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.

Courtesy Leal

These days, Venezuela’s street soundtrack isn’t salsa or joropo. It’s a loop of anti-government chants and blasts of teargas cannisters.

It’s clashes between police and protesters calling for the removal of socialist President Nicolás Maduro – as the Western Hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation suffers deeper social, political and especially economic collapse.

But amid the angry unrest and crippling food shortages there are a few sanctuaries where Venezuela’s future looks a little less miserable – even a little less torn apart.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

It’s hard to believe that guards at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas still let Venezuela’s breathtakingly clueless President Nicolás Maduro through the gate each morning.

Because history will remember Maduro – the laughable lefty who was fodder for a John Oliver monologue this week – for transforming the western hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation into the Caribbean Korea.

Meaning, North Korea.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last month we thought Cuba’s communist hardliners had put the brakes on growing the island’s private sector. But you never know with Cuba.

Today Havana issued a hopeful reform that Cuba’s half a million fledgling entrepreneurs – or cuentapropistas – have long waited for. The island’s communist government announced that small private businesses may now become genuine legal entities.

Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement

Miami-Dade County’s population is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan. And its police force reflects that.

In 2012, the State Department decided to put that diversity to use beyond our borders. State recruited Miami-Dade police to help train and build law enforcement in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and even Egypt. Federal officials say it worked out so well that this week they re-upped the Miami-Dade force for another five years.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Few entrepreneurs straddle the Florida Straits as masterfully as Hugo Cancio.

Cancio arrived in Miami from Cuba 36 years ago during the Mariel boatlift. Today he's one of America’s most high-profile business liaisons to the island. His flagship company, Fuego Enterprises, deals in publishing – it's launched a new magazine, ART OnCuba – as well as music promotion, telecom and finance.

Carl Juste / IrisPhoto Collective

Former Haitian President Michel Martelly has returned to his pre-political life as pop singer “Sweet Micky.” He's performing at Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines tonight and at Miami's Bayfront Park on Saturday.

But last night he had a literary gig: presenting his just published memoir, "Michel Martelly Autobiographie," at Miami-Dade College in a Haitian Flag Day event sponsored by the Miami Book Fair.

Courtesy Family of Parker Amet

COMMENTARY

The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was last week’s biggest Latin American story, but maybe not the most important.

Personally, I think the weightier news was three scientific studies that conclude that the Zika virus does indeed cause fetal microcephaly – the heartbreaking condition that leaves newborns with reduced head and brain size.

Alex Silva / AP via Miami Herald

Last week Brazil’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to impeach and suspend the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff. She now faces a long trial on charges of illegally using state bank funds to cover up big budget deficits.

Rousseff is caught up in an angry public revolt against Brazil's epic corruption, including a $3 billion scandal at the state oil firm Petrobras. But she calls her impeachment a hypocritical "coup" – pointing to the fact that more than half the members of the Brazilian congressional committee that recommended her ouster face corruption charges too.

Pages