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.

El Nuevo Herald

Leonys Martín was the first Cuban baseball player Paul Minoff ever represented. Minoff, an attorney with GrayRobinson in Fort Lauderdale, was astonished by the scary stories Martín told him about being smuggled out of communist Cuba by human traffickers.

Jim Wyss / Miami Herald

The spotlight remains on immigration policy in the United States, as President Trump continues calls for a wall on the southern border. As the debate continues over how to best handle the hundreds of migrants who attempt to enter the nation’s southern border each day, some former government officials are questioning whether the United States can take cues from Latin America.    

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

On Thursday Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in after his unconstitutional re-election. Much of the world considers his socialist regime a dictatorship – and a disastrous one: Venezuela is suffering the worst economic collapse in the world right now.

But is it also a dangerous one? Lately the U.S. and much of Latin America are calling Venezuela an erratic security threat. It's escalating tensions with its neighbors – and last month welcomed Russian bomber planes into the country.

To understand what's going on with Venezuela, WLRN’s Tim Padgett spoke with Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami international studies professor and an expert on South American security issues.

Martin Mejia / AP

Next week Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in after a re-election much of the international community considered a sham. But a group of Latin American countries on Friday told Maduro they won’t recognize his new term in office.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Immigrant caravans – and family separation. Venezuela and Nicaragua rocked by refugee and human rights crises. Someone not named Castro becoming president of Cuba; Brazil and Mexico electing populists as presidents – one of them with a big reputation for sexism. But women surging big at the polls, too.

A serendipitous change of plans could have saved lives in the open ocean.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship, rerouted because of a storm, crossed paths last Friday with two stranded fishermen and sent a small boat to rescue the two men.

The fishermen had been adrift for nearly three weeks by the time the Empress of the Seas spotted their signal light, the company says.

James Van Fleet, chief meteorologist for Royal Caribbean, described the unlikely rescue in a tweet.

In America, the boozy drink of Christmastime is buttery, cream-colored eggnog. But throughout the Caribbean, the sip of the season comes in a holiday-appropriate shade of ruby red: sorrel.

This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Joel Palacios says he used to have it all — a well-paying government job that let him travel across Colombia, the respect of everyone he encountered. "Everywhere I was 'el doctor Joel,' " he says — doctor being an honorific commonly used to denote respect in Latin America.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Turns out Kathy Ann Paul – aka Sweet Hand Kathy – is as capable a DJ as she is a baker.

Right now, when you walk into her Miami Gardens restaurant – called, of course, Sweet Hand Kathy – you’re likely to be regaled with “parang,” a festive blend of music like Trinidadian calypso and Venezuelan gaita. That’s because parang season means Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean island country where Paul grew up.

Sam Turken / WLRN

South Florida Democrats said Monday the U.S. must increase pressure on the Venezuelan government to end a devastating humanitarian crisis that has forced millions of people to flee the country.

Rampant inflation and corruption has left Venezuela with dire shortages of food, water, medical supplies and electricity. During a roundtable discussion with Venezuelan community activists in Sunrise, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the U.S. has given the crisis limited attention.

YouTube

The U.S. just slapped heavier economic sanctions on the Nicaraguan government for its violent repression of protesters. Among the Nicaraguans denouncing that regime here in South Florida is the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Luis Enrique. Known as the “Prince of Salsa,”  Luis Enrique today lives in Miami – where his new protest anthem “Mordaza” is a popular hit.

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