Florida International University


Seven years ago, Miami native Frank Mora left the Pentagon and came home to take over Florida International University’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, or LACC. Since then, Mora has turned the center into a more nationally important forum of conversation on Latin America.

Joey Flechas / Miami Herald

The police reports paint a scary picture of the scene that led up to four anti-police violence protesters getting arrested at a rally in front of Florida International University.

A woman called 911, according to reports. She said her white vehicle had been “surrounded” and “assaulted by a large crowd” of protesters. A Miami-Dade detective personally witnessed the assault, reads the reports.

There’s just one problem: The 911 call does not match up with the police reports on multiple fronts.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

A plan to improve how public schools in Miami-Dade County teach students about racism drew a racist backlash last week — a response that reflected a long history of denying anti-Black prejudice in a place where race relations are more complicated than Black and white.

Amber Amortegui / WLRN

FIU’s Center for the Humanities in an Urban Environment hosted a webinar titled “Black Humanity Matters: A Teach-In On The Crisis Of Race In America” Thursday via Zoom. 

The event featured lectures from scholars, experts, and artists in fields including media, linguistics, culture, literature, sports, and African and African Diaspora studies.

Provided by Florida International University Frost Art Museum

A teacher banged a wooden spoon on the bottom of a saucepan. That, plus honking horns and the standard graduation songs — “Pomp and Circumstance” and Vitamin C’s 1999 hit "Graduation (Friends Forever)" — were the soundtrack of a coronavirus-style drive-through celebration at a Miami-Dade County public school last week.

The graduates weren’t high school seniors, though.


They're a familiar sight and sound in South Florida’s Venezuelan community: videos of exiles defending themselves against accusations that they’re “Chavistas," or sympathizers of Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist regime, a government despised by almost every expat here.

But the “yo no soy Chavista” Facebook video Carmen Jaqueline Gimenez recently posted was of particular interest because she’s running for office in November – for mayor of Hallandale Beach.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

A group of seven students sit surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, the afternoon sunlight illuminating a darker discussion about a 1937 massacre that left thousands of Haitians dead along the country’s border with the Dominican Republic.

Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE --- Alleging “inferior” online classes after campuses closed this spring because of the coronavirus, a Florida International University student has filed what is at least the third potential class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for students in the state university system.

Attorneys for Sarah Fagundez, an FIU graduate student from Miami, filed the lawsuit late Tuesday in Leon County circuit court against the university system’s Board of Governors. It came a day after a similar lawsuit was filed in federal court against the University of Florida Board of Trustees and a little more than a week after another case was filed against the Board of Governors in circuit court.

Courtesy of Annika Aldana

Students hoping to attend South Florida universities are earning scholarship money by volunteering in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic — even while staying at home to stop the spread of the disease.

Screenshot from Zoom

Your scene partner is delivering a line when his face freezes on the computer screen. Your little brother won’t stay quiet long enough for you to videotape a rehearsal in your childhood bedroom. Your senior production: Canceled.

Ministerio de Salud de Costa Rica

Like so many doctors around the world, pediatric surgeon Roberto Herrera was exposed to the new coronavirus back in early March.

“Of course I was scared at first,” says Herrera. That's in no small part because he was also at-risk: he’s 61 and asthmatic. But Herrera insists he was never panicked. After all, he says, he lives in Costa Rica – which has reported only seven COVID-19 deaths and fewer than 800 cases.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

Cuba has officially registered fewer than 1700 COVID-19 cases. But new data released by one of the island’s most respected institutes suggests the number may be much higher.

Ministerio de Salud de Ecuador

Ecuador's new health minister, Dr. Juan Carlos Zevallos, talks with WLRN's Latin America Report about the "horrifying" experience of trying to get his country's COVID-19 pandemic crisis under control. Calling Ecuador unprepared, he says, is "absolutely unfair."

Michelle Marchante / Miami Herald

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Florida International University’s classes online and its students off campus for the spring semester. Summer courses will be remote, too. Administrators have not yet announced plans for the fall.



COVID-19 is producing a feel-good story across Latin America.

According to this silver linings playbook, the pandemic is neutralizing the powerful street gangs that have made the region the world’s most criminally violent. It’s lowering murder rates and raising gangbangers’ civic consciousness. Post-coronavirus Latin America will be a continent of lions lying with lambs – and no longer such a rampant source of illegal immigration to the U.S.