Politics

Americas
7:32 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Mass Kidnapping Puts Mexican Legal System On Trial

Images from posters made by relatives show 10 of the 12 young people kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City on May 26. No one has claimed responsibility for the brazen abduction.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:00 pm

Josephina Garcia Rodriguez and Leticia Ponce Ramos sip coffee and console each other at a restaurant in front of Mexico City's prosecutor's office. They're about to head into a meeting with the lead investigator in the case of their kidnapped sons.

"We're going on three weeks since they were kidnapped," Garcia says. "It's been some difficult days, really hard for us mothers. We just want our sons back home with us."

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Environment
7:00 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Why Miami Can't Copy New York's Plan For Sea Level Rise

Will this be the new normal in South Beach?
Credit maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made significant waves Tuesday when he announced a comprehensive $19.5 billion plan to gird the city against the threat of sea level rise.

The long-term plans include a series of levees and storm barriers to protect against waters that are expected to rise anywhere from 20 inches to more than six feet in the next century. 

The national flap about Bloomberg's proactive stance on coping with impending coastal inundation has led to a sort of "OK, that's what they're doing. What about the rest of you?" sentiment among the media.

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Americas
12:17 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Criminals Fleeing Rio Crackdown Set Up Shop In The Suburbs

Rio de Janeiro's Elite Special Forces Police Unit patrols the Caju favela complex as part of the pacification program designed to crack down on crime in advance of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:27 am

The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.

Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.

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Americas
12:10 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

In Colombia, A Town Badly Scarred By Wartime Rape

Isabel Narvaez, in El Placer, says she is still traumatized by the rape she suffered. The small hamlet in Colombia is just one place where women were victims of violent crimes during the civil conflict.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:08 pm

El Placer is a remote hamlet deep in southern Colombia, on the edge of the Amazon. Founded half a century ago by farmers who found it fertile and bucolic, its name means "The Pleasure."

But for women and girls in El Placer who suffered years of sexual assaults after an illegal armed group stormed in, the name is only associated with unspeakable violence and murder.

Brigitte Carreño, 25, is among the women who suffered. A feared local warlord in El Placer raped her when she was 12, leaving her with searing memories that remain vivid and painful to this day.

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Americas
12:05 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Honduras Claims Unwanted Title Of World's Murder Capital

Members of the 18th Street gang announce a truce during a press conference at a prison in San Pedro Sula, on May 28. The gang is involved in drug trafficking that has brought terror to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Loenel Cruz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:03 pm

Latin America is riddled with crime, and no place is more violent than Honduras. It has just 8 million people, but with as many as 20 people killed there every day, it now has the highest murder rate in the world.

It would be easy to blame drug trafficking. Honduras and its Central American neighbors have long served as a favored smuggling corridor for South American cocaine headed north to the U.S.

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Americas
2:24 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:05 pm

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

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Americas
11:41 am
Tue June 11, 2013

How Venezuelans in South Florida Are Shopping For Toilet Paper In Caracas

A woman in Venezuela stocks up on toilet paper and other necessities.
Credit El Mundo/Flickr

Last week a Venezuelan-American friend in New York sent me an e-mail raving about a new, free mobile phone app called Abastéceme. Its most important use: locating toilet paper. Well, that and about two dozen other basic everyday items, from rice to deodorant, which are in chronically short supply these days in Venezuela.

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Americas
9:30 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:23 am

In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.

I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.

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Immigration
6:00 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Why Gov. Scott's Latest Veto Might Alienate Latino Voters

Credit stateimpact.npr.org

When President Barack Obama adopted a policy last year aimed at allowing some young, undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States, he likely didn't know it would cause heartburn for Gov. Rick Scott about a year later.

The "deferred action" program didn't give citizenship or permanent-resident status to anyone living illegally in the country, but it did grant two-year non-deportation promises to undocumented immigrants under 30 who met certain conditions.

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Politics
2:39 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

On Haitian Radio, North Miami Elections Are Real-Life Drama

North Miami Mayor-Elect Lucie Tondreau was one of several of that city's candidates at the center of real-life Haitian radio drama.
Credit C.W. Griffin/ Miami Herald Staff

In the city of North Miami, a third of the population is of Haitian descent, and Creole-language radio is vital. During the lead-up to Tuesday’s runoff for city council and mayor, all kinds of election drama played out over the airwaves.

In North Miami, anyone running for office has no choice but to keep up with the latest chatter on the radio, regardless of whether they speak Creole. Many of the city’s Haitian residents rely on radio for their news and often take as gospel what radio hosts tell them—even when it’s not true.

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Environment
10:35 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Everglades Restoration: Water And Money Flow Into The River Of Grass

Everglades restoration received a sizable cash infusion this week.
Credit Balthazira / Flickr Creative Commons

May was an eventful -- and most would likely say hopeful -- month for the beleaguered Everglades. Gov. Rick Scott signed into law new legislation that will provide hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade to fund Everglades restoration and cleanup.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

How The Most Violent Places On Earth Benefit Miami

South Florida has benefited from the combination of Latin America's financial wealth and its criminal scourge as immigrants transfer new wealth to the United States.
Credit seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of stark paradoxes, and that has never been truer than in the past decade: Even as the continent enjoys one of its most dynamic economic booms, it’s suffering one of the worst violent crime crises in its history.

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Labor
6:00 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Democrats, Labor Urge Gov. Scott To Veto Wage Bill

THEY WANT A VETO: Miami State Senator Dwight Bullard (in black) and State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez (center with red tie) call for a veto of House Bill 655 at a rally in downtown Miami.
Credit Rick Stone

Florida Democrats and advocates for working folk are turning up all the pressure they can to wring a veto out of Gov. Rick Scott sometime this month.

Their target? House Bill 655, passed during the 2013 legislative session to stop local governments from exceeding federal minimum wage and benefit guarantees.

If the governor signs the bill, counties such as Broward and Miami-Dade with special "living wage" ordinances already on their books, will have to abandon then.

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Americas
1:15 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

New Laws Enshrine Domestic Worker Rights In Brazil

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:57 pm

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

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Americas
8:20 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Why China Is Behind Fresh U.S. Moves In Latin America

School children in Sao Paolo, Brazil take a Mandarin-language proficiency class at the Confucius Institute, which offers language courses and Chinese cultural programs.
Credit Juan Forero/NPR

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will visit Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago next week. President Obama already swung through Mexico and Costa Rica this month and next month Obama will host the presidents of Chile and Peru at the White House.

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