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 Espírito Santo Bank.

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Commentary
1:40 am
Thu April 9, 2015

How Obama Rescued The Summit For Latin America – And How He Could Ruin It Again

A worker makes final preparations for the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama City.
Credit Arnulfo Franco / AP

Here’s the conventional line you're hearing about President Obama and this week’s Summit of the Americas:

Up to now, Obama had been doing many smart things to improve dysfunctional U.S.-Latin American relations. On issues like immigration, the drug war and especially Cuba – in December he announced the U.S. would restore diplomatic relations with its cold-war communist foe – a gringo president was finally getting it.

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The Caribbean
7:39 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Obama Heads Into Jamaica And The Caribbean As Venezuela Withdraws

Kingston, Jamaica
Credit Lechmoore Simms / Flickr

President Obama heads this week to the Summit of the Americas in Panama where he’ll meet with the hemisphere’s other heads of state. But Obama first travels on Wednesday to Jamaica – where Caribbean leaders may be happier than usual to see him.

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Latin America Report
7:37 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Communist Cuba Once Produced Capitalist MBAs – And Needs To Graduate A Lot More

Guennady Rodriguez shows off his Cuban MBA degree at his Miami home.
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Guennady Rodriguez may be a Cuban émigré, but his musical tastes aren’t exactly counter-revolutionary.

Inside his apartment near Miami International Airport, Rodriguez likes to pull out his guitar and strum tunes by Pablo Milanés, a Cuban troubadour who’s considered a favorite of the Castro regime.

It’s when the 33-year-old Rodriguez puts on a suit and tie and goes to work in downtown Miami that his break with Havana becomes obvious. Rodriguez is a senior sales executive at a large international company that organizes corporate events.

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Cuba
8:52 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Yoani Sanchez Hopes To Give Cubans 'Alternative Voice' At Summit

Yoani Sanchez working in Havana.
Credit Andre Deak / Flickr

The meeting of heads of state from throughout the western hemisphere known as the Summit of the Americas starts later this week in Panama.

For the first time, Cuba will be there – and so will Cuba’s most famous dissident blogger, Yoani Sánchez.

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US-Cuba Relations
6:09 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Washington And Havana Start Human Rights Talks; Will Cuba Ramp Up Internet Access?

Tom Malinowski, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who heads the U.S. delegation at talks between the U.S. and Cuba on human rights
Credit AP

Talks between the U.S. and Cuba on human rights started Tuesday in Washington as part of the effort to restore diplomatic relations. And while they won’t reform Cuba overnight, rights experts say they’re at least a start - and may bring Cuba under more global scrutiny than it's used to.

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The Two-Way
1:01 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Despite Protests From Brazil, Trial For 840-Pound Emerald Will Continue

This 2008 file photo provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shows the so-called Bahia Emerald.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 9:27 am

A trial about who owns a 840-pound emerald will continue despite international protest.

The ownership of the Bahia Emerald, as the massive rock is known, has been hotly contested for years. But in September, the stone became the subject of international controversy, when Brazil said all the ownership questions were irrelevant because the 180,000 carat, $372 million rock was illegally exported.

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The Two-Way
12:44 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Venezuela Cuts Oil Subsidies To Caribbean Nations

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 2:57 pm

Low oil prices are forcing Venezuela to cut a generous subsidy program to Cuba and a dozen other Caribbean nations.

Venezuela is Latin America's largest oil producer, and its economy depends heavily on oil exports. It's been been hit hard by the tumbling oil prices.

"Venezuela is in desperate straits. The oil sector has been deteriorating, and now with the slumping oil prices, they needed cash desperately," says Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based group that studies the region.

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Latin America Report
2:56 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Stalin Stupor: Why Venezuela Keeps Getting Ranked "Most Miserable" In 2015

A woman stands in line outside a Caracas pharmacy hoping to find diapers for her infant daughter.
Credit Ariana Cubillos / AP

Thirty years ago, when I was a graduate student in Caracas, I met a young Venezuelan socialist who introduced himself as Stalín.

“Yes, after the Russian,” he told me rather condescendingly – hoping to shock an American with the news that the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was his namesake.

I didn't take the bait. But I did think of Stalín recently when Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed his own admiration for “Comrade Stalin, who defeated Hitler.”

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Tennis
9:23 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

It's The Miami Open Now. Obrigado, Itaú.

The new Miami Open logo designed by the tournament's new lead sponsor, Banco Itau
Credit The Miami Open / Banco Itau

The big pro tennis tournament that starts Monday on Key Biscayne has had four different corporate names since its debut 30 years ago. But now the event is free of a commercial label. And that may be the smartest corporate move yet.

It was most recently the Sony Open. Now – and many hope from now on – it’s the Miami Open.

For that you can say obrigado – thank you – to Brazil’s Banco Itaú.

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Americas
6:01 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

The Caribbean Wants Cruise Passengers To Spend More On Islands Instead of Boats

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp (right) talks with USVI Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty at the Cruise Shipping Miami convention this week on Miami Beach.
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Cruise Shipping Miami – the cruise industry’s premier convention – is taking place this week on Miami Beach. One big and lingering topic is how our Caribbean neighbors can leverage more revenue from all those ships stopping at their ports of call.

Some 125 countries are represented at the Miami Beach Convention Center for Cruise Shipping Miami. But those with the most at stake may be the island nations of the Caribbean.

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Commentary
4:38 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Venezuelan Diplomat's Dreadful Remark Is Sadly Typical Of The Revolution's Rhetoric

Roy Chaderton, Venezuela's Permanent Representative to the Organization of Americans States
Credit Organization of American States

Let’s say the U.S. representative to the Organization of American States – the Washington-based diplomatic body that embraces the western hemisphere – appears on a television talk show. And let’s say he makes this neanderthal remark about members of a rival political party:

“When a sniper shoots them in the head it makes a quieter sound, like a click, because their cranial cavities are hollow, so the bullet passes through faster.”

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Commentary
7:36 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Why Obama Went Over The Top On Venezuela This Week

National Security Threat? U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Credit Common Cause-Embassy of Venezuela DC/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Roberta Jacobson is burning up Twitter in English and Spanish this week trying to recover President Obama’s fumble on Venezuela.

She’s worried – and gosh, we can’t imagine why – that left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is giving his people the wrong impression about Obama’s ill-advised announcement on Monday that Venezuela is a “national security threat” to the U.S.

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Latin America Report
2:51 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Conan And Communism: Are U.S. Ties Nudging Cuba Toward Reform After All?

Cuban electoral authorities sift through questions and remarks from Cuban citizens during a recent - and unusual - online forum on elections.
Credit Roberto Morejon Guerra / Juventud Rebelde

All the Cuba buzz these days is about Conan O’Brien, who broadcast his TV show last week from Havana -- the first time an American late-night talk show host has done that since 1959.

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Commentary
11:19 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Why Venezuela's Maduro Can Cry Wolf About The U.S. – And Get Away With It

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Credit Flickr

We know that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is crying wolf when he claims – over and over and over – that the United States is plotting to carpet bomb his socialist revolution.

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