Americas

Americas
7:43 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Holy Smokes, Batman, You're Protesting In Brazil!

An anti-government demonstrator dressed as Batman carries a Brazilian flag at a protest during Brazil's Independence Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. The protesters called on the government to provide better security, education, health and public services.
Ricardo Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:52 am

It's not Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but people are dressing up anyway.

A group of Brazilian protesters have been coming out in costume at demonstrations against Rio's governor, Sergio Cabral. There's the masked crusader Batman, of course, but also a motley assortment of other characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

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Americas
7:39 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Mexican State's Anti-Corruption Plan: Hire Female Traffic Cops

Dressed in the black and neon orange colors of the new transit police, these women are slated to replace a force of notoriously corrupt traffic cops in Mexico State.
Edith Chapin NPR

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:25 pm

In the central State of Mexico, officials are trying a new approach to fight corruption.

Authorities have hired hundreds of women and put them in charge of issuing all traffic violations. They're trying to crack down on the famous mordida, or bribe — a favorite among Mexico's crooked traffic cops.

Authorities say women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men. But the plan has run into a few snags.

Choosing Female Cops

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Americas
11:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Miami (And The U.S.) Are Becoming Latin America

A homeless man in Miami.
Credit Surrender Ministries

There's an old joke about Miami: Latin Americans love to visit the city because it's so close to the United States.

Then there’s the chestnut about Miami being the capital of Latin America. Or, Miami is Latin America where the phones work. And so on.

The point is, Miami takes pride in saying, We are Latin America as much as we are America. And that’s a good thing.

Except when it’s not.

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Americas
11:20 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Capriles in Miami: Are Venezuelans For Henrique Or Just Against Nicolás?

Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles (left) responds to a question from WLRN Americas Correspondent Tim Padgett (right) on Capriles TV on Sept. 17.
Credit YouTube

I know Henrique Capriles speaks decent English. So because I work for English-language radio, I asked him during his visit to Miami last week if I could put a question to him en inglés.

“Go ahead,” he told me. “But I’ll answer it in Spanish.”

I’d forgotten one of Capriles’ rules as the political opposition leader of Venezuela: To keep the ruling socialist revolution back home from branding you as a puppet of the U.S. “empire,” it’s best to avoid being recorded speaking yanqui – especially when you’re in Miami, the counterrevolutionary capital.

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Americas
3:08 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Brazilian President Lashes Out Over U.S. Spying

Not Happy: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff addresses the 68th U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 2:56 pm

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil was so angry about reports that the National Security Agency was spying on her and others in her country that she recently called off a high-profile visit to the U.S.

The Brazilian leader was still in a fighting mood Tuesday as she used her speech at the United Nations General Assembly to deliver a broadside against U.S. spying. She also called for civilian oversight of the Web to ensure the protection of data.

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Americas
5:22 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

All Across Brazil, The Art Scene Is Shifting

A couple review the work of Brazilian artist Victor Arruda during ArtRio, the International Art Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 5.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:15 pm

Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.

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Americas
10:53 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Death Toll Near 100, And Likely To Rise, From Storms In Mexico

A car lays buried in mud after flooding triggered by Hurricane Manuel in Chilpancingo, Mexico.
Alejandrino Gonzalez AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 9:45 am

Authorities were saying early Friday that at least 97 people were known to have died in the flooding, mudslides and other deadly after-effects of the two storms that struck the country this week.

Torrential rains and then-Hurricane Manuel lashed the west coast of Mexico, particularly in around Acapulco. Hurricane Ingrid pummeled the east side of the nation, along the Gulf Coast.

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Americas
6:30 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Beloved Brazilian Monkey Clings To A Shrinking Forest

The wild population of the golden lion tamarin, which lives only in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, fell to just 200 in the 1970s. Conservationists have helped the species rebound, but the monkeys are still at risk as development encroaches on their remaining habitat.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 11:15 am

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

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Americas
5:49 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's Traffic Is A Circus, So Send In The Clowns

The Brazilian city of Olinda has a novel approach to taming its ever-growing traffic problem: traffic clowns known as palhacos.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

On a busy avenue in Olinda, in northeastern Brazil, two men in wigs, big red noses and full clown makeup are squeaking horns and making a good-natured ruckus.

"Where's your helmet?" shouts one as a motorcyclist whizzes by. "Fasten your seat belt!" calls out the other.

Uncle Honk and Fom Fom are traffic clowns, or palhacos, hired by the city to make the roads a bit safer. They lean into traffic, making exaggerated gestures, like the sweep of the arm to mimic fastening a seat belt, and a mimed reminder to never drink and drive.

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Americas
5:48 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

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The Sunshine Economy
12:48 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Tomato Trade War

Tony DiMare is vice president of DiMare Companies, one of the largest growers of tomatoes in Florida.
Credit Tony DiMare

The juicy red tomato has been the target of an international trade war since the mid-1990s. It pits U.S. tomato growers, including DiMare Company of South Florida, against growers in Mexico.  

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Agriculture

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed September 18, 2013

New Book Explains Why Simón Bolívar Is Both Deified, Demonized

The cover of Arana's new book on Bolivar.
Credit mariearana.net

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

During his glorious military career he logged 75,000 miles on horseback. Some might slyly suggest he also logged 75,000 lovers.

But as "The Liberator" that his admirers call him, or as the libertine that his detractors call him, Simón Bolívar’s life was epic – and so were the paradoxes that marked that life. Was South America’s 19th-century independence hero, best known to Americans as the George Washington of Latin America, the founder of his continent’s democracy? Or was he the archetype of its long line of dictatorial caudillos?

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Americas
5:31 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

As Economy Cools, Brazilians Find Themselves Trapped In Debt

A woman looks at clothes inside a shop in Rio de Janeiro. Consumption has been a huge driver of the Brazilian economy, but the boom years are over, and economists say the outlook isn't good.
Sergio Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:44 pm

It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with — and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.

"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."

She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank — which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.

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Americas
2:54 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Brazilian Leader Postpones State Visit Over Spying Concerns

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the first working meeting of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:16 pm

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday that she would not travel to the United States for a state visit on Oct. 23.

It is the first concrete diplomatic consequence of the revelations made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed widespread spying by the U.S. government on foreigners.

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Americas
4:18 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Capriles Delivers Message To Supporters In Miami

Henrique Capriles Radonsky waves to supporters gathered at the James L. Knight Center following a speech in which he urged Venezuelans living in the United States to continue working for a Democratic change in Venezuela.
Credit JOSE A. IGLESIAS / El Nuevo Herald Staff

Former Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles — who has been criticized by certain segments of the opposition that would like to see him take a more radical position against Nicolás Maduro’s regime — came out Sunday to convince nearly 5,000 people at a Miami convention hall that he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Capriles, who ran against the late Hugo Chávez in an election in October and then did it again versus Maduro in April, said he feels that change will come soon to his country and called on Venezuelans to continue supporting him and join the fight.

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