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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Americas
7:13 am
Wed October 30, 2013

U.N. Condemns U.S. Embargo Of Cuba, Again

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm

In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:

"For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year's tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Why The Reign Of Argentina's 'Queen Cristina' Is All But Over -- And How Miami Benefits

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Credit Flickr

I met Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007, just before she was first elected president of Argentina. In our interview, she talked a good deal about the rise of women leaders in the Americas, from then Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to then U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Americas
10:31 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Police Arrest 90 After Second Night Of Violent Protests In Brazil

People ride bikes by a car on fire in a highway in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:12 pm

During a second night of violent protests, police in São Paulo arrested 90 people. NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro reports that since protests flared this summer, confrontations with police in Brazil's two largest cities — São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — have happened almost daily.

Reporting from São Paulo, Lourdes sent this report to our Newscast unit:

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Americas
7:18 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Brazil's Restrictions On Abortion May Get More Restrictive

Demonstrators who are critical of the Catholic Church and favor abortion rights take part in a protest in Rio de Janeiro during Pope Francis' visit to Brazil on July 27. Abortion is illegal in Brazil with rare exceptions. Some lawmakers are attempting to make it even more restrictive.
Tasso Marcelo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:15 pm

The doctor's office is clean and white and comfortingly bland in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo. We were given the address by a health professional who told us one of the doctors here gives safe abortions in a country where they are illegal.

The doctor agrees to speak on condition of anonymity after we prove we are not there to entrap him. He does not admit on tape that he terminates unwanted pregnancies. But he says openly he favors legalizing abortions.

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Americas
7:00 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Cuba's Currency Correction: Will Castro Fall Short Again?

Cuban leader Raul Castro (middle) recently with other senior members of the Communist Party elite.
Credit Flickr

Last year I spoke by phone with a frustrated woman in Santiago, Cuba, who was trying to start a seamstress business. It’s the sort of small private enterprise that Cuban leader Raúl Castro claims to be encouraging as part of free-market reforms meant to salvage the island’s threadbare, communist economy. (But don’t dare say Raúl is copying China’s communist-capitalist system. That makes him mad.)

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Americas
7:23 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Following Bloomberg's Lead, Mexico Aims To Fight Fat

A street vendor fries food for lunch customers in Mexico City on July 10. Mexico has now surpassed the United States in levels of adult obesity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre AP

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:10 am

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

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Americas
8:41 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Sony Explains Why Its PlayStation 4 Costs $1,845 In Brazil

Sony announced U.S. and European prices for its new PlayStation 4 at a news conference this summer. The game system will cost some $1,845 in Brazil, angering fans.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:05 pm

Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real — or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.

The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.

The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.

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Americas
8:32 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Haitian Cholera Strain Spreads To Mexico

A nurse treats a cholera patient at the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in August. Health officials say that the strain of cholera circulating in the country— the same one that first appeared in Haiti three years ago — has also caused outbreaks in Cuba and now Mexico.
Erika Santelices AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:21 pm

A South Asian strain of cholera that was introduced into Haiti three years ago this month has now spread to this continent's mainland.

Mexico is the fourth Western Hemisphere country to experience the cholera outbreak. It's a disease that's very hard to stamp out once it gets into an area with poor water and sanitation.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:30 am
Wed October 23, 2013

How Brazilians Have Helped Save South Florida Real Estate

Credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Click the play button above and listen to this segment from WLRN's hour-long episode, "The Sunshine Economy: Brazil & South Florida," with host Tom Hudson. The episode is part of an ongoing series examining key industries of the South Florida economy. Shows air Mondays at 9:00 a.m. on 91.3 FM.

The years 2009 and 2010 were dark days for Miami real estate. Home prices plummeted. Mortgages imploded. Foreclosures soared.

And buyers flooded in from Brazil.

Since that time, Brazilians have become the top foreign buyers of homes and especially condominiums in South Florida. As recently as June, the largest number of foreign-based online visitors to the Miami Association of Realtors website came from Brazil. In 2011 and 2012, most international buyers of residential real estate in the Miami area came from Brazil.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Why Dilma's Doldrums Nixed Her State Visit To Washington

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends a recent meeting of the G-20 in St. Petersburg, Russia

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

Washington was supposed to fete Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff today. But she canceled her formal state visit, the only one the White House had scheduled for a foreign head of state this year.

By now most people know why. Rousseff is protesting revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on her personal phone calls and e-mails.

“Without respect for sovereignty,” she said in a blistering speech last month at the United Nations aimed at the Obama Administration, “there is no basis for relationships among nations.”

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Americas
3:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Cuba To Phase Out Two-Peso Currency System

A woman displays Cuban pesos, or CUP (right) and the more valuable convertible pesos, or CUC (left), in Havana Tuesday. Raul Castro's government announced that it will begin unifying the two currencies.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.

The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.

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Trade
11:49 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Spanish Investment, Trade Ties With Florida Offer Business Gold

Angel Santibañez is the owner of Brisas de España, 8726 NW 26 St., Doral, which carries a variety of goods from Spain including paella pans hanging from wall, hams, ceramics and food products.
Credit C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff

Arriving in South Florida, visitors from Spain might feel as if they’ve never left the Iberian Peninsula.

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Americas
11:37 am
Mon October 21, 2013

A Look Back At The Protests That Have Bedeviled Brazil And Dilma Rousseff

Demonstrations in Fortaleza, Brazil, part of a movement that began against bus fare increases and expanded to include spending on soccer stadiums for the 2014 World Cup.
Credit Semilla Luz/Flickr

Preocupado, sim. Surpreendido, não.

Worried, yes. Surprised, no.

That’s how most Brazilians in South Florida are reacting to the sudden and sometimes violent outburst of protests sweeping their home country this week. While they’re obviously concerned to see hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Brazil’s major cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, they’ve long seen the frustrations bubbling beneath the surface of the nation’s waning economic boom.

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Americas
11:19 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Think Driving In South Florida Is Scary? Try Brazil

Brazilian carmakers, capitalizing on rising demand as the nation’s middle class expands, are making a 10% profit these days, twice the global average.
Credit emergingmoney.com

Like Miami Herald sportswriter David J. Neal, who wrote so eloquently about his boyhood memories of the Indianapolis 500, I’m a Hoosier-turned-Miamian who spent many a May in my own youth at the world’s most famous race car track.

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