Latin America and the Caribbean

Rodrigo Abd / AP

When São Paulo, Brazil, reported Latin America’s first case of the new coronavirus last month, South Florida had reason to worry.

ERIKA SANTELICES / AFP/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Last month, the Dominican Republic suspended municipal elections when officials realized the electronic voting machines were malfunctioning. Protests followed in front of the Central Elections Board building and throughout the country. In Miami, protests held in solidarity with the Dominicans were held Downtown.

This weekend a festival in Downtown Doral celebrated the country’s independence day, but not everyone wanted to talk politics.

AP

COMMENTARY

Reparations are a big – and valid – debate today. Should the U.S. compensate African Americans for centuries of slavery? Should France pony up for the billions of dollars it extorted from Haiti in the 19th century?

Yes and yes, by the way. But recent events remind me we should add another historical world power to the reparations roster: Spain.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

Marco Ugarte / AP

COMMENTARY

When I read this week that President Trump and House Democrats had agreed on a new and improved North American Free Trade Agreement – now called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA – I recalled an afternoon 28 years ago when a ticked-off corporate honcho jabbed his finger in my ribs.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

COMMENTARY

I recently spent a day with 20 Venezuelan immigrant women who’ve got heads for business.

They’re in a Miami-Dade College program that teaches them entrepreneurial skills. We take access to those small business tools for granted in the U.S. But many of the venezolanas reminded me it’s still difficult to put them to use in Latin America – where coddled and connected economic elites often regard small- and medium-size startups as a threat to their cozy status quo.

Courtesy Bibenetakole

We first met Christherson Jeanty last week in our report on Haiti's grave political and economic crises. Jeanty was born in Haiti, grew up in Pompano Beach — and now lives in Haiti, where he owns a job placement and outsourcing firm. He also hosts an internet talk show, “Haiti Biz News,” on his YouTube channel SeeJeanty.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Over the weekend Haitians again took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to demand the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse. They've been protesting for a year now – and they say they’re tired of an endless economic crisis that’s made it hard to find food and fuel. Or to pay for it if they do find it.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

COMMENTARY

Right now the western hemisphere – believe it or not, America – is dealing with behavior by federal politicians that's more outrageous than President Trump’s alleged Ukrainian shenanigans. This week the dubious prize goes to Haitian Senator Ralph Fethiere – who repeatedly fired a gun outside the legislature in Port-au-Prince on Monday, wounding two people, including an AP photographer.

Salvador Melendez / AP

COMMENTARY

As a U.S. correspondent who covers Latin America and the Caribbean from South Florida, I chafe watching my country acquire traits of the developing nations I write about. Obscene wealth disparities. Zero-sum tribal politics. Mass incarceration.

And now, extremist attacks on abortion rights.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Former President Bill Clinton was in Miami Tuesday for a meeting on improving disaster response and resiliency in the Caribbean.

The event, organized by the Clinton Global Initiative and hosted by the University of Miami, aimed in part to introduce people working on hurricane recovery projects to potential funders. Those projects are helping Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica build back stronger after last year’s devastating hurricane season.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Rising dictatorship in Venezuela. Wrenching disaster in Puerto Rico. 2017 was not an especially pleasant year in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Government of Dominica

Since Hurricane Maria crashed through the Caribbean last month, most of the attention has focused on Puerto Rico. But smaller nearby islands were even harder hit. Especially Dominica. It was the first to feel Maria’s Category 5, 160-mph winds. They demolished the country, leaving 27 dead, 50 still missing – and the population of 71,000 still with little access to food, water and power.

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