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
10:10 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Obama's Top Negotiator In Cuba Says Human Rights, Private Sector Will Be U.S. Drumbeat

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson (center) meets with Cuban dissidents last week in Havana.
Credit State Department

Here’s one indicator of how much things have changed between the United States and Cuba:

When President Obama announced last month that he planned to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba’s communist regime after a half-century of bitter estrangement, no one heard from former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. And no one really cared.

Here’s another:

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Roberta Jacobson
1:24 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Cuba Talks: Capitalism Vs. Communism, Rights Vs. Repression

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson speaks with journalists at the Miami Herald newsroom on Saturday.
Credit Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald

This past weekend, the top U.S. negotiator in the talks to normalize relations with communist Cuba stopped in Miami on her way back from Havana.

She briefed journalists from the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and WLRN about the historic negotiations – but she seemed more impressed by what she saw at lunch.

Roberta Jacobson is the assistant U.S. secretary of state for the western hemisphere. Last week in Havana, she and her delegation kicked off talks with Cuban officials to restore diplomatic ties, which were severed 54 years ago. 

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U.S.-Cuba Relations
5:10 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Top U.S. Negotiator Meets With Cuban Dissidents About Rights After Havana Talks

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson (center) meets with Cuban dissidents Friday in Havana.
Credit State Department

The U.S. and Cuba have wrapped up the first round of historic talks to re-establish diplomatic relations. But the lead U.S. negotiator stayed on in Havana today to meet with dissidents and address Cuba’s human rights record.

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Latin America Report
9:13 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Now Starts The Hard Part Of Pulling The U.S. And Cuba Out Of Their Cold-War Time Warp

A car in Havana sports Cuban and U.S. flags in advance of talks there to normalize relations between the two countries.
Credit Day Donaldson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Like Michael J. Fox struggling to power his DeLorean back to the future, the United States and Cuba on Wednesday start the labor of propelling their relations out of a Cold-War time warp and into the 21st Century.

Senior officials from both sides will meet in Havana to make history. They’ll launch talks to re-establish diplomatic ties that were severed 54 years ago in the wake of Cuba’s communist revolution.

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News
5:46 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Nicaragua’s Bottom-Up Rural Electrification

Thirty years ago, El Cuá was home to just 3,000 people. Since electrification, it has thrived: around 40,000 people live there now and they enjoy a higher standard of living. (Lucas Laursen)

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 2:35 pm

For more than three decades, a group of engineers has been transforming the municipal region of El Cuá, in Nicaragua’s northern highlands, by building a series of small hydroelectric plants. Thirty years ago, El Cuá was home to just 3,000 people. Since electrification, it has thrived: around 40,000 people live there now and they enjoy a higher standard of living. Electricity powers businesses and schools, refrigerates food and improves communication and information links.

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Politics
12:16 am
Fri January 16, 2015

As Obama Rushes To Post New Cuba Trade And Travel Regs, Will Havana Reciprocate?

A car in Havana sports Cuban and U.S. flags in advance of talks there to normalize relations between the two countries.
Credit Day Donaldson / Flickr Creative Commons

On Thursday President Obama finalized a big part of his efforts to normalize relations with communist Cuba. And they take effect Friday, much earlier than expected. They include loosening travel and trade restrictions – but the question from those who know the Havana regime well is: Will Cuba loosen up too?

The new regs make it much easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and spend money there. They can even use U.S. credit cards. They can also do more business with Cubans – export capital goods like telecom equipment and help finance small Cuban enterprises.

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Latin America Report
12:27 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Why It's Time For A Reality Check On Normalizing Relations With Cuba

An unidentified Cuban exile speaks out against President Obama's plans to normalize relations with Cuba at a downtown Miami rally on December 30.
Credit Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

What President Obama did on December 17 was hardly going to prevent what Cuban leader Raúl Castro did on December 30.

Obama last month announced plans to normalize relations with communist Cuba, which were severed 54 years ago. As if to test the waters in the wake of that historic decision, a new Cuban dissident group called Yo También Exijo (I Also Demand) called a free-speech gathering in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución for December 30.

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Immigration
6:32 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

For Some Immigrants, Temporary Life In U.S. Can Mean A Long Stay

Alex Sanchez with his wife, Blanca, and sons Duvan and Irvin. Sanchez has been eligible to live and work legally in the U.S. since 2001, when his home country, El Salvador, experienced a major earthquake.
Alexandra Starr for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:45 pm

Earlier this month, the U.S. government gave more than 200,000 Salvadorans living here temporarily the opportunity to stay for at least another 18 months.

These immigrants are on something called Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. It's for immigrants who are already living in the United States illegally when a natural or humanitarian disaster hits their home country.

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News
3:34 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Young Miamians Amp Up Annual Protests Against Guantánamo

Young Protesters in orange suits line up along the fence at United States Southern Command in Doral, FL, to protest the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Credit Julia Longoria / WLRN

It's been 13 years since the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. To mark that anniversary, this past Sunday protesters took to the streets in cities across the country.

But among all those cities, 64-year-old Miamian Linda Belgrave said Doral was one of the most important places to protest and demand that President Obama make good on the promise he made in 2009: to close the Guantánamo Bay prison.

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News
3:05 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

How One Group Is Remembering Victims Of The Haiti Earthquake

The 112Haiti memorial wall, where victims of the 2010 earthquake are remembered by name.

Nonprofit organization Color of Hope is remembering the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake by updating a digital memorial wall with 12 names every hour on Monday, Jan. 12.

Five years ago, the disaster ended over 300,000 lives -- and Color of Hope has been maintaining a memorial ever since. The wall can be found at 112haiti.com.

Ed Shakespierre, the organization’s founder, sought to represent victims who he says may have remained nameless otherwise.

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Feature
10:57 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Haiti's Tragic Anniversary – And A Political Earthquake To Boot?

A Haitian woman walks by a new U.S.-built housing development in Caracol, Haiti, for displaced earthquake victims.
Credit Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Five years ago today Haiti – the western hemisphere’s poorest country – was devastated by an earthquake that killed some 300,000 people. Haitian officials, the U.S. and other donor countries promised to “build back Haiti better.” But so far the question is whether they’ve been able to build back Haiti… much at all.

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News
10:45 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Vatican Casts Spotlight On Haiti Five Years After Earthquake

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in ruins after the Haiti earthquake. A crucifix is left standing.
Credit Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Monsignor Augustin Almy was in Haiti five years ago when the earthquake hit. When the country’s Catholic Church fell apart along with most of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010.

Almy, a priest at St. James Catholic Church in North Miami, was visiting Haiti for his mother’s 100th birthday.

He was in his room at the Port-au-Prince seminary where he worked for years before moving to South Florida.

“I see the house shaking,” he said.

It was 4:53 pm.

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