Latin America

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Thanks to research done at the University of Miami, we know the epic dust clouds that drift out of North Africa may sometimes prevent hurricanes. (They block the solar energy those cyclones need to form out in the Atlantic.) Now UM scientists have made another discovery linking Africa and the Americas – and this time it’s about smoke. They’ve found that fire smoke from southern Africa also floats our way and has a big, often beneficial impact on the Amazon rainforest and our oceans.

Michel Euler / AP

In Paris last week, Egan Bernal became the first Colombian – and the first Latin American – to ever win the Super Bowl of cycling: the Tour de France. At one point during his victory ceremony near the city’s Arc de Triomphe, an NBC sports commentator mused that “the Colombians have taken over” – and he may not have been far off.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

In the U.S. today we use hashtags to hash out everything in our lives, from women’s rights to cancelled flights. But in Cuba, socialism has kept social media out of people’s lives.

Until now.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Miami is often called the capital of Latin America. So when 20 Democratic presidential candidates gathered for debates in Miami last week, WLRN’s Americas editor Tim Padgett thought he'd hear more about Latin America policy. But as Padgett told WLRN’s Luis Hernandez, he and a lot of other South Floridians were disappointed.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls debated this week about everything from healthcare to higher education to gun violence.

Notably missing from both nights — Latin America policy. Four hours of debate in Miami — the gateway to the Americas — and not a mention of Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua (what the Trump administration has called the "troika of tyranny").

Catharine Skipp / University of Miami Law School

When Sergio Moro gave a lecture at the University of Miami last year he got a loud, standing ovation — because what he was doing in Brazil struck a loud, resounding chord in South Florida.

Moro was the man who was draining the deep, fetid swamp of corruption in Brazil.

MIAMI HERALD

A Paraguayan businessman accused of moving hundreds of millions of dollars around the globe for drug traffickers and other criminals with suspected links to the terrorist group Hezbollah was extradited Thursday to Miami to face money laundering charges in the United States.

Nader Mohamad Farhat, operator of one of the biggest currency exchange businesses in the Tri-Border Area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, has his first appearance in Miami federal court Friday to decide whether he will face money laundering charges in Miami or in New York.

Updated at 4:15 a.m. ET on Monday:

The lights came back on late Sunday for some 44 million people in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay after the sudden collapse of an interconnected South American power grid.

At about 7 a.m., the Edesur electric utility tweeted that "a massive failure" left Argentina and Uruguay without power. Electricity was not fully restored until late in the day.

Eduardo Verdugo; Patrick Semansky / AP

COMMENTARY

A conservative Facebook friend in my native Indiana recently endorsed a meme that features right-wing radio rage-monger Rush Limbaugh saying today’s immigrants want to “erase America.”

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

Last week President Trump dealt another blow to the U.S. policy of engagement with communist Cuba. He banned U.S. people-to-people travel to Cuba – and also cruise line travel, which last year carried an estimated 800,000 passengers to the island. It was just the latest rollback of the normalization of relations that Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, began five years ago. And it raises the question: Does U.S. engagement with Cuba have a future anymore?

John Pardo / Courtesy

For Coconut Grove resident John Pardo, "cooking is the ultimate expression of love." That's been true his entire life -- even when he was shot in the back in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, causing him to be paralyzed from the waist down.

YouTube

During heavy rains last year in a small town outside Havana, people saw something remarkable. Large freshwater catfish called claria were swimming in the flooded streets. In a video posted on YouTube, excited locals splash out to grab them.

But that happy scene was also an environmental alert. Claria are an invasive species in Cuba. They’re supposed to be confined to aquaculture fisheries, where they’re bred for food. Outside those farms – as these claria obviously were – they’re notorious for devouring anything in their paths.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Last week representatives of Venezuela's socialist regime and its political opposition met for talks in Oslo, Norway. Norway had offered earlier this year to mediate between the two sides – but news of the meetings was a surprise, because less than a month ago opposition leader Juan Guaidó called (unsuccessfully) for an outright military overthrow of authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro.

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