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Medellín is one of the century's most impressive comeback stories. Colombia's second largest city was once synonymous with the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and drug cartel terrorism. Today it's a modern, thriving - and mostly peaceful - metropolis.

But Medellín still can't shake its bloody reputation, as evidenced by the popularity of 'narco tours,' which show visitors key sites from the city's criminal past.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

This week a report by the Organization of Americans States said Venezuela was guilty of crimes against humanity. Venezuela’s regime promised today to release at least some of its political prisoners.

Alan Diaz / AP

COMMENTARY

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won another six-year term in an election so laughably rigged – and mostly boycotted by Venezuelans – it made last month’s presidential vote in communist Cuba look Jeffersonian.

Desmond Boylan / AP via Miami Herald

Cuban officials are still identifying the 111 people who died in last Friday’s crash of a Cubana Airlines 737 on takeoff from Havana. Two surviving passengers remain in critical condition. Some Cubans here hope the tragedy will bring changes to how Cuba – and the U.S. – approach air travel on the island.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If there were any doubts about the deadly madness of Venezuela’s dictatorial socialist regime, they were erased this week by a stunning Reuters report:

Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms – and often at a loss….”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

First of a three-part WLRN series, "Escape From Venezuela"

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | This is what the Venezuelan refugee crisis sounds like: the fists, knuckles and open palms of destitute – and above all hungry – Venezuelan migrants pounding on the metal gates of humanitarian relief stations here in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While a growing global chorus calls for Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega to step down, I’m thinking back to one of my favorite editorial cartoons.

It appeared 28 years ago, at the curtain call of Ortega’s first presidency – right after Nicaraguan voters tossed out him and his Marxist Sandinista party, ending their decade of authoritarian rule.

The cartoon shows Ortega rafting across the Caribbean to Cuba. Iconic communist dictator Fidel Castro stands onshore angrily shouting, “You lost a WHAT?!”

by Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Sundial's guests for Thursday, April 19, 2018: 

Dozens of students, parents and school staff in Broward County gathered for a discussion about campus safety with  Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and his top administrators. WLRN's Jessica Bakeman was in attendance.

WLRN

Sundial's guests for Wednesday, April 18:

Cuba's Raul Castro stepped down and the new leader of the communist island is Miguel Diaz-Canel. WLRN's Tim Padgett discusses what the new president means for U.S.-Cuba relations.

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Covering Cuba, I’ve long followed this maxim: If both the communist leadership in Havana and the exile leadership in Miami are angry at you, you’ve probably done your job right.

I felt that way 10 years ago this very week, when I wrote that Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl disagreed on economic policy.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

Updated April 19, 2018

Cuba’s likely new president is a good generation younger than the Castro crowd he’s replacing. The younger generation of Cuban exiles here doesn’t expect that to mean change on the communist island. But many say it’s better than what Cuba has now.

Ariana Cubillos, White House / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When President Trump announced this week that he won’t attend the Summit of the Americas in Peru on Friday and Saturday, a lot of Latin America watchers reacted with outrage.

An insult to our New World neighbors! A blown opportunity to mend hemispheric fences! We won’t get to see Donald and Melania not hold hands in historic Lima!

Sorry, folks – you should be popping champagne corks.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Ever since he ran away from immigration reform, Americans no longer look to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for bridge-building leadership on that issue. But I’m still willing to believe Rubio’s heart is in the right place, even if his head left the building.

So I was also willing to believe the Miami Republican was sincere when he told reporters in Tallahassee this week that he doesn’t “see the problem” with the Trump administration’s proposal to ask folks if they’re U.S. citizens in the 2020 Census.

U.S. Attorney Southern District of Florida

The Bay of Pigs is one of the darkest episodes of Cuban-American history. But that failed 1961 attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro had another dark result. Some of its resentful veterans came back to the U.S. to form a violent Cuban-American mafia called The Corporation.

Evan Vucci / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died two years ago, then U.S. President Barack Obama issued a lame response: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Mister Rogers would have offered a tougher assessment of Castro, a communist caudillo whose repressive revolution has ruled Cuba for 59 years. When Obama’s statement reached Havana, you could hear regime apparatchiks high-fiving each other all over the island.

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