Nicaragua

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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.

Juan Karita / AP

COMMENTARY

Tuesday night the Trump Administration made the surprising if not stunning announcement that, for the first time ever, the U.S. is nominating an American to head the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). For many if not most Latin American and Caribbean governments, the news was more jarring than hearing a gringo tourist order dinner in Spanish.

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.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP

Nicaragua has reported just 25 cases of COVID-19 and only eight deaths. But Nicaraguan doctors there and in South Florida are speaking up with a much more ominous message.

AP

Until this month, it looked like Latin America and the Caribbean might be spared the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the world saw the tragic images from Ecuador of a sudden and overwhelming number of deaths from the new coronavirus – of corpses lining the sidewalks in the port city of Guayaquil. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Brazil is doubling or tripling every week – and so are the number of deaths.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP

COMMENTARY 

On the opening page of his guerrilla memoir "Fire from the Mountain," Nicaraguan revolutionary Omar Cabezas calls his birthplace "a ghost town” during Semana Santa, or Holy Week, because everybody bolts for the countryside or the beaches to congregate and party.

This is Semana Santa, the week before Easter, and Nicaragua is still congregating and partying – in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic that's killed almost 90,000 people worldwide.

AP

Latin America and the Caribbean have so far avoided the scarier level of COVID-19 infection seen in Europe, Asia and the U.S. But the region’s numbers are starting to jump. And hemispheric health experts on Tuesday had a warning for one country in particular.

Wilfredo Lee / AP via Miami Herald

The Trump Administration’s year-long efforts to dislodge authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba have so far failed. That’s raised frustrations among South Florida’s exiles. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Miami on Thursday to address their anxieties.

Oscar Navarrete / AP

Human rights groups say Nicaragua’s authoritarian government has been uncompromisingly brutal toward protesters. But the regime made a more lenient gesture on Monday – if only to help improve its dismal international image.

Paz Nicaragua Foundation

Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled their country’s political violence since last year. Most are now refugees in Costa Rica - and Nicaraguans in Miami are raising funds for them Friday evening with a unique art auction.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP

Nicaragua is back in the headlines. The news is once again dark –  and it seems to dash hopes of resolving the Central American country’s long political crisis.

Susan Walsh / AP

COMMENTARY

When he was Undersecretary of State in the early 2000s, John Bolton insisted communist Cuba had an “offensive biological warfare research and development” program.

Cuba did have an advanced genetic engineering, biotech and vaccine complex. And Cuba was still ruled by Fidel Castro, a despot capable of such nefarious doings. Still, there was no evidence, and none ever surfaced, that cash-strapped Cuba was exporting anthrax instead of vastly more profitable meningitis vaccines.

But that sort of hawkish illusion, or delusion, is what the world came to expect of Bolton – whom President Trump fired this week as his national security advisor.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

COMMENTARY

During the Cold War, the U.S. quip about almost any Latin American dictator was that “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

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COMMENTARY

Here’s the most surprising – and most amusing – development after last week’s failed attempt to stoke a military uprising in Venezuela.

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. and Cuba may actually sit down to negotiate a solution to the disastrous and dictatorial rule of socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Raquel Idiáquez was cooking dinner with her uncle when she noticed something was wrong. He'd been visiting her in Seattle from Managua, Nicaragua, and that evening of April 15, 2018, he kept leaving the kitchen to take an urgent call.

"I saw him getting a little nervous and going to his phone more frequently than usual," says Idiáquez, 28. "Then he just came to me. He was like, 'I gotta leave tomorrow.' "

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