Latin America

Americas
7:50 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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Americas
11:27 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Immigration Debate Marks Rising Clout Of Young Latinos

Jose Machado reacting last year to President Obama's decree halting the deportation of young undocumented immigrants (aka "DREAMers") like himself who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Credit Roberto Koltun/The Miami Herald

Jose Antonio Machado was brought to Miami as an undocumented immigrant from Matagalpa, Nicaragua, when he was six years old. He grew up here with his mother, Melba, also an indocumentada, until she was deported two years ago after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

“I expected her home at 11:15 p.m. that night,” says Machado, now an 18-year-old who graduated this month from Miami Senior High School. “Eventually I fell asleep. The next morning I realized she wasn’t there.”

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Americas
1:16 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Brazil's Indians Reclaim Land Citing Promises, Using Force

Indigenous leaders from Brazil's Terena tribe attend a meeting with government officials in the capital, Brasilia, on June 6. Brazil's Indians have been demanding greater land rights and are increasingly coming into conflict with large ranchers and farmers.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 9:59 pm

It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.

Indian activists say this is just the beginning.

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Americas
7:20 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Ecuador Says NSA Leaker Has Asked For Asylum

A TV screen shows a news report of Edward Snowden at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Vincent Yu Associated Press

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 5:20 pm

(This story was last updated at 5:17 p.m. ET)

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor accused of leaking classified surveillance information, has asked Ecuador for asylum, the country's foreign minister says.

Snowden left Hong Kong earlier Sunday bound for a "third country," the government in the Asian hub said. He later landed in Moscow.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca, who is on an official visit to Vietnam, said:

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Americas
7:17 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Brazil's President Offers Carrot And Stick To Protesters

Students from the eastern city of Sao Paulo protest on Friday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 2:16 pm

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has pledged a nationwide overhaul of public transportation, improved funding for schools and a crackdown on corruption in response to sometimes violent anti-government protests that have roiled the country for the past week.

In a 10-minute address broadcast on Friday, Rousseff broke her silence on the protests, saying she would spend more money on public transportation and divert some of the country's oil revenues to pay for education, The Associated Press reported. She also addressed widespread anger over government corruption.

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Americas
9:09 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Venezuelan Joggers Find Safety In Numbers

Some participants run for a mile, while some run for up to six miles.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:05 pm

It's dusk on a recent day in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, and for many, that's a signal to get inside. Crime and violence have become so widespread here, many people simply shut themselves in.

"Your house becomes your own prison," says Arturo Hidalgo. After about 8 or 9 at night, he says, "you better be home because otherwise you can get in trouble."

Hidalgo would know: He's been robbed before. The result, he says, is a deep-seated fear. For an avid runner, that's a problem.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

A New Era For U.S.-Latin American Relations?

In a special edition of The Florida Roundup, we focus on our broader region, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

China's President Xi Jinping recently concluded a visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, shortly after President Obama and Vice President Biden paid visits there.

We discuss if Obama's second term will include stronger Latin American relations and China's ambitions in the Western hemisphere. 

Plus: why Venezuelans are buying suitcases of toilet paper and other basic goods in South Florida.

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Americas
9:20 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Once Home To A Dreaded Drug Lord, Medellin Remakes Itself

Colombian army soldiers patrol Medellin's Loma de Cristobal neighborhood after warring gangs forced dozens of families to flee. Medellin used to be the most dangerous city in the world, but officials embarked on innovative projects designed to make life better in tough neighborhoods.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:03 pm

Of all the violent cities of Latin America, one stands out as a great success story: Medellin, a metropolis nestled in the mountains of northwest Colombia.

Once the home of the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, it recorded more than 6,300 homicides in 1991, making it the world's murder capital. Then, one city government after another built schools and libraries, parks and infrastructure. The police also received an overhaul and became more adept at going after violent trafficking groups.

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Americas
7:32 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Mass Kidnapping Puts Mexican Legal System On Trial

Images from posters made by relatives show 10 of the 12 young people kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City on May 26. No one has claimed responsibility for the brazen abduction.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:00 pm

Josephina Garcia Rodriguez and Leticia Ponce Ramos sip coffee and console each other at a restaurant in front of Mexico City's prosecutor's office. They're about to head into a meeting with the lead investigator in the case of their kidnapped sons.

"We're going on three weeks since they were kidnapped," Garcia says. "It's been some difficult days, really hard for us mothers. We just want our sons back home with us."

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Journalism
6:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

A Must Read For Mexican Youth, Animal Politico Arrives In Miami

Editor-in-Chief Daniel Eilemberg (left) and Creative Director Adrian Saravia (right) have set up shop in Miami in order to keep their eyes trained on Animal Politico’s future, which will likely involve opening at least one bureau in the United States.
Credit Linda Kinstler

On the second story of the posh Albion Hotel on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach sit the U.S. offices of Animal Politico, an online news site dedicated to Mexican politics that is quickly becoming one of the most respected—and hip—news sources in Latin America.

Founded in 2009 as an anonymous Twitter account called “PajaroPolitico,” or “Political Bird,” Animal Politico has quickly emerged as a must-read news source among Mexican youth.

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Americas
12:17 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Criminals Fleeing Rio Crackdown Set Up Shop In The Suburbs

Rio de Janeiro's Elite Special Forces Police Unit patrols the Caju favela complex as part of the pacification program designed to crack down on crime in advance of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:27 am

The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.

Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.

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Americas
12:10 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

In Colombia, A Town Badly Scarred By Wartime Rape

Isabel Narvaez, in El Placer, says she is still traumatized by the rape she suffered. The small hamlet in Colombia is just one place where women were victims of violent crimes during the civil conflict.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:08 pm

El Placer is a remote hamlet deep in southern Colombia, on the edge of the Amazon. Founded half a century ago by farmers who found it fertile and bucolic, its name means "The Pleasure."

But for women and girls in El Placer who suffered years of sexual assaults after an illegal armed group stormed in, the name is only associated with unspeakable violence and murder.

Brigitte Carreño, 25, is among the women who suffered. A feared local warlord in El Placer raped her when she was 12, leaving her with searing memories that remain vivid and painful to this day.

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Americas
12:05 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Honduras Claims Unwanted Title Of World's Murder Capital

Members of the 18th Street gang announce a truce during a press conference at a prison in San Pedro Sula, on May 28. The gang is involved in drug trafficking that has brought terror to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Loenel Cruz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:03 pm

Latin America is riddled with crime, and no place is more violent than Honduras. It has just 8 million people, but with as many as 20 people killed there every day, it now has the highest murder rate in the world.

It would be easy to blame drug trafficking. Honduras and its Central American neighbors have long served as a favored smuggling corridor for South American cocaine headed north to the U.S.

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Americas
2:24 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:05 pm

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

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Americas
11:41 am
Tue June 11, 2013

How Venezuelans in South Florida Are Shopping For Toilet Paper In Caracas

A woman in Venezuela stocks up on toilet paper and other necessities.
Credit El Mundo/Flickr

Last week a Venezuelan-American friend in New York sent me an e-mail raving about a new, free mobile phone app called Abastéceme. Its most important use: locating toilet paper. Well, that and about two dozen other basic everyday items, from rice to deodorant, which are in chronically short supply these days in Venezuela.

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