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.

RenewableEnergyWorld.com

Now that Venezuela can no longer afford to subsidize cheap oil for Caribbean countries, the U.S. wants to step into the region’s fuel future, and the State Department’s point man was in Coral Gables Wednesday to promote that effort.

The poor and indebted island nations of the Caribbean rely heavily – too heavily – on expensive fossil fuel imports. Over the past decade, oil-rich Venezuela has helped them out with its Petrocaribe program. But with Venezuela’s economy now in ruins, the Caribbean desperately needs alternatives.

Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Is the Dominican Republic’s controversial plan to deport hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent on hold? 

Almost half a million people living in the Dominican Republic have Haitian ancestry. But the Dominican Supreme Court has ruled that anyone born in the D.R. after 1929 will have their citizenship revoked if their parents were not Dominican. That has set the stage this summer for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans.

COMMENTARY

It’s one of those photos that cries out for a thought bubble.

During Pope Francis’ visit to Bolivia yesterday – the second stop on the Pope’s three-country tour of South America this week – left-wing President Evo Morales offered him an unusual crucifix that depicts Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle. That is, Jesus laid out on the international symbol for communism.

Francis reportedly muttered to Morales, "Eso no está bien." Translation: We are not amused.

Here's something you don't see every day in Washington, D.C.

Standing just a couple of blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a group of Peruvian highlanders, draped in handwoven cloths and ponchos in all the colors of the rainbow, pray to Mother Earth, to the mountains, to the spirit of their ancestors. They offer wine, incense and flowers. Their wish is that their alpaca "cover the earth like the grains of sand by the ocean."

Jose A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

President Obama’s announcement last week that the U.S. will restore diplomatic relations with communist Cuba on July 20 – and will open an embassy there a few days after – is angering South Florida lawmakers.

Their options to stop the Administration are limited. But they’re moving against Obama’s new engagement policy nonetheless, and it’s shaping up as one of the summer’s big political battles.

The rhetoric from the Cuban-American congressional caucus is rising with the humid temperature in Washington, D.C.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP

COMMENTARY

Yes, yes, Cuba is big news. President Obama’s Wednesday announcement that the U.S. will open an embassy in Havana was historic stuff.

And yet – I can’t shake the feeling that the more important story out of the Caribbean this week is Puerto Rico’s financial collapse.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the U.S. has agreed to formally restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed 54 years ago.

It is the first major piece of the plan Obama laid out on December 17 to normalize ties with the communist island.

The U.S. and Cuba have also reached an agreement to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to be in Cuba to open the U.S. embassy.

Pages