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.

U.S. State Department

 

Like a lot of idealistic U.S. presidents, Barack Obama took office in 2009 hoping to establish better dialogue with communist Cuba. Remember his plan to “pursue direct diplomacy” with Havana? Then he quickly discovered what most U.S. presidents find out:

First, communist Cuba really doesn’t want improved dialogue with Washington, since conflict with the U.S. offers more political payoff on the island. Hence Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s 2009 Christmas gift to Obama: the arrest of U.S. aid subcontractor Alan Gross on dubious espionage charges.

Tales Of Three National Protests — In Pictures

Jul 2, 2013

Sometimes pictures do a better job of conveying what's going on in the world.

reason.com

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday signed a “bong ban” bill that outlaws the sale of pipes and other marijuana-smoking paraphernalia.

We’re used to Scott being out of step with his state: in this case, a recent poll shows 70 percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana legalization. And with his country: most Americans now back marijuana legalization. And maybe with his hemisphere: Latin American and Caribbean government representatives gathered this week primarily to urge the Obama Administration to consider making pot legal.

On Sunday nights this summer, Lifetime is hoping to draw audiences with a campy, soapy drama from Marc Cherry, the creative mind behind Desperate Housewives. It's called Devious Maids, and it looks nothing like anything else on television because it has five Latina stars. It's an unprecedented lineup for a prime-time drama.

Who Are These 'Bankers' Ecuador Keeps Referencing?

Jun 28, 2013

If you've paid attention to the case of Edward Snowden, you might have heard Ecuadorean officials refer to some bankers the U.S. is refusing to hand over.

Ecuador, of course, is considering an asylum request from the NSA leaker. The U.S. is pressuring them to abide by an extradition request, while Ecuador is taunting the giant.

During a news briefing in Senegal, President Obama said NSA leaker Edward Snowden was in possession of more classified documents and that the government did not know "what other documents he may try to dribble out there."

That said, the president added that he will not "be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

Roberto Koltun/The Miami Herald

Jose Antonio Machado was brought to Miami as an undocumented immigrant from Matagalpa, Nicaragua, when he was six years old. He grew up here with his mother, Melba, also an indocumentada, until she was deported two years ago after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

“I expected her home at 11:15 p.m. that night,” says Machado, now an 18-year-old who graduated this month from Miami Senior High School. “Eventually I fell asleep. The next morning I realized she wasn’t there.”

Ecuador says it is considering Edward Snowden's request for asylum.

It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.

Indian activists say this is just the beginning.

(This story was last updated at 5:17 p.m. ET)

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor accused of leaking classified surveillance information, has asked Ecuador for asylum, the country's foreign minister says.

Snowden left Hong Kong earlier Sunday bound for a "third country," the government in the Asian hub said. He later landed in Moscow.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca, who is on an official visit to Vietnam, said:

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has pledged a nationwide overhaul of public transportation, improved funding for schools and a crackdown on corruption in response to sometimes violent anti-government protests that have roiled the country for the past week.

In a 10-minute address broadcast on Friday, Rousseff broke her silence on the protests, saying she would spend more money on public transportation and divert some of the country's oil revenues to pay for education, The Associated Press reported. She also addressed widespread anger over government corruption.

By some estimates, about a million people marched in cities across Brazil on Thursday, airing a wide array of grievances. As O Globo frames it, it was a day marked by violent demonstrations, vandalism and intense clashes with military police.

Author Risks Life To Report On His Native Mexico

Jun 20, 2013

Alfredo Corchado, the Mexico bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, has dedicated his life to investigating government corruption, murders and ruthless drug cartels in his native Mexico.

He received death threats multiple times, and doesn't feel safe, but he says he has "learned to embrace the fear." Corchado, an American citizen, has written a memoir about the complicated relationship he has with the country of his birth, entitled, Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness.

Aracelis Upia Montero bounds through the front door of her wood and cinderblock house, calling out for her children. The bubbly 41-year-old Montero — whom everyone calls Kuki — proudly shows guests around her cramped single-story home in Villa Altagracia in the Dominican Republic.

Montero points out her new living room furniture. In the past couple years, she has added two bedrooms and now has indoor plumbing. She has also built a little apartment at the end of her dirt driveway that she rents out.

For a second night in a row, tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest everything from the cost of living to government corruption.

The AP reports that during Tuesday's demonstrations:

Holly Ackerman/blog.gitmomemory.org

  The rise in the number of Haitians being detained at sea, at airports and at border crossings this year has the international community scratching as well as turning its head. More than 70 picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard in the waters off Puerto Rico; 33 by authorities off Jamaica; almost 3,500 in or off the Dominican Republic; 65 as far away as Peru.

In the past decade, Mexico's tech industry has flourished, growing three times faster than the global average. Most of that growth has been fueled by demand from the United States. But as Mexico's startups strive to make it in foreign markets, they say they need more engineers and ways to finance their growth.

They are young, they are angry and they have drawn inspiration from protest movements a world away in places like Turkey and the Middle East.

Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets across the country Monday night, and more demonstrations are slated for the coming week. Brazil doesn't have a history of this kind of mass dissent, but it seems to be catching on very quickly.

What started as small protests about higher bus fares has swelled into nationwide, massive anti-government demonstrations in Brazil.

Last night, reports O Globo, more than 100,000 protesters filled the streets of Rio de Janeiro, while an additional 65,000 hit the streets of São Paulo. Nothing tells the story quite like this video of the streets of Rio posted by Lucio Amorim on Twitter:

It's dusk on a recent day in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, and for many, that's a signal to get inside. Crime and violence have become so widespread here, many people simply shut themselves in.

"Your house becomes your own prison," says Arturo Hidalgo. After about 8 or 9 at night, he says, "you better be home because otherwise you can get in trouble."

Hidalgo would know: He's been robbed before. The result, he says, is a deep-seated fear. For an avid runner, that's a problem.

facebook.com/ChloeMcCardel

The strait doesn’t wanna be swum.

Last week, for the fifth time in two years, a swimmer’s attempt to become the first human to cross the Florida Strait between Havana and Key West without a shark cage was thwarted.

http://colorsofthecaribbean.info/

06/14/13 - Next time on South Florida Arts Beat, Asa Sealy, Executive Director of Caribbean-American Heritage Florida, Inc., brings us the details about the Colors of the Caribbean, a celebration of Caribbean culture at Hollywood ArtsPark. Helena Poleo talks about the Third Annual Overtown Rhythm and Arts Festival.

A New Era For U.S.-Latin American Relations?

Jun 14, 2013

In a special edition of The Florida Roundup, we focus on our broader region, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

China's President Xi Jinping recently concluded a visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, shortly after President Obama and Vice President Biden paid visits there.

We discuss if Obama's second term will include stronger Latin American relations and China's ambitions in the Western hemisphere. 

Plus: why Venezuelans are buying suitcases of toilet paper and other basic goods in South Florida.

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