Tim Padgett

Americas
11:24 am
Wed September 11, 2013

How Miami Is Filling The High-Tech Void In Latin America

Miami hackers at The Battle Hack Hackathon in Miami's Wynwood district last month.
Credit ANDREW ULOZA / Miami Herald

I’ve just arrived at the offices of YellowPepper, a software and tech services company headquartered in Aventura. Waiting for me is Alexander Sjogren, YellowPepper’s chief product developer – and he’s holding an ax that’s big and sharp enough to kill me.

“Yeah, this is a Viking ax,” Sojgren tells me. “We won it a couple weeks ago at a 24-hour PayPal hackathon here in Miami for developing the best application for withdrawing money from local merchants….”

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Americas
7:00 am
Fri September 6, 2013

How Venezuela's Maduro Mess Keeps Getting Worse

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (right) next to an image of the late Hugo Chavez.
Credit aim.org

I’m becoming more certain that leftist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro keeps a Ouija board on his desk at Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Why Jamaica's Falling Crime Rate Can't Last Without Rising Employment

Kingston gang members being rounded up by Jamaican police.
Credit newxcorp.com

In May of 2010, the streets of Kingston, Jamaica erupted in fierce gun battles between security forces and followers of drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke. It took most of us in the international media by surprise -- and many of us were also at a loss to explain what had sparked such an epic showdown, which would leave more than 70 people dead.

To help me understand the upheaval, which revolved around efforts to extradite Coke to the United States, I turned to respected Jamaican-American legal scholar David Rowe.

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Americas
7:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Why We Can't Blame Cuba For Our Doctor Shortages

Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha (right) welcomes Cuban doctors in the capital Brasília.
Credit Cadenagramonte

Millions of angry Brazilians have taken to the streets this summer to demonstrate against their government and political class. And right now we’re seeing a vivid example of why: the controversy over Brazil’s recruitment of 4,000 Cuban doctors to work in its remote regions.

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Americas
7:23 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Why The Alarm Is Going Off About Students Learning English As A Second Language

Full disclosure: My wife is a bilingual teacher and my children grew up speaking English and Spanish. But you don’t need those factors in your life to have a vested interest in how well the school program commonly known as ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages – is faring in this country, state and community.

Latinos are now the largest minority in the US. Florida’s population growth today is driven largely by Latinos. And Latinos make up almost two-thirds of Miami-Dade County’s residents.

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Americas
7:00 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Biographer Shoer Roth On 'The Spiritual Father' Of Miami’s Cuban Exiles

Daniel Shoer Roth (right) with Alicia Castroverde Aixala of the Bacardi Family Foundation (left) and the Rev. Juan Rumin Dominguez, current rector of the Our Lady of Charity shrine, with a photo of Román behind them.
Credit Catholic Archdiocese of Miami

A month before he died last year at the age of 83, Augustín Román was honored by the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews for his interfaith work as a Roman Catholic bishop. So the fact that a Jewish author will pen Román’s authorized biography  isn’t just fitting -- it is itself a reassuringly Miami narrative.

During the final months of his life, Román designated El Nuevo Herald religion writer Daniel Shoer Roth, a Venezuelan Jew, to tell his life story.

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Americas
8:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Why FIU's Frank Mora Worries As Much About Brazil, Venezuela As Cuba

Frank Mora, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere, speaking at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Besides the horrific carnage inside Port-au-Prince, one of my most vivid memories of the 2010 Haiti earthquake is military helicopters idling out in Port-au-Prince Bay.

From the bridge of the Navy aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, I watched H-53 and Seahawk choppers waiting for rescue and relief supplies that seemed agonizingly slow in arriving from U.S. and other foreign aid sources. International coordination, in fact, felt as wanting in those first few post-quake days as the food and medicine.

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Opinion
12:55 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Marijuana Legalization: Why U.S. Latinos Are Not Latin Americans

Credit NPR/ Flickr

One irony of last week’s vote in Uruguay’s House of Representatives to legalize marijuana is that almost two-thirds of Uruguayans themselves oppose the measure, according to some polls.

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Americas
3:46 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:57 pm

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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Americas
6:15 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Panama Charges North Korean Ship's Crew

View of what seems to be weapon parts aboard a North Korean-flagged ship on Tuesday.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:57 am

The crew of a North Korean ship carrying a clandestine cargo of Cold War-era weapons from Cuba has been charged with endangering public security by Panamanian authorities, who seized the vessel earlier this week.

The North Korean vessel en route from Cuba was seized as it attempted to transit the Panama Canal.

According to the BBC:

"[Panamanian] Prosecutor Javier Caraballo accused the 35 crew members of endangering public security by illegally transporting war material.

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Americas
4:12 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Your Love Of Quinoa Is Good News For Andean Farmers

Farmer Geronimo Blanco shows his quinoa plants in Patamanta, Bolivia, in February. A burgeoning global demand for quinoa has led to a threefold price increase since 2006.
Juan Karita AP

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:15 pm

Quinoa lovers have been put on a bit of a guilt trip with stories suggesting that the increased demand in the U.S. has put the superfood out of reach for those living closest to where it's grown.

How can poor Bolivians in La Paz afford to pay three times more for quinoa than they would pay for rice, critics have asked?

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Americas
5:39 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Cuba Acknowledges N. Korean Ship Carried Its 'Obsolete' Weapons

View of North Korean vessel at the Manzanillo Port in Colon on Tuesday.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:53 pm

(Updated 9:40 p.m. ET)

A statement from Cuba's foreign ministry says weapons that Panama seized in a North Korean ship were mid-20th Century models that Cuba was sending to North Korea for repair, according to reports from the BBC and Reuters.

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Americas
11:48 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Latin Drug Bosses And Their Growing American Ties

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 12:42 pm

Latin American cartels are fueled by U.S. drug demand, so their illegal retail networks often stretch throughout America. Mexico's arrest of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was a reminder that the connections between drug traffickers and the U.S. are not just commercial — they're also personal.

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Americas
11:50 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

In his new book, Alfredo Corchado writes about the escalating violence in Mexico.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 2:11 pm

When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.

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Americas
8:00 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Why This Summer Offers Hope For Better U.S.-Cuba Relations

Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez speaking to State Department officials during her visit to the U.S. earlier this year, after Cuban leader Raúl Castro began allowing Cubans to travel abroad.
Credit U.S. State Department

 

Like a lot of idealistic U.S. presidents, Barack Obama took office in 2009 hoping to establish better dialogue with communist Cuba. Remember his plan to “pursue direct diplomacy” with Havana? Then he quickly discovered what most U.S. presidents find out:

First, communist Cuba really doesn’t want improved dialogue with Washington, since conflict with the U.S. offers more political payoff on the island. Hence Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s 2009 Christmas gift to Obama: the arrest of U.S. aid subcontractor Alan Gross on dubious espionage charges.

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