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.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Note: This story was first broadcasted on Jan. 16, 2017. 

Elusive 'Drug Baron' Of Brazil Nabbed

Jul 2, 2017

Brazilian police say they have arrested the head of an international drug trafficking ring, whose facial plastic surgeries and violent acts of intimidation helped him evade capture for nearly three decades and make him the country's "most wanted."

Luiz Carlos da Rocha's criminal organization was a major supplier of cocaine abroad, including to the United States, according to police.

In recent years, a growing number of news and political websites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say has been a small but vibrant opening afforded them since former President Obama reestablished U.S. relations with Cuba. But others worry that President Trump's harder line toward the Communist Castro government could have a chilling effect on the independent media movement afoot.

Allison Light / WLRN

Residents of Little Havana pulled together to raise money and collected much-needed items Venezuela on Thursday. The oil-rich South American country is suffering from a severe economic collapse and a chronic shortage of food and medicine.

"Everything is needed. It's unbelievable," said Venezuelan Alfredo Rodriguez. He is one of the owners of El Jaleo de la Ocho, a Cuban restaurant on Southwest Eighth Street that hosted the fundraiser. He splits his time between his hometown of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and Miami.

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COMMENTARY

Since the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution came to power in 1999, its opponents have made more missteps than hacks like me can count. 

Franklin Gutierrez / St Vincent de Paul

Greilys arrived in South Florida two months ago from Los Teques, Venezuela, south of Caracas, with “a few dollars and four suitcases” – hounded out of her job and her country, she says, by an increasingly brutal socialist regime.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

President Trump’s Cuba speech in Miami last Friday offered chest-thumping, cold-war nostalgia sound-bites like:

“Now we hold the cards.”

“We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement.”

Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

More than 500 Latin American officials gathered downtown this week for the annual Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities.

 

The conference, which is hosted at the Hilton Downtown, includes panels and workshops about how to create sustainable development in Latin American municipalities by decentralizing government.

 

Carlos Giusti / AP via Miami Herald

Puerto Ricans want to become America’s 51st state. But right now it's doubtful America – at least President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress – feels the same way.

In a non-binding referendum on Sunday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 97 percent of those who voted chose statehood over the two other options: remaining a U.S. territory or becoming an independent country.

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