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.

Andrew Harnik / AP

When Cuba opened its  Washington D.C.  embassy yesterday, the moment wasn’t just historic.

It also felt really ironic.

Historic, of course, because Cuba was raising its flag over the U.S. capital for the first time in 54 years. When the U.S. inaugurates its embassy in Havana on August 14, it will be the crowning moment in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two Cold War enemies.

But this might be a déja vu moment, too, because a big reason the U.S. and Cuba severed ties in 1961 was...embassies.  

Mimi Whitefield / Miami Herald

As the U.S. and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations today – and open embassies in their respective capitals – all eyes are on Washington D.C. and Havana.

Except perhaps in South Florida. Here, all Cuban politics is local. So we care less about the hot air rising today in the Beltway (where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez will meet) and in La Habana later this summer (when Kerry plans to visit and inaugurate a U.S. embassy there) and more about what this means for Miami-Dade, the Keys, Broward and Palm Beach.

Marco Ugarte / AP


Once again, Donald Trump’s got it all wrong.

Mexican immigrants aren’t the problem. Mexican officials are.

Especially all the Mexican officials who live deep inside the pockets of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the world’s richest and most wanted drug kingpin. Thanks to them, El Chapo, or “Shorty,” was able to waltz out of Mexico’s most secure penitentiary through a mile-long escape tunnel that’s already being called one of the country’s engineering marvels.

Now that Venezuela can no longer afford to subsidize cheap oil for Caribbean countries, the U.S. wants to step into the region’s fuel future, and the State Department’s point man was in Coral Gables Wednesday to promote that effort.

The poor and indebted island nations of the Caribbean rely heavily – too heavily – on expensive fossil fuel imports. Over the past decade, oil-rich Venezuela has helped them out with its Petrocaribe program. But with Venezuela’s economy now in ruins, the Caribbean desperately needs alternatives.

Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Tim Padgett /

Is the Dominican Republic’s controversial plan to deport hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent on hold? 

Almost half a million people living in the Dominican Republic have Haitian ancestry. But the Dominican Supreme Court has ruled that anyone born in the D.R. after 1929 will have their citizenship revoked if their parents were not Dominican. That has set the stage this summer for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans.


It’s one of those photos that cries out for a thought bubble.

During Pope Francis’ visit to Bolivia yesterday – the second stop on the Pope’s three-country tour of South America this week – left-wing President Evo Morales offered him an unusual crucifix that depicts Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle. That is, Jesus laid out on the international symbol for communism.

Francis reportedly muttered to Morales, "Eso no está bien." Translation: We are not amused.