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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.

500 Latin American Officials Flock To Miami To Learn How To Strengthen Their Municipalities

More than 500 Latin American officials gathered downtown this week for the annual Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities.


The conference, which is hosted at the Hilton Downtown, includes panels and workshops about how to create sustainable development in Latin American municipalities by decentralizing government.


Allan Rosenbaum, director of the Institute for Public Management and Community Service at Florida International University (FIU), has helped organize the conference for years.


"The biggest issue facing Latin America itself is building and sustaining democratic institutions" - Allan Rosenbaum


Rosenbaum saysa major issue most of the attending countries face is the concentration of government funds at the national level, which doesn't allow for the even disbursement of resources throughout the country.


"There's a very close correlation between the amount of ... government activity that occurs at the local level and the degree of economic development," he said. 


Yet Rosenbaum says he has seen improvements within the last 40 years because of the creation of more democratic societies in the region.


"The biggest issue facing Latin America itself is building and sustaining democratic institutions," he said. 


The conference was organized by Miami-Dade County, FIU and the World Bank Group. It runs until Thursday.