Latin America

18 Degrees North

Eighteen degrees north is the latitude where Jamaica and much of the Caribbean sit. It’s also the name of a new television newsmagazine show, perhaps the first to take an unflinching look at the problems and potential of the Caribbean.

“18 Degrees North” is in its second season. It debuted in South Florida this summer, airing Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on CBS affiliate WBFS-TV, My 33. It’s hosted by former Bloomberg TV reporter Zahra Burton.

PanAmerican Health Organization

The case of Marie Therese Lindor helps explain why chikungunya is spreading so widely and rapidly through Haiti.

As she’s done so many times before, Lindor traveled from New York earlier this year to visit relatives in Haiti. But in May, about a week before she was due to return, she got sick.

Really sick.

“The fever lasted for four days,” Lindor says. “I sat down and couldn’t get up. My body and all of my bones hurt. The second day I was bedridden. I needed help to bathe.”

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, we're introducing you to a new word today. It's Portunol. It's a language - well, sort of. It's a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese and it is how many Spanish-speaking fans at the World Cup are communicating with their Portuguese-speaking, Brazilian cousins. The results are not always pretty. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has this reporter's notebook on South America's great language divide.

Michael Femia / Creative Commons

The music of several Caribbean island nations will play this Saturday at Young Circle Park in Hollywood, for the Colors of the Caribbean festival.

The event will celebrate the eighth anniversary of Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

The free family celebration will include performances by Jamaican reggae artist Wayne Wonder and reggae-roots group Midnite, from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Keith Dannemiller / Photo courtesy of the International Organization for Migration. ©2014 IOM

There’s a network of freight trains that runs the length of Mexico from its southernmost border with Guatemala north to the United States. In addition to grain, corn or scrap metal, these trains are carrying an increasing number of undocumented immigrants who aim to cross into the U.S.

And despite the many deadly challenges it poses, more and more children—both with adults and alone—have been risking the journey. That prompted President Obama this week to warn of "an urgent humanitarian situation."

As a teenager, I fell in love with two very different musical genres: punk rock and cumbia — that Caribbean-born music with a contagious two-beat shuffle.

To purists of either, my musical promiscuity might have seemed blasphemous, but to me, it was a logical combination. Cumbia is more punk than punk itself. And many years later, when I discovered Mexican DJ Ali Gua Gua, and her group Kumbia Queers, I was elated with their unique brand of "tropi punk." They got it.

Edgar Alberto Dominguez / World Economic Forum

The Panama Canal is expanding, but is Panama's democracy shrinking? The country is holding a presidential election on Sunday, May 4 -- and there are growing concerns that right-wing President Martinelli is trying an end run around the constitution.

Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr CC

A lot of people have been throwing a lot of cold water lately on the notion of Miami as a high-tech “Silicon Beach.”

Even Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine this year called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

Miami Rum Fest

There was a time when rum was rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it. Rum and croak.

Fast forward a few centuries to rum respectability – specifically, to Rob Burr’s patio deck in Coral Gables.

From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, it sets a mood not for swilling rum but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon. Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.

Ricardo Timão / Flickr

Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday at age 87, provided one of the eerier moments of my journalism career.

In 1996, a colleague and I had been conducting a series of interviews with the Colombian Nobel laureate about his newest book, called “News of a Kidnapping.” It was a nonfiction work on his country’s violent drug-crime culture. Shortly after García Márquez sent the final proofs to his publisher, I called him at his Mexico City home and he sounded shaken.

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