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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Culture
5:09 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

PAMM Hosts Miami Broward Carnival Kick-Off Where It All Started

Credit Diego Saldana-Rojas / WLRN

On a rainy and humid afternoon, a steel drum band played on the outer terrace of the Perez Art Museum Miami. The distinct Caribbean sounds celebrated the launching of the 30th Miami Broward Carnival.

South Florida's version of Carnival takes place in October, whereas Brazil and the Caribbean celebrate in February and March.

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Commentary
4:46 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Can Venezuela's U.S. Dollar Restriction Keep $1 Billion Out Of Florida?

Trading U.S. dollars for Venezuelan bolívares
Credit venezuelaanalysis.com

What do you do when your country’s foreign reserves are dropping at a rate that would make avid bungee jumpers nauseous? If you’re left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you take strong, decisive macroeconomic action.

You withhold dollars from Mickey Mouse.

Yessir, you discourage your countrymen from traveling to Florida, by further restricting the amount of dollars they can spend there with their bank credit cards – from $2,500 to $700.

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Film
5:57 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Latin American Icon Simon Bolivar Gets Biopic Treatment In 'Liberator'

Unlike actor Edgar Ramirez, the real Simon Bolivar was a physically slight man.
Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 1:09 pm

The new film The Liberator is an attempt to bring the epic story of Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of Latin America, to international audiences. Directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo, it's one of the most expensive Latin American productions to date and features epic battle scenes, rousing speeches and stunning landscapes in the spirit of historical epics like Braveheart.

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Latin America Report: Exclusive Interview
5:38 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Colombian President Fights The "Black Propaganda" Against Peace

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos talking to WLRN's Tim Padgett in New York last week.
Credit Presidencia de Colombia

“The problem with Colombia is that we’ve been fighting a war for three generations and we simply got accustomed to it. What I’m trying to tell the Colombian people is, ‘Wake up. We have to be a normal country.’”

That was the opening volley from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a wide-ranging and unusually frank interview last week in New York. But there’s one slice of our conversation you won’t hear on WLRN.

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Sunshine Economy
1:00 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Trade Winds: Exporters in South Florida

Two Super Post-Panamax Cranes await cargo and ships at PortMiami (Oct. 2013).
Credit Tom Hudson

    

It's a familiar saying among exporters -- South Florida is the shopping cart for Latin America.

From cell phones to gold, medicine to aircraft parts, it all leaves the United States from South Florida destined for overseas markets. While the pace of trade is down from a year ago, according to trade media company WorldCity, the seaports and airports here maintain a trade surplus.

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Commentary
12:46 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Bring Peace To Colombia Or Block Venezuela From A U.N. Seat? Pick One

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speaking to WLRN's Tim Padgett at the U.N. General Assembly this week in New York.
Credit Pilar Calderon / Presidencia de Colombia

Today’s international affairs quiz: Would you rather see Venezuela denied a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, or would you prefer to see an end to Colombia’s eternal civil war?

Pick one. Can’t have both.

That’s at least what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told me this week during our interview in New York, where he and a host of other heads of state are gathered for the U.N. General Assembly.

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Language
6:04 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

More English, More Money? Maybe Not In Miami

A new report says workers with poor English skills may be dragging down the economy.
Credit freedigitalphotos.net

The list of things that threaten the U. S. economy is long, indeed. But here's one item that might not have occurred to you.

Speaking bad English.

As the Brookings Institution scopes it out in a report released Wednesday, immigrants seeking work in the U. S. often have to settle for jobs beneath their qualifications just because their English is not up to snuff.

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Latin America Report
12:39 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Marina Silva: From Amazon Orphan To President Of Brazil?

Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva on the campaign trail this month.
Credit Marina40

A political phoenix has risen from the ashes of a plane crash in Brazil. Next month it might result in South America's political upset of the decade.

Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in that Aug. 13 accident outside São Paulo. Days later Campos’ running mate – environmentalist and former Senator Marina Silva – took his place as the Brazilian Socialist Party’s nominee. In voter polls, Silva quickly catapulted alongside the incumbent front-runner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. She’s now tied with Rousseff ahead of the Oct. 5 election.

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Commentary
11:57 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

A Breast Implant Shortage In Venezuela Might Save Us A Miss Universe Headache In Miami

Miss Universe 2013, Venezuela's Gabriela Isler
Credit Wikipedia.org

Let’s be clear: Breast implants are no laughing matter.

Women who’ve had mastectomies can depend on them. Women who’ve had self-esteem issues can turn to them. And if they’re defective, women can die from them.

But let’s be honest: When the Associated Press this week reported a shortage of breast implants in Venezuela – the latest of a host of product scarcities in that whack economy – a lot of people chuckled.

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Latin America Report
7:08 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Does Escaping El Salvador's Abortion Law Nightmare Mean Flying To Miami?

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

Cristina Quintanilla’s tragic story now includes a sad epilogue.

Quintanilla was 18 when she suffered a miscarriage at her home in rural El Salvador. But when she awoke on an operating table that night in 2004, she didn’t see doctors. She saw cops.

Someone on the hospital staff had accused Quintanilla of inducing an abortion. And abortion under any circumstance is a felony in El Salvador.

“They arrested me while I was in surgery,” says Quintanilla, now 28. “I was handcuffed to the bed. They didn’t care how badly I was hemorrhaging or how terrified I was.”

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Cuba
11:05 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Miami Businessman Accused Of Illegally Smuggling Yasiel Puig, Cuban Baseball Stars

Cuban baseball star Yasiel Puig playing outfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Credit Chris Yarzab / Flickr

Migrant smuggling is big business in the Caribbean – and it’s a gold mine if you’re smuggling a top Major League Baseball prospect from Cuba. Now a Miami businessman has been charged with smuggling one of the most lucrative talents of all. 

Cuban baseball star Yasiel Puig defected to Mexico two years ago. He eventually went to the United States and now plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But federal prosecutors in Miami say the way Puig got to the big leagues is a long and even violent criminal story.

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Latin America Report
5:25 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Can Juan Valdez – And Colombia's Mighty Coffee Corps – Challenge Starbucks?

Customers sipping samples this summer at the opening of Miami's first Juan Valdez coffee cafe.
Credit Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Juan Valdez and his burro aren’t just symbols of Colombia’s world-famous coffee.

They’re the faces of what is arguably the most effective and democratic institution in Colombia: the National Coffee Growers Federation. The federation – which owns the Juan Valdez brand – offers a glimpse of what the war-torn South American country might be more like if it ever achieves peace.

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Commentary
12:16 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Time To Stop The Crying Game In Venezuela – And Start The Waiting Game

An unidentified Venezuelan woman rails against the socialist government on the Caracas metro this year.
Credit YouTube

  A YouTube video has become a tear-jerker hit among opponents of Venezuela’s socialist government.

An unidentified young woman stands up in a Caracas metro car and screams at fellow passengers. Wearing a T-shirt that says, “He who rests loses,” she rails for a good five minutes at the authoritarian shambles Venezuela has become under the Bolivarian Revolution the late Hugo Chávez began 15 years ago.

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