Latin America

A leading Nicaraguan journalist has left the country following a police raid on his newsroom last month.

Carlos Fernando Chamorro, editor of the online publication Confidencial, announced on Sunday that he has gone into exile in Costa Rica, citing suppression of independent press under Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

El Nuevo Herald

Leonys Martín was the first Cuban baseball player Paul Minoff ever represented. Minoff, an attorney with GrayRobinson in Fort Lauderdale, was astonished by the scary stories Martín told him about being smuggled out of communist Cuba by human traffickers.

Jim Wyss / Miami Herald

The spotlight remains on immigration policy in the United States, as President Trump continues calls for a wall on the southern border. As the debate continues over how to best handle the hundreds of migrants who attempt to enter the nation’s southern border each day, some former government officials are questioning whether the United States can take cues from Latin America.    

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

On Thursday Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in after his unconstitutional re-election. Much of the world considers his socialist regime a dictatorship – and a disastrous one: Venezuela is suffering the worst economic collapse in the world right now.

But is it also a dangerous one? Lately the U.S. and much of Latin America are calling Venezuela an erratic security threat. It's escalating tensions with its neighbors – and last month welcomed Russian bomber planes into the country.

To understand what's going on with Venezuela, WLRN’s Tim Padgett spoke with Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami international studies professor and an expert on South American security issues.

Martin Mejia / AP

Next week Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in after a re-election much of the international community considered a sham. But a group of Latin American countries on Friday told Maduro they won’t recognize his new term in office.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Immigrant caravans – and family separation. Venezuela and Nicaragua rocked by refugee and human rights crises. Someone not named Castro becoming president of Cuba; Brazil and Mexico electing populists as presidents – one of them with a big reputation for sexism. But women surging big at the polls, too.

This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Joel Palacios says he used to have it all — a well-paying government job that let him travel across Colombia, the respect of everyone he encountered. "Everywhere I was 'el doctor Joel,' " he says — doctor being an honorific commonly used to denote respect in Latin America.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Turns out Kathy Ann Paul – aka Sweet Hand Kathy – is as capable a DJ as she is a baker.

Right now, when you walk into her Miami Gardens restaurant – called, of course, Sweet Hand Kathy – you’re likely to be regaled with “parang,” a festive blend of music like Trinidadian calypso and Venezuelan gaita. That’s because parang season means Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean island country where Paul grew up.

Sam Turken / WLRN

South Florida Democrats said Monday the U.S. must increase pressure on the Venezuelan government to end a devastating humanitarian crisis that has forced millions of people to flee the country.

Rampant inflation and corruption has left Venezuela with dire shortages of food, water, medical supplies and electricity. During a roundtable discussion with Venezuelan community activists in Sunrise, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the U.S. has given the crisis limited attention.

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The U.S. just slapped heavier economic sanctions on the Nicaraguan government for its violent repression of protesters. Among the Nicaraguans denouncing that regime here in South Florida is the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Luis Enrique. Known as the “Prince of Salsa,”  Luis Enrique today lives in Miami – where his new protest anthem “Mordaza” is a popular hit.

Manuel Rueda / WLRN News

ABOARD THE USNS COMFORT | A few years ago, Dr. Juan Manuel Zambrano was a family physician in Mucuchíes, Venezuela, in the country’s mountainous western Andes region. That is, until the day he realized Venezuela’s medicine and medical equipment shortages made it all but impossible for him to practice anymore.

Brazil has rescinded its bid to host a major U.N. conference on climate change next year, raising questions about how the incoming far-right administration will handle environmental issues.

Brazil's foreign ministry made the announcement, saying it withdrew its offer due to "the current fiscal and budget constraints, which are expected to remain in the near future," according to a statement provided to The Associated Press.

Eraldo Peres / AP via Miami Herald

This month Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro took a hard line against communist Cuba. The right-wing congressman said when he becomes President in January, he’ll take aim at a program that pays thousands of Cuban doctors to work in Brazil.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

In remarks made in Doral on Monday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and a retiring commander of U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and much of Latin America offered starkly different readings of the state of security in the Western Hemisphere.

The comments came during a change of command ceremony for the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, the branch of the Pentagon that oversees operations in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

José Ignacio Valenzuela is one of Latin America’s most popular authors. His “Malamor” trilogy is among the best-selling young adult novels in the Spanish-speaking world today. The trilogy’s first part – “To the End of the World” – was just translated into English.

Valenzuela was born in Chile and often goes by the nickname “Chascas.” He now lives here in Palmetto Bay with his husband – and he sat down with WLRN’s Tim Padgett to talk about his romantic, magical-realist fantasy novels and their bilingual appeal.

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