Americas

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 produces the weekly Latin America Report, made possible by these sponsors:

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Venezuela Crisis
5:34 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Florida Senators In Doral To Make Stronger Call For Venezuela Sanctions

Florida Senators Bill Nelson (left) and Marco Rubio in Doral Thursday morning.
Credit C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Not one but both Florida Senators came to Doral this morning to show solidarity with the state's large Venezuelan community.

In their bipartisan appearance at the Arepazo Dos restaurant, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio said U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's socialist government - which has been widely criticized for its heavy-handed response to anti-government protests - may be a stronger possibility now. 

Hear the full story below.

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Latin America Report
10:56 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Was "Cuban Twitter" Dumb Or Defensible? Or Both?

A Cuban state television camera at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana.
Credit cubadebate

Confession: When I criticized ZunZuneo as the story emerged earlier this month, I left something important unsaid.

I support its basic intent. That is, the effort to help Cubans or anyone else access news, information and opinions that authoritarian governments around the world try to block.

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Latin America Report
6:40 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Miami Shedding Its Tabloid Image, Gaining Int'l Respect – At Least In The Legal World

Miami hosted the prestigious International Council for Commercial Arbitration congress this week.
Credit ICCA

There’s never a shortage of unusual legal proceedings in Miami. It’s just that very few of them ever enhance the city’s image, as last month’s court hearings on Justin Bieber’s genitalia so charmingly reminded us.

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Miami Herald
3:13 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

The Miami Herald Has A New President And Publisher

Alex Villoch is the first woman to fill the position of publisher of the MIami Herald Media Company in its 110-year history.
Credit C.M. GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD

The Miami Herald Media Company has a new president and publisher—and it didn't have to look too far. Alexandra Villoch, currently Senior Vice President for advertising, will start her new role on April 14th. The announcement was made to a receptive room mostly comprised of Herald employees.

Villoch is the first woman to fill the role in the company's 110-year history.

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Opinion
11:50 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Cuba Clueless: Covert Twitter Scheme Tweets U.S. Policy Failure

Cuban woman walk by wall graffiti in Havana.
Credit Flickr

If you needed any reminding of how archaic and clueless U.S. policy on Cuba can be – and the extent to which it so often actually aids an oppressive communist dictatorship – look no further than Thursday’s excellent Associated Press article about the “Cuban Twitter” fiasco.

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Latin America Report
10:37 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Costa Rica Set To Elect A Professor To Recoup Country's Fading Luster

Luis Guillermo Solis campaigning for Sunday's presidential runoff election in Costa Rica.
Credit Flickr

It’s hard to look at Costa Rica these days and not feel an urge to paraphrase Shakespeare:

Et tu Ticos?

Ticos, as Costa Ricans are affectionately known, used to sit on a hemispheric pedestal. Their country was the prosperous, democratic Boy Scout of Central America if not all of Latin America – an oasis of good government and social equality in a region notorious for dictators and dysfunction.

It was the green nation that dumped its army so it could spend more on schools.

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Latin America
7:07 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Lack Of Reforms During Latin America's Economic Boom Will Hurt The Region

Soybean harvest in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The South American giant is now the world's largest soybean producer.
Credit sdsoybean.org

For more than a decade, much of Latin America has enjoyed an economic boom. But at its annual meeting in Brazil over the weekend, the Inter-American Development Bank indicated the party is ending. And the situation may be worse because the region didn’t make productive reforms when times were good.

Hear the full story below.

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Commentary
10:54 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Castro Opens Cuba's Capitalist Door Another Notch – Should Washington Walk Through?

Cuban leader Raul Castro with leaders of the ruling communist party.
Credit Flickr

It may or not be a coincidence that Cuban leader Raúl Castro disclosed his new foreign investment law this week just as Venezuela was getting another big thumbs-down from the financial world.

Cuba’s threadbare communist economy depends on kindred benefactors like socialist Venezuela. But as that oil-rich country’s own economy continues to implode – the Fitch Ratings company downgraded Venezuelan credit to “Outlook Negative” on Tuesday – Castro has no choice but to open his island’s rusted doors more broadly to capital, capitalism and capitalists.

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Latin America Report
5:53 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Venezuela: Maduro's Offensive Puts Human Rights On The Defensive

Expelled National Assembly member Maria Corina Machado addressing an opposition rally in Caracas last month.
Credit Flickr

Caracas suffered another big power outage on Tuesday. The blackout shut down a hospital and a metro line and left large swaths of the Venezuelan capital without juice for much of the day.

One official response could be an upgrade of oil-rich Venezuela’s antiquated power grid. Another might be more spurious arrests of opposition politicians.

I’m betting on the latter.

That’s because the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro seems much more skilled at finding scapegoats than at fixing problems.

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