

Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship killed or "disappeared" roughly 3,000 Chileans.
Credit Center for Justice and Accountability

Chile’s northern Atacama Desert is arguably the driest place on Earth. In some parts of it, rainfall has never even been recorded.

Which means, if you’re a mass murderer, it’s also a fairly dumb place to bury your victims.

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Americas
11:19 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Think Driving In South Florida Is Scary? Try Brazil

Brazilian carmakers, capitalizing on rising demand as the nation’s middle class expands, are making a 10% profit these days, twice the global average.
Credit emergingmoney.com

Like Miami Herald sportswriter David J. Neal, who wrote so eloquently about his boyhood memories of the Indianapolis 500, I’m a Hoosier-turned-Miamian who spent many a May in my own youth at the world’s most famous race car track.

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Americas
11:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Miami (And The U.S.) Are Becoming Latin America

A homeless man in Miami.
Credit Surrender Ministries

There's an old joke about Miami: Latin Americans love to visit the city because it's so close to the United States.

Then there’s the chestnut about Miami being the capital of Latin America. Or, Miami is Latin America where the phones work. And so on.

The point is, Miami takes pride in saying, We are Latin America as much as we are America. And that’s a good thing.

Except when it’s not.

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed September 18, 2013

New Book Explains Why Simón Bolívar Is Both Deified, Demonized

The cover of Arana's new book on Bolivar.
Credit mariearana.net

During his glorious military career he logged 75,000 miles on horseback. Some might slyly suggest he also logged 75,000 lovers.

But as "The Liberator" that his admirers call him, or as the libertine that his detractors call him, Simón Bolívar’s life was epic – and so were the paradoxes that marked that life. Was South America’s 19th-century independence hero, best known to Americans as the George Washington of Latin America, the founder of his continent’s democracy? Or was he the archetype of its long line of dictatorial caudillos?

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Americas
5:31 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

As Economy Cools, Brazilians Find Themselves Trapped In Debt

A woman looks at clothes inside a shop in Rio de Janeiro. Consumption has been a huge driver of the Brazilian economy, but the boom years are over, and economists say the outlook isn't good.
Sergio Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:44 pm

It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with — and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.

"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."

She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank — which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.

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