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COMMENTARY

When Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed this week he’d tested positive for COVID-19 – hardly stunning news given his reckless disregard for the pandemic – he became one of the Western Hemisphere’s 6.2 million cases and counting.

FIU LACC

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.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits the developing world harder, Latin America has become its new epicenter – and a new pandemic forecast for the region is bleak.

Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez / AP

powerful earthquake struck Mexico's southern Oaxaca region on Tuesday, killing at least five people and shaking buildings hundreds of miles away.

The 7.4-magnitude quake struck mid-morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was off the Pacific coast about seven miles southwest of Santa María Zapotitlán, near the beach resort of Huatuco.

Matias Delacroix / AP

COMMENTARY

We’re now familiar with websites from Johns Hopkins and Worldometer that grimly tally each country’s coronavirus cases and deaths. But unless you’re a hemispheric policy dweeb, you probably haven’t checked out a web page the Wilson Center has launched that tracks COVID-19 aid from the U.S. and China to Latin America, the new pandemic epicenter.

You should – because it’s another indicator that China’s crusade to spread its influence in the Americas isn’t slowing down.

Andre Penner / AP

COMMENTARY

It’s a mystery why the Trump Administration chose Miami this week as one of only two major U.S. cities to be sent “riot teams” as protests against police brutality and racism sweep the nation.

But you can be fairly sure that that brief federal deployment impressed one very large group here in particular: conservative, voter-eligible Latin American expats, especially those who fled lawlessness in their home countries for the law and order of this one. And yet, Latin American expats are precisely the South Floridian voices that should be out in front of these angry marches – warning the rest of us.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

One of the most popular, and most ridiculous, social media discussions of the past year is the big Capitalism-versus-Socialism Debate. Thanks to President Trump’s right-wing demonization of socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ left-wing demonization of capitalism, folks in America – and in Latin America, thanks to Sanders’ recent kudos to Cuba – have decided it’s an either-or issue.

It’s not, of course. The best societies are always a hybrid of free wealth production and fair wealth redistribution. And the coronavirus pandemic, from São Paulo to Seattle, may finally affirm that commonsense reality across our absurdly polarized hemisphere.

Fernando Llano / AP

COMMENTARY

I hope American men paid attention to what Mexican women did this week. And I hope it made them realize American women have reason to do the same.

What would happen if all the women in a country simply disappeared?

Mexico got a preview Monday, when women across the country stayed home as part of a 24-hour strike to protest staggering levels of violence against women.

Calling it "a day without us" or "a day without women," countless women skipped work, school and social functions, leaving classrooms half full, trains and buses empty and fewer cars on the streets.

Priorities USA via Twitter

Last week, the Democratic Super PAC Priorities U.S.A. launched a social media ad campaign that's created a lot of buzz in South Florida.

Screenshot from Google.com

On Google’s homepage, Mexican TV comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños stands proudly with one hand on his hip as his body is magically projecting out of a classic 1970s television. 

Gómez Bolaños, who is better known as Chespirito or "Little Shakespeare," died at age 85 in 2014. Today would have marked his 91st birthday. 

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.

Port Tampa Bay

2019 was a busy year for Port Tampa Bay. Florida’s largest port set a record for cruise passengers and welcomed cargo ships from Asia.

CEO Paul Anderson said direct service to Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian ports has been a priority since he was hired in 2012. The service’s launch coincided with a trade war between the Trump Administration and China, which included tariffs and prolonged negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement.  

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.

Marcelo Ruiz Mendoza / AP

COMMENTARY

Even by the satanic standards of all the clerical sexual abuse cases the world has learned of, this one is especially evil.

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