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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Latin America Report
11:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Haiti's Crucial Question: Would Baby Doc Have Gone To Jail If He'd Lived Longer?

The late Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1975.
Credit Flickr user a-birdie

As Haiti’s national police director from 1996 to 2002, Pierre Denize had a mission: to help the country’s fledgling democracy build a more professional and humane justice system.

Denize had seen too much of the polar opposite in his youth – especially when his parents were jailed, brutalized and exiled during the three-decade-long reign of cruelty and corruption known as the Duvalier dynasty.

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Haiti
3:20 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Reporting On Duvalier: Diary Of A Dictator

Wedding day in Haiti for former President Jean-Claude Duvalier and Michele Bennett, May 27th, 1980.
Credit Miami Herald

There can come a time when reporters and photographers spend so much of their working lives immersed in covering one issue, one person or one country, that their relationship with the subject being covered becomes almost symbiotic.

Think of it as a detective who must know his or her suspect’s every thought and every move.

Where will they be today? What will they say today? Perhaps, more importantly, what can be confirmed today -- and what is the real reason behind the latest action?

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Haiti
8:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Baby Doc Divide: Why South Florida's Haitians Disagree On Duvalier

Notre Dame d'Haiti church in Little Haiti, where Miami's Haitian community discussed Baby Doc Duvalier's death over the weekend.
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN

From Stalin in Russia to Pinochet in Chile, there’s at least one thing we’ve learned about dictators: Despite the terrible things they often do, people’s memories of them can be fond as well as frightening.

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier – who ruled from 1971 to 1986 and died on Saturday in Portu-au-Prince at age 63 from a heart attack brought on in part by a tarantula bite – was no exception.

 WLRN spent the weekend listening to the divided opinion on Baby Doc in Miami’s Haitian community.

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Venezuela
6:59 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

No End To Venezuela's Gloom, Whether It's Currency Or Killings

NEW LOWS: Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, hit 100 to the U.S. dollar on the black market
Credit Flickr Eduardo!

Venezuela just finished another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week on both the financial and security fronts. And it suggests things could get even worse.

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Commentary
6:11 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Baby Doc Duvalier May Have Finally Helped Haiti – By Dying At The Right Time

Jean Claude Duvalier during an interview in Laboule, outside Port au Prince, Haiti, on April 16, 2011.
Credit Andres Martinez Casares / For the Miami Herald

Even for a fiend as monumentally corrupt as he was, the first words out of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s mouth upon his return to Haiti in 2011 were shamelessly dishonest.

“I came back to help my country,” Baby Doc said after ending 25 years in exile in France.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Haiti's 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Dies At 63

Former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier "Baby Doc" has died at age 63. He returned from exile in 2011.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 2:46 pm

Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator nicknamed "Baby Doc" after he succeeded his father in ruling the country, has died. Duvalier was the president of Haiti from 1971 to 1986, a brutal regime that ended in his exile. He returned to the country in 2011.

Duvalier died of a heart attack, reports Haiti Libre.

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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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