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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Americas
7:20 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Pope's Visit To Brazil Seen As 'Triumphant Homecoming'

A Brazilian flag flies on Saturday near the podium which will receive Pope Francis on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 7:25 pm

When Pope Francis arrives in Brazil on Monday, he'll begin a trip of firsts.

He's the first Latin American pope, and it will be his first trip abroad as pontiff. And he'll be visiting a country with more Catholics than any other.

Francis, who is gaining a reputation for his simple ways, is expected, The Miami Herald writes, to:

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Americas
3:46 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:57 pm

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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Americas
6:18 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

World's Biggest Virus May Have Ancient Roots

Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:14 am

Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.

"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.

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Americas
6:15 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Panama Charges North Korean Ship's Crew

View of what seems to be weapon parts aboard a North Korean-flagged ship on Tuesday.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:57 am

The crew of a North Korean ship carrying a clandestine cargo of Cold War-era weapons from Cuba has been charged with endangering public security by Panamanian authorities, who seized the vessel earlier this week.

The North Korean vessel en route from Cuba was seized as it attempted to transit the Panama Canal.

According to the BBC:

"[Panamanian] Prosecutor Javier Caraballo accused the 35 crew members of endangering public security by illegally transporting war material.

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Americas
4:12 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Your Love Of Quinoa Is Good News For Andean Farmers

Farmer Geronimo Blanco shows his quinoa plants in Patamanta, Bolivia, in February. A burgeoning global demand for quinoa has led to a threefold price increase since 2006.
Juan Karita AP

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:15 pm

Quinoa lovers have been put on a bit of a guilt trip with stories suggesting that the increased demand in the U.S. has put the superfood out of reach for those living closest to where it's grown.

How can poor Bolivians in La Paz afford to pay three times more for quinoa than they would pay for rice, critics have asked?

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Americas
5:39 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Cuba Acknowledges N. Korean Ship Carried Its 'Obsolete' Weapons

View of North Korean vessel at the Manzanillo Port in Colon on Tuesday.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:53 pm

(Updated 9:40 p.m. ET)

A statement from Cuba's foreign ministry says weapons that Panama seized in a North Korean ship were mid-20th Century models that Cuba was sending to North Korea for repair, according to reports from the BBC and Reuters.

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Americas
11:48 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Latin Drug Bosses And Their Growing American Ties

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 12:42 pm

Latin American cartels are fueled by U.S. drug demand, so their illegal retail networks often stretch throughout America. Mexico's arrest of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was a reminder that the connections between drug traffickers and the U.S. are not just commercial — they're also personal.

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Americas
7:43 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Drug Kingpin Of Zetas Cartel Captured In Mexico

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 10:04 pm

The leader of one of Mexico's most violent drug cartels was captured on Monday in a city across the border from Texas.

The man, Miguel Ángel Trevino Morales, also known as "Z-40," was reportedly captured by Mexican Marines. The New York Times reports that Morales is wanted on both sides of the border:

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Americas
5:38 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke

Coca-Cola Life, a new product being rolled out in Argentina with a green label, is being marketed as a "natural" and therefore lower-calorie cola.
Coca-Cola

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 6:40 pm

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Americas
11:50 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

In his new book, Alfredo Corchado writes about the escalating violence in Mexico.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 2:11 pm

When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.

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Americas
8:00 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Why This Summer Offers Hope For Better U.S.-Cuba Relations

Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez speaking to State Department officials during her visit to the U.S. earlier this year, after Cuban leader Raúl Castro began allowing Cubans to travel abroad.
Credit U.S. State Department

 

Like a lot of idealistic U.S. presidents, Barack Obama took office in 2009 hoping to establish better dialogue with communist Cuba. Remember his plan to “pursue direct diplomacy” with Havana? Then he quickly discovered what most U.S. presidents find out:

First, communist Cuba really doesn’t want improved dialogue with Washington, since conflict with the U.S. offers more political payoff on the island. Hence Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s 2009 Christmas gift to Obama: the arrest of U.S. aid subcontractor Alan Gross on dubious espionage charges.

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Democracy
10:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Tales Of Three National Protests — In Pictures

Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Morsi opponents poured out onto the streets across much of Egypt, launching an all-out push to force him from office on the first anniversary of his inauguration.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 6:02 pm

Sometimes pictures do a better job of conveying what's going on in the world.

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Americas
3:56 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Florida Is Out Of Step With The Rest Of The Hemisphere On Marijuana

Credit reason.com

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday signed a “bong ban” bill that outlaws the sale of pipes and other marijuana-smoking paraphernalia.

We’re used to Scott being out of step with his state: in this case, a recent poll shows 70 percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana legalization. And with his country: most Americans now back marijuana legalization. And maybe with his hemisphere: Latin American and Caribbean government representatives gathered this week primarily to urge the Obama Administration to consider making pot legal.

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