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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The Santa Maria
11:48 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Have They Found The Ship That Found The New World?

A diver inspects the remnants of what may be the Santa Maria.
Credit Brandon Clifford (courtesy)

Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492 on a ship called the Santa Maria. The vessel ran aground that Christmas Eve, off Haiti’s north shore near what is now Cap Haitien. Using historical records, underwater archeologist Barry Clifford says he recently located remnants of the ship.

The job of confirming the blockbuster find falls to Charles Beeker, the director of Indiana University’s underwater science program. Beeker says the evidence he’s seen so far, including wrought iron guns, is strong.

Hear an interview with Charles Beeker here:

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Latin America Report
9:33 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Canal Quarrel: How PortMiami's Future Is Tied To Tiny Panama

Epic Endeavor: Building the Panama Canal's wider locks.
Credit Panama Canal Authority

PortMiami is set to open its new, billion-dollar tunnel next week. It’s the jewel of a $2 billion port makeover, which includes a major dredging project and skyscraper-size loading cranes for sending a lot more auto parts to Brazil and getting a lot more handbags from China.

But the long-term success of that effort may depend to a large extent on whether a quarrel gets solved a thousand miles to the south. In Panama.

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Cumbia And Punk
8:42 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Mi Casa Es Tu Casa: Ali Gua Gua And Miss Bolivia

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 1:21 pm

As a teenager, I fell in love with two very different musical genres: punk rock and cumbia — that Caribbean-born music with a contagious two-beat shuffle.

To purists of either, my musical promiscuity might have seemed blasphemous, but to me, it was a logical combination. Cumbia is more punk than punk itself. And many years later, when I discovered Mexican DJ Ali Gua Gua, and her group Kumbia Queers, I was elated with their unique brand of "tropi punk." They got it.

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Latin America Report
6:58 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Should The Panama Canal Join Classes As Well As Oceans?

Two Panamas: Panama City's gleaming new towers directly above its large shanty slums.
Credit Peter Nickalls / Flickr

Jorge Quijano has one of the coolest office views in the Americas: the Pacific port entrance to the Panama Canal. The panoramic vista seems to help Quijano, who heads the Panama Canal Authority, see the bigger picture.

On the one hand, Quijano understands why Panama has run the canal much more effectively than the United States did.

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Latin America
10:49 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Panama Election: Is President Martinelli Pulling A Fast One?

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli
Credit Edgar Alberto Dominguez / World Economic Forum

The Panama Canal is expanding, but is Panama's democracy shrinking? The country is holding a presidential election on Sunday, May 4 -- and there are growing concerns that right-wing President Martinelli is trying an end run around the constitution.

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Latin America Report
11:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Why Miami's Tech Scene Shouldn't Try To Compete With Silicon Valley

Miami often embraces trends later than other U.S. cities, as has been in the tech-industry boom. But as Latin America's tech hub, Miami is leading.
Credit Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr CC

A lot of people have been throwing a lot of cold water lately on the notion of Miami as a high-tech “Silicon Beach.”

Even Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine this year called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

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Rest In Peace
12:49 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Listen To A Remembrance Of 'Sounds Of The Caribbean' Host Rich Davis

Rich Davis as a child in Jamaica.
Credit WLRN

"Sounds of the Caribbean" host Rich Davis died in a private residence in Montego Bay, Jamaica, late Wednesday night, says funeral director Dale Delapenha.

As of Friday afternoon, cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy is pending for next week. Family members confirm Davis had a history of hypertension.

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Latin America Report
10:57 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Why Caribbean Rum Is The New Cognac – And Why Miami Is Its Showcase

Bye-bye Blackbeard: Aged rums in snifters waiting to be tasted at the Miami Rum Fest.
Credit Miami Rum Fest

There was a time when rum was rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it. Rum and croak.

Fast forward a few centuries to rum respectability – specifically, to Rob Burr’s patio deck in Coral Gables.

From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, it sets a mood not for swilling rum but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon. Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.

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Gabriel García Márquez
12:59 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Gabo And Gringos: Did Magical Realism Bridge Or Divide The Americas?

Gabriel García Marquez, 1927-2014
Credit Ricardo Timão / Flickr

Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday at age 87, provided one of the eerier moments of my journalism career.

In 1996, a colleague and I had been conducting a series of interviews with the Colombian Nobel laureate about his newest book, called “News of a Kidnapping.” It was a nonfiction work on his country’s violent drug-crime culture. Shortly after García Márquez sent the final proofs to his publisher, I called him at his Mexico City home and he sounded shaken.

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