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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.

South Florida Maestros Applaud Obama's Tango Tutorial In Argentina

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
AP via Miami Herald
President Obama (left, with Argentine partner) dancing tango in Buenos Aires while Michelle Obama (right) tries the steps herself.

The world is buzzing over the viral video of President Obama dancing tango Wednesday night at a state dinner during his visit to Argentina. And no one is watching it more than tango instructors, especially here in South Florida. Today they seemed to give el presidente thumbs up.

President Obama is not known for his dancing prowess. But tango maestra Monica Llobet applauds his 40-second performance in Buenos Aires. Llobet runs the Alma de Tango program at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables – and she says Obama is an impressive beginner.

“Oh, I think he did wonderful," says Llobet. "I mean, he was put on the spot, never danced the tango before. One of the elements that distinguishes the tango is the beauty and elegance of the walk, and President Obama just has a natural, elegant walk.”

claudio_ponce_pic.jpg
Tim Padgett
/
WLRN.org

Claudio Ponce is an Argentina native who also teaches tango in Miami with a program called Milonga de Los Latigos. (It holds regular tango gatherings at the Elk's Lodge in South Miami.) Ponce watched the Obama video with WLRN, and he too was impressed – if only because he was so surprised to see a U.S. president even try to tango.

“He approaches the basic tango steps very correctly,” Ponce said. “I like his proper and elegant posture there. As an Argentine, I appreciate the respect the president gave our dance.”

Obama’s only slip-up was his failure to dip his partner at the end. But as Ponce notes, this was less about dancing and more about diplomacy.