Tim Padgett

Americas editor

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. He has reported on Latin America for almost 30 years - for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief in Mexico and Miami (where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast) from 1996 to 2013.

Padgett has interviewed more than 20 heads of state, including former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and he was one of the few U.S. correspondents to sit down with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He has covered every major Latin American and Caribbean story from the end of the Central American civil wars of the 1980s to NAFTA and the Colombian guerrilla conflict of the 1990s; to the Brazilian boom, the Venezuelan revolution and Mexican drug war carnage of the 2000s; to the current normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

In 2005, Padgett received Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest international award in journalism, for his body of work from the region. In 2016 he won a national Edward R. Murrow award for Best Radio Series for "The Migration Maze," about the brutal causes of - and potential solutions to - Central American migration. His 1993 Newsweek cover, “Cocaine Comes Home,” won the Inter-American Press Association’s drug coverage award.

Padgett is an Indiana native and a graduate of Wabash College. He received a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School before studying in Caracas, Venezuela, at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. He started his career at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he led the paper's coverage of the 1986 immigration reform. Padgett has also written for publications such as The New Republic and America and has been a frequent analyst on CNN, Fox and NPR, as well as Spanish-language networks such as Univision.

Padgett has been an adult literacy volunteer and is a member of the Catholic anti-poverty organization St. Vincent de Paul. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two children. 

Ways to Connect

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

Almost two weeks after the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people, Florida Gov. Rick Scott came to Miami-Dade County on Tuesday to detail his vision for stronger school safety. He was joined by parents of two of the student victims.

At Miami-Dade police headquarters in Doral, Scott laid out a three-pronged, $500 million proposal to prevent future school shootings in Florida:

YouTube

Last week Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his country had found “the perfect kryptonite to defeat Superman!” By Superman he meant the U.S. And by kryptonite he meant cryptocurrency – el petro.

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

Venezuela closed its consulate in Miami six years ago. Last week President Nicolás Maduro issued an order to open it again. But there’s one big problem: he probably can’t.

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez closed the Miami consulate in 2012, even though South Florida is home to the largest Venezuela community in the U.S. He did so because almost all those expats opposed his socialist revolution.

Fernando Llano / AP

Every day thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country to escape the worst economic collapse in the world today. Many have come to South Florida. Venezuela’s GDP is sinking so deep, and its hyperinflation is rising so fast, it’s hard to keep track of exchange rates, food prices, minimum wages, foreign reserves and other critical economic indicators. And the authoritarian socialist regime is trying to keep a lot of that embarrassing data hidden.

Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel via Miami Herald

After last week’s school shooting in Parkland that killed 17 people, a lot of focus has fallen on the home where the confessed shooter was living. WLRN spoke with the father of that family about the young man’s mental health issues – and about issues of gun ownership.

Updated Feb. 16

The 19-year-old man who’s confessed to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people on Wednesday left a violent social media footprint. But the teens and adults who might have stopped him say they weren’t aware.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

South Florida has petal power. Just about all the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami, where they're the No. 1 import.

The U.S. military’s Southern Command, or Southcom, hosted a summit of experts in Miami Thursday on America’s growing opioid crisis. Among them was Jim Walsh, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics.

Walsh told WLRN one of his big concerns is the growing potential for increased production of fentanyl – widely considered the most addictive and dangerous opioid. Walsh said in the past China has been the sole source of fentanyl. But there are signs it’s now being produced in this hemisphere:

Luis Hidalgo / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Last week, on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s 7-day tour of Latin America, I all but wrote that I felt sorry for the man.

Here was Tillerson embarking on a mission to drum up more regional support for U.S. foreign policy goals like the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Yet he had the ball-and-chain of President Trump’s anti-Latin American jabs –  calling Mexicans “rapists,” Haiti a “shithole” – hanging from his foot.

Courtsey Diana Caballero

Sometimes an accent can render a language sexy. Even elegant.

Orlando Sierra / AFP/Getty Images via El Nuevo Herald

COMMENTARY

When Rex Tillerson leaves for his first visit to Latin America as Secretary of State on Thursday, he’ll have the ominous warnings of two Cuban-American Senators ringing in his ears.

But it’s not communist Cuba that’s got Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey in a lather. It’s Mexico – the first stop on the Secretary of State’s five-nation itinerary.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last January, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez agreed to a federal request to hand over undocumented immigrant detainees. That decision is controversial a year later, and on Tuesday immigration activists stepped up calls on Gimenez to reverse it.

YouTube

COMMENTARY

A lot of Venezuelans who oppose their authoritarian socialist regime are into self-flagellation at the moment. They feel guilty because they didn’t rally behind rebel cop Oscar Pérez – whom authorities killed last week – until it was too late.

Pages