Americas

Brazilian investors buy Miami real estate. Haitian earthquake survivors attend South Florida schools. It's clear what happens in Latin America and the Caribbean has a profound effect on South Florida.

WLRN’s coverage of the region is headed by Americas editor Tim Padgett, a 23-year veteran of TIME and Newsweek magazines.

He joins a team of reporters and editors at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and NPR to cover a region whose cultural wealth, environmental complexity, vast agricultural output and massive oil reserves offer no shortage of important and fascinating stories to tell.

Toby Muse

In South Florida we tend to think of the golden age of cocaine (if it can be called that) as the 1980s – iconic Colombian drug lords like Pablo Escobar and cocaine cowboys marauding through Miami. But according to British-American journalist Toby Muse, cocaine's real golden age is…today.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

COMMENTARY

We know one likely reason Brazil’s coronavirus emergency is in full meltdown. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro calls the pandemic a “media hoax” and has done everything in his power, like hosting a large pro-Bolsonaro street rally last weekend, to undermine social distancing.

YESICA FISCH / AP

Brazil is now the world’s fastest growing COVID-19 hotspot. Each day the country is reporting more than 10,000 new infections – and about a thousand new deaths. Brazil’s top scientists say the country isn’t even close to its pandemic peak yet. And over the weekend its health minister quit – the second to leave in a month.

WLRN’s Christine DiMattei spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about Brazil’s COVID-19 meltdown – and the political chaos that’s making it worse.

NBC 6 SOUTH FLORIDA

On this Wednesday, May 13, episode of Sundial: 

What Will Broward County Schools Look Like In The Fall?

Broward County Schools, like other school districts across the state, have transitioned to distance learning since the coronavirus pandemic began and school campuses closed.

Ministerio de Salud de Costa Rica

Like so many doctors around the world, pediatric surgeon Roberto Herrera was exposed to the new coronavirus back in early March.

“Of course I was scared at first,” says Herrera. That's in no small part because he was also at-risk: he’s 61 and asthmatic. But Herrera insists he was never panicked. After all, he says, he lives in Costa Rica – which has reported only seven COVID-19 deaths and fewer than 800 cases.

Ministerio de Salud de Ecuador

Ecuador's new health minister, Dr. Juan Carlos Zevallos, talks with WLRN's Latin America Report about the "horrifying" experience of trying to get his country's COVID-19 pandemic crisis under control. Calling Ecuador unprepared, he says, is "absolutely unfair."

As a photo and print journalist based on a remote, off-grid cattle ranch in Chilean Patagonia since 2011, I'm accustomed to limited connectivity. Since the coronavirus reached this continent last month, my access to the Internet and other humans has been even further reduced.

Luis Perez / AP

No country in Latin America and the Caribbean has been hit as hard by the new coronavirus as Ecuador. Brazil, a far larger country, may have more COVID-19 cases; but Ecuador’s death toll is thought to be twice as high as Brazil’s. And no place in Ecuador has suffered as terribly as the port city of Guayaquil.

AP

COMMENTARY

COVID-19 is producing a feel-good story across Latin America.

According to this silver linings playbook, the pandemic is neutralizing the powerful street gangs that have made the region the world’s most criminally violent. It’s lowering murder rates and raising gangbangers’ civic consciousness. Post-coronavirus Latin America will be a continent of lions lying with lambs – and no longer such a rampant source of illegal immigration to the U.S.

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, says contact tracing will be vital in the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Poor countries have advice to offer.

Contact tracing is used all over the world, including in the U.S. The idea is to track down anyone in recent contact with a newly diagnosed patient, then monitor the health of these contacts. In the developing world, it's been a valuable tool in fighting infectious diseases like Ebola and tuberculosis. Public health workers there have lots of experience.

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