Latin America

Commentary
6:04 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Wise Men Say: Time For A Truce Between Atheists And Believers (And More Toys)

The Magi hand out toys at a Three Kings Day event in Miami's Little Havana.
Credit C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

As a boy, I always envied Hispanics at Christmas. That’s because they got a bonus Santa Claus.

Three, actually: Los Reyes Magos, a.k.a. the Three Kings, the Wise Men, the Magi – the fellows who each Jan. 6 lavished an extra round of toys on every kid I knew who had a Spanish surname.

As an adult, I’m still a big fan of los Reyes. And I think Jan. 6 – Epiphany, the day that Christians, especially in Spain and Latin America, celebrate the Magis’ visit to the newborn Jesus – offers another potential bonus:

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Latin America
4:57 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

VIDEO: Volcano Erupts In El Salvador, Ash And Gas Soar

The Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador erupted on Sunday.
Hector Garay/Telenoticias 21 AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:37 am

The first eruption of eastern El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano in 37 years sent ash and gas soaring as much as six miles into the air on Sunday and led authorities to evacuate thousands of people from their homes.

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Commentary
9:45 am
Mon December 30, 2013

New World Pope Challenges Old World Church: Francis Is Top LatAm Story in 2013

Pope Francis wears an indigenous Pataxo headdress during his visit to Brazil last July for World Youth Day.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano

They say Americans will do anything for Latin America except read about it. But even gringos couldn’t ignore the noise next door in 2013.

Seemingly overnight, Brazil experienced violent anti-government unrest – then just as quickly it became the spokesnation for a world outraged by the U.S. surveillance overreach exposed by Edward Snowden.

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Politics
11:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Turks & Caicos Drownings Latest Sign Of Spike In Haitian Migration

Haitian migrants in an overloaded vessel similar to one that capsized off the Turks & Caicos Islands Christmas morning.
Credit rapadoo.com

Christmas Day turned tragic when a boat carrying Haitian migrants capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands. Seventeen of the more than 50 passengers were killed, while some fled and are still being sought.

This is just the latest in a growing spate of Haitian disasters on the Caribbean. Last month 30 Haitians drowned in a similar incident off the Bahamas.

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Food
2:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Forget The Caja China – Give Hallacas A Try This Nochebuena

The Venezuelan hallaca
Credit madrid.olx.es

Gringos like me don’t forget their first hallaca.

Mine was lying on a simple white plate, in the coastal town of Lecherías, Venezuela, on the patio of my future in-laws’ home. It was a soft Caribbean Christmas Eve in 1985.

The tawny tamal was swaddled in smoked banana leaves that reminded me of the lush, exotic foliage of an Henri Rousseau painting. I unwrapped it, cut into it, took a bite – and rediscovered Christmas.

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Americas
2:54 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Latin America's Small Businesses Come To Miami To Thrive

Liliana Arevalo helps run a small company in El Salvador that makes artisanal wines. She has received technical assistance from SBNA-related groups.
Credit YouTube / U.S. State Department / SBNA

Six years ago I visited an indigenous village in southern Mexico called Santa Cruz Mixtepec. It was, or used to be, one of those impoverished rural hamlets that sent most of its population over the U.S. border to find living-wage work.

Until somebody got the bright idea to start promoting small businesses there. Through micro-lending and other assistance, Santa Cruz Mixtepec began sprouting small but viable enterprises. A carpentry shop. An irrigated tomato greenhouse. A window-frame maker.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Plight of Haitian-Dominicans: Judicial Review Or Just Racism?

Haitians in Port-au-Prince protest the recent Dominican high court ruling
Credit Jean Marc Herve Abelard / rapadoo.com

The Dominican Republic is right about one thing. The nations of the world are indeed moving away from birthright citizenship. In fact, only 30 of the world’s 194 countries today automatically grant citizenship to anyone born on their soil – and no European nations do.

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Commentary
1:12 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Look West, Miami, At Mexico's Epic Oil Reform

Drilling for oil in southern Mexico
Credit Flickr

When it comes to Latin American oil, South Florida’s attention seems exclusively fixed on South America. We focus on petro-titans like Venezuela and Brazil because we do so much trade with and receive so many immigrants from that region. But this week it was hard not to look west – across the Gulf of Mexico, at one of the most important oil reforms in almost a century.

Late Wednesday night, Mexico’s Congress approved President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to allow private and foreign participation in the country’s state-run oil industry for the first time in 75 years.

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Politics
6:24 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Venezuelan Elections: Maduro's Counter-Counter-Revolution

Nicolás Maduro at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's funeral in Caracas last March.
Credit Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

When socialist Nicolás Maduro eked out last April’s special presidential election in Venezuela, I wrote:  “Even if Maduro won, he lost.”

Maduro defeated the opposition candidate – the same challenger Maduro's mentor Hugo Chávez had trounced just six months earlier by an 11-percent margin – by only 1.6 percent of the vote. Maduro’s lame performance shook the socialists’ claim that Chávez’s revolution would be just as dominant without Chávez, who had died of cancer in March after ruling Venezuela for 14 years.

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Art Basel
8:12 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Brazil ArtFair Pushing Latin Artists To Basel Forefront

"A Cara de Reprovação" (The Face of Disapproval) by Brazilian artist Sesper, at Brazil ArtFair
Credit Brazil ArtFair/Galeria Logo

Brazil has proved itself a global force in soccer and music, architecture and business. But there’s one area where the South American giant has yet to produce a Pelé or a Veloso, a Niemeyer or an Embraer: art.

That seems odd considering Brazil’s richly creative culture and its awesomely idyllic surroundings. Mexico can claim the marquee power of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Colombia has Botero. But the Brazilian art scene “is still finding its way internationally,” says São Paulo entrepreneur and art promoter Michel Serebrinsky.

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Opinion
2:17 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mandela, Castro And The Caribbean Street

Nelson Mandela visits Fidel Castro and Cuba in 1990.
Credit cubahora.cu

If you live on the Caribbean street – and Florida is part of that street – here are three ways of looking at Nelson Mandela’s death yesterday.

Each, not surprisingly, involves Cuba and Fidel Castro. But in a larger sense they involve how immaturely we practice politics on this street – and how immaturely the world beyond this street views our politics.

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Americas
3:34 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

With Miami's Help, Colombia Trades Battle Lines For Zip Lines

Cartagena, Colombia, at sunset
Credit Flickr

When I interviewed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos last year in Bogotá, he crowed about foreign investment pouring into his country. A nation considered a failed, civil war-torn narco-state less than a decade ago was now one of South America’s hottest money magnets, doubling its take from the previous year.

“This is completely out of anyone’s imagination,” Santos said.

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Science
6:36 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

How We Left Hurricanes In Our Dust This Year – Literally

What we dodged this year: Haitians struggle through Hurricane Sandy's devastating floods last year.
Credit Carl Juste / Miami Herald

It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.

And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.

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Americas
5:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

The Mistakes Of Martelly: Why Haiti's President Faces Angry Unrest

Haitian president Michel Martelly meets with Spain's prime minister.

    

When Michel Martelly was elected President of Haiti in 2011, expectations for his performance as a head of state were fairly low. And in many respects, unfortunately, he’s met them.

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Mid-day Links
2:51 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Nov. 18-22

Miss Universe, Venezuela's Gabriela Isler.

  This pre-holiday week, from Nov. 18-22, we brought you a bit of nostalgia (see our "Delis Of Yore" post below), some future planning (that's two proposals for Miami-Dade structures) and a little current analysis in the form of beauty-pageant criticism.

Well, we brought you much more than just that. But here's what you liked best:

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