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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Miami Dish
9:48 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Borderless Latin American Cooking With Maricel Presilla

Credit W.W. Norton & Company

When she won a James Beard award for her cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina, Maricel Presilla felt gratified to be acknowledged for the "work of a lifetime," as well as for "the collective work of millions of Latin Americans that live on two continents, in the Caribbean Islands, and also in the U.S."

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Gateway Miami
11:08 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Violence, Hardship Fuel Central American Immigration To U.S.

Honduran Army soldiers patrol streets in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April. Gang violence has many Hondurans fleeing to the U.S.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 5:03 pm

William Ordonez and his wife, Carolia, thought that starting a new business in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was a great idea.

But just two weeks after they started selling chips, candy and soda, gang members showed up and ordered them to pay about $25 a week.

"We tried explaining to them that we just opened, we aren't making that much, we can't pay you," Ordonez says.

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The Sunshine Economy
7:01 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Part One Of The Sunshine Economy Special Series: The Americas And Miami

Special correspondent Tom Hudson will host a weekly series on The Sunshine Economy, a fresh take on the key industries driving growth across South Florida.
Credit WLRN

 THE AMERICAS AND MIAMI

From world famous beaches to international trade flows, South Florida has become one of the world's most vibrant and diverse economies.

Through a series of one-hour radio programs, special correspondent Tom Hudson will host a weekly series on Mondays in May and June exploring The Sunshine Economy, a fresh take on the key industries driving growth across South Florida.

Guests:

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Gateway Miami
5:38 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:34 am

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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Gateway Miami
5:58 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Will Spanish Thrive Or Decline In The U.S.?

Actors Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, and actresses Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez attend a Universal Pictures presentation to promote their upcoming film "Fast & Furious 6."
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:11 pm

Vin Diesel speaks lousy Spanish. No surprise, that. So why then was he invited to hand out a music award at the Premios Billboard and why did he say Sí to the invitation when it seems that's about all he can say in Spanish?

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Food
8:02 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Exploring Coffee's Past To Rescue Its Future

Eduardo Somarriba is a researcher at the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education in Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:47 pm

At the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica, you can touch the history of coffee — and also, if the optimists have their way, part of its future.

Here, spread across 25 acres, are coffee trees that take you back to coffee's origins.

"The story starts in Africa, no? East Africa," says Eduardo Somarriba, a researcher at CATIE, as we walk through long rows of small coffee trees.

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Coffee Culture
1:49 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Azuquita Pa'l Cafe: What Coffee Songs Mean To Latin America

A worker collects coffee beans at a farm in Cuatro Esquinas, on the outskirts of Diriamba.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 12:09 pm

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Trade
10:09 am
Mon April 22, 2013

How Coffee Brings The World Together

The best coffee comes from high altitudes with a warm climate like in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:51 pm

Coffee is more than a drink. For many of us — OK, for me — it's woven into the fabric of every day.

It also connects us to far corners of the globe.

For instance, every Friday, a truck pulls up to the warehouse of Counter Culture Coffee, a small roaster and coffee distributor in Durham, N.C., and unloads a bunch of heavy burlap sacks.

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Venezuelan Election
12:22 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Venezuelan Humorist Engages Kidnappers In Election Dialogue

Laureano Marquez, a popular Venezuelan writer and political satirist, says he is always opposed to the government in power. "The mission of humor is to show the people that things can be better," he says.
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:18 pm

Earlier this week in Caracas, we were about to go to an interview when it had to be rescheduled. The man we were going to speak with was unavoidably detained — kidnapped, to be precise.

It took awhile after that for Laureano Marquez to free up his schedule and meet us in a coffee shop.

"I'm so sorry," he said when he finally arrived, as if it was his fault for being thrown into a car and driven off to the far reaches of town.

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Venezuelan Election
6:35 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Oil, Chavez And Telenovelas: The Rise Of The Venezuelan Novel

Venezuelan author Romulo Gallegos (1884-1969), circa 1950.
Edwin Karmiol Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 10:55 am

Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.

For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?

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Venezuelan Election
10:13 am
Wed April 10, 2013

'Comandante' Chavez Still Revered By Some, Despite Failings

Hugo Chavez, shown here in February 2012, was the president of Venezuela for over a decade. His career is the subject of a new book by Rory Carrolll.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 9:42 am

Hugo Chavez died in March, but his ghost still lingers in Venezuela. He was president for well over a decade and, according to journalist Rory Carroll, his oversize influence hasn't faded.

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Pope Francis I
5:26 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Upon News Of Argentinian Pope, Latin Americans Are Overjoyed

Faithful react after the announcement that Buenos Aires archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis I, at Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 8:01 pm

Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.

For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.

Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."

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Latin America
3:19 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Cubans Wonder If Aid Will Still Flow Following Death Of Chavez

Cuba's Fidel Castro was a mentor to Hugo Chavez, and the Venezuelan leader provided oil and other assistance to Cuba. The two men met in Havana in June 2011 when Chavez went for cancer treatment.
Granma AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:49 am

The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an especially tough blow for Cuba, whose feeble state-run economy has been propped up for more than a decade with Venezuelan oil shipments and other subsidies.

The Castro government has declared three days of mourning, calling Chavez "a son" of Cuba, but privately Cubans are quietly fretting about the potential loss of billions in trade and the threat of a new economic crisis.

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Latin America
3:23 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Will A New Secretary Of State Put A New Focus On Latin America And The Caribbean?

Jose W. Fernandez, assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
Credit U. S. State Dept.

Wednesdays on WLRN, we discuss issues related to Latin American and the Caribbean. Today: how a transition at the top of the U. S.  State Dept. might be felt in the hemisphere.

Some have said the Obama Administration has ignored that part of the world as it tried to put out other fires in the President's first term.

Now that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been succeeded by John Kerry, might things be different?

Phil Latzman spoke with assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Jose Fernandez about the possibilities.

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Brazil
3:38 am
Mon January 7, 2013

A Strong Voice For Brazil's Powerful Farmers

Katia Abreu, a senator and landholder who heads the powerful landowners bloc in Brazil's legislature, takes a look at the new plantations on her 12,000-acre farm.
Juan Forero

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:56 am

In some ways, Katia Abreu is still an old-fashioned farmer, one who rides her chestnut mare, Billy Jean, to tour her farm in Tocantins state in north-central Brazil.

She glides the horse along a gravel road, which soon turns to dirt, and along fields of sorghum and corn. She has plans for more.

"Soon, we're going to produce fish and lamb," she says. "There will be soybeans and fields of tall grass for cattle. Lots of cattle."

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