Brazilian investors buy Miami real estate. Haitian earthquake survivors attend South Florida schools. It's clear what happens in Latin America and the Caribbean has a profound effect on South Florida.

WLRN’s coverage of the region is headed by Americas editor Tim Padgett, a 23-year veteran of TIME and Newsweek magazines.

He joins a team of reporters and editors at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and NPR to cover a region whose cultural wealth, environmental complexity, vast agricultural output and massive oil reserves offer no shortage of important and fascinating stories to tell.

Tim Padgett /

It’s been almost a year since President Obama announced the U.S. was normalizing relations with communist Cuba. Some Cuban dissidents embrace the move. But others - including artist Danilo Maldonado, known as "El Sexto" - say it’s done little to improve human rights on the island.

“El Sexto" (which means "the Sixth" in Spanish) just got out of prison in Cuba and is visiting Miami this week to convey that message.

PENAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica — As summer began to bake the central Cuban city of Sancti Spiritus, Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez sold their tiny apartment and everything in it for $5,000 and joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades.

Kenya Downs / For WLRN

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago boasts one of the world's largest carnivals. Dating back to 1783, the pre-Lenten celebration blends French, African and Indian cultures, all leading up to two days of masquerading, also called “playing mas.”

And unlike its South American counterpart in Brazil, anyone can take to the streets in a glitzy, colorful costume, dancing through Port of Spain to the sounds of sweet soca music.

The easing of travel restrictions to Cuba could unleash a torrent of 'Yanqui' tourists, something that has the potential to transform a poor island that is rich in history, architecture and natural beauty.

Courtesy Daniel Shoer Roth

In one respect, the late Roman Catholic Archbishop Agustín Román was just like many of his fellow Cuban exiles he ministered to for almost half a century in Miami.

As long as the communist regime that expelled him and so many other priests at gunpoint in the 1960s remained in power, Román would never return there. And until he died in 2012, he never did.

A federal grand jury in New York has indicted two nephews of Venezuela's powerful first lady for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 29, and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 30, were charged in a one-count indictment filed in New York. They will appear before a judge on Thursday afternoon.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Cuban culture has dominated Miami for decades. Cuban-Americans are the area’s largest Latino group and have loads of political representation.


But the number -- and influence -- of immigrants from other Latin American countries is growing. And there’s a tense debate over the immigration privileges Cubans enjoy -- because no other immigrant group gets them.