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 these sponsors:

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Americas
6:30 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Why So Many Latinos Are Becoming Muslims

Latino Muslims marching in New York. The sign they're carrying says in Spanish: Reclaiming our Islamic Heritage.
Credit middleeastamericas.info

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by WLRN Americas Editor Tim Padgett.

Most Latinos know the country is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month right now. What far fewer Latinos know is that next week marks Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s most sacred holidays.

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Americas
2:01 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Argentina's Kirchner To Have Surgery For Brain Hematoma

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will undergo surgery to relieve a hematoma on her brain Tuesday. She is seen here last month, at the U.N. General Assembly.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:07 pm

Days after doctors said Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner must take a month off from work to recover from a brain hematoma, reports now indicate that she'll undergo surgery to relieve the condition Tuesday.

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Americas
6:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Deja Vu Venezuela: How Rotted Is The Revolution?

U.S. dollars and Venezuelan bolivares being exchanged in Caracas.

Anyone who’s traveled to Caracas in the past few years knows the drill. As soon as you clear customs, you scan the airport terminal for the guys in trench coats.

They’ve got the good stuff: bolívares, the Venezuelan currency, which they exchange for your dollars at the black market rate. That means what the bolívar is actually worth -- about six times less than the laughably overvalued official rate of 6.3 to the dollar.

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Americas
7:57 am
Fri October 4, 2013

How Drug Traffickers Are Returning To The Caribbean

Crew members aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant transfer bales of cocaine caught on Feb. 19. Roughly 1,400 pounds of cocaine were seized from a speedboat in the Caribbean in the operation. Officials say drug traffickers are sending larger shipments of cocaine through the Caribbean.
Credit Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon-Paul Rios / U.S. COAST GUARD

More of the cocaine smuggled to the United States is passing through the Caribbean, officials said, representing a shift in which drug traffickers are returning to a region they largely abandoned decades ago.

RELATED: Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

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Americas
7:30 am
Thu October 3, 2013

'Castrocare' Divides Doctors In Cuba, Brazil

Cuba is sending thousands of badly needed doctors to Brazil, but Brazil's medical establishment has sought to block the program. Here, Cuban Dr. Yocelin Macias treats a patient in the capital Brasilia on Aug. 30.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:48 am

Call it "Castrocare." Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro sent doctors abroad for decades to work throughout Latin America and as far away as Africa.

In some cases, like Haiti, the medical missions were seen as purely humanitarian. In other places, like Venezuela, it was a form of barter that provided Cuba with subsidized oil imports.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

La Mano (The Hand), a modernist sculpture at Punta del Este, is one of Uruguay's best known landmarks.
Credit Flickr

This article was originally published in October and has been updated.

Uruguayans love it when you tell them what a resort paradise Punta del Este is. Or how tasty the country’s Tannat wine is. Or what a stable democracy their small nation (pop. 3.5 million) has turned out to be.

What they don’t like is to hear Uruguay called, as many do label it today, “the Switzerland of South America.” Not that Uruguayans dislike Switzerland. But many if not most of them think the comparison is cliché, exaggerated, inaccurate, condescending.

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Americas
11:18 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Canada To Launch Billion-Dollar Marijuana Free Market This Week

A new free market for medical marijuana in Canada will replace small growers with large-scale indoor farms.
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:53 pm

Canada is ushering in what it projects to be a $1.3 billion medical marijuana free market this week, as it replaces small and homegrown pot production with quality-controlled marijuana produced by large farms. The market could eventually serve up to 450,000 Canadians, according to government estimates.

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Americas
7:43 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Holy Smokes, Batman, You're Protesting In Brazil!

An anti-government demonstrator dressed as Batman carries a Brazilian flag at a protest during Brazil's Independence Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. The protesters called on the government to provide better security, education, health and public services.
Ricardo Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:52 am

It's not Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but people are dressing up anyway.

A group of Brazilian protesters have been coming out in costume at demonstrations against Rio's governor, Sergio Cabral. There's the masked crusader Batman, of course, but also a motley assortment of other characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

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Americas
7:39 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Mexican State's Anti-Corruption Plan: Hire Female Traffic Cops

Dressed in the black and neon orange colors of the new transit police, these women are slated to replace a force of notoriously corrupt traffic cops in Mexico State.
Edith Chapin NPR

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:25 pm

In the central State of Mexico, officials are trying a new approach to fight corruption.

Authorities have hired hundreds of women and put them in charge of issuing all traffic violations. They're trying to crack down on the famous mordida, or bribe — a favorite among Mexico's crooked traffic cops.

Authorities say women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men. But the plan has run into a few snags.

Choosing Female Cops

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Americas
11:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Miami (And The U.S.) Are Becoming Latin America

A homeless man in Miami.
Credit Surrender Ministries

There's an old joke about Miami: Latin Americans love to visit the city because it's so close to the United States.

Then there’s the chestnut about Miami being the capital of Latin America. Or, Miami is Latin America where the phones work. And so on.

The point is, Miami takes pride in saying, We are Latin America as much as we are America. And that’s a good thing.

Except when it’s not.

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