President Trump

Christian Palma / AP via Miami Herald

Mexico was in the news a lot last week. It hailed a new trade agreement with the U.S. and Canada to replace NAFTA – and President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Trump even spoke by phone about ways to improve Mexico’s economic development in order to reduce illegal immigration.

“We estimate joint investments of more than $30 billion toward that effort,” López Obrador said then in Mexico City. It was a major break from the animosity that’s existed between Mexico and the U.S. since Trump was elected two years ago after running a campaign that insulted Mexico – and Mexicans – at about every stop.

So this feels like a big moment for Mexico, which is economically and politically the most important country in Latin America for the U.S. Yet in this part of the U.S. – Florida and especially South Florida – we’re so focused on Cuba and South America that we rarely think about Mexico.

The University of Miami thinks that has to change.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Standing alongside Puerto Rican community leaders in Miami on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he didn't want to talk politics on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's landfall in Puerto Rico. 

But that wish gradually gave way as the Democrat from Florida condemned President Donald Trump for disputing the death toll from the hurricane and called on the federal government to do more to rebuild the island. 

Courtesy Ernesto Morales

President Trump astonished people across the country last week when he denied 3,000 Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricane Maria. He insisted (falsely) that Democrats inflated the death toll to make him “look bad.”

For Ernesto Morales, Trump’s tweets exacerbated his awful memories of the storm, which demolished Puerto Rico a year ago this Thursday.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the weekend the New York Times created hemispheric buzz. It reported that U.S. officials talked privately this past year with rebellious Venezuelan military officers. Those officers wanted U.S. help to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro.

Apparently nothing came of the talks; the Trump Administration declined to help the rogue militares. But the Times story was more evidence that President Trump is exploring unusually strong action to topple Maduro. At the White House last summer, he'd already displayed that impulse.

“We have many options for Venezuela," Trump said then, "including a possible military option if necessary…”

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

Two undocumented immigrants who were arrested for driving without a license and face deportation are suing Miami-Dade County over its immigration detention policy. The lawsuit was filed in federal court this week, claiming the county’s policy is unconstitutional.

 

Ramon Espinosa; Evan Vucci / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Intellectual honesty is rarely a politician’s strong suit. But Florida Senator Marco Rubio showed us just how epic his hypocrisy is when he didn't denounce President Trump’s bromance this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. So epic it can only be explained by a line from another epic, “Lawrence of Arabia.”

To wit: There’s a big difference between a politician who merely hides the truth and a politician who’s forgotten where he put it.

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here’s the logic behind the Trump Administration’s wrongheaded policy of separating undocumented migrant parents from their children when they’re detained: It’s only doing what law enforcement does any time it arrests suspects – who, after all, don’t get to take their kids to jail with them.

But the logic snaps when the Trumpistas also insist separating families this way is a big deterrent to illegal immigration. Just like it deters all crime, right?

Updated at 5:21 p.m. ET

There was God Bless America, but no Swoop the Eagle. The U.S. Marine Band was there, but neither quarterback Nick Foles, nor head coach Doug Pederson, nor any member of the 2018 Super Bowl winning team was at the White House Tuesday for what was to be a celebration of the Philadelphia Eagles victory.

Desmond Boylan / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

This Sunday, Cuba will hold what passes for parliamentary elections there. Voters will ratify National Assembly candidates pre-selected by the ruling Communist Party. On April 19 the Assembly will elect one of its own as President of the country.

It’s a neat little system that’s even less democratic than the U.S. Electoral College.

NASA

The Trump administration’s $19.9 billion budget for NASA calls for privatizing the International Space Station. Senator Bill Nelson is blasting the proposed budget.

The budget proposal provides nearly $10 billion to support human space exploration of the moon. It pays for the Space Launch System and Orion capsule, that will launch from Kennedy Space Center, slated for a mission to the moon in 2020.

President Trump will finally be unveiling his long-awaited $1.5 trillion plan to repair and rebuild the nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads, airports, seaports and water systems Monday. But, the proposal will not be one that offers large sums of federal funding to states for infrastructure needs, but it is instead a financing plan that shifts much of the funding burden onto the states and onto local governments.

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.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If you’re still wondering why U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions puts up with all those humiliating public smack-downs from his boss, President Trump, then hop on the Internet and watch the video of him on Fox News Tuesday night.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last week the renowned Key West Literary Seminar held its 36th annual gathering – and the theme of this year’s four-day event was “Writers of the Caribbean.” Thanks to President Trump, it turned out the organizers could not have picked a timelier subject.

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