Tim Padgett

Tim Padgett is WLRN-Miami Herald News' Americas correspondent covering Latin America and the Caribbean from Miami. He has covered Latin America for almost 25 years, for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief, first in Mexico from 1996 to 1999 and then in Miami, where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast, from 1999 to 2013.

Padgett has interviewed more than 20 heads of state, including former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and he was one of the few U.S. correspondents to sit down with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during his 14-year rule. He has reported on, and written cover articles about, every major Latin American and Caribbean story from NAFTA, the Cuban economic collapse and Colombian civil war of the 1990s to the Brazilian boom, Venezuelan revolution and Mexican drug-war carnage of the 2000s. In 2005, Padgett received Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest international award in journalism, for his body of work from the region. His 1993 Newsweek cover, “Cocaine Comes Home,” won the Inter-American Press Association’s drug-war coverage award.

A U.S. native from Indiana, Padgett received his bachelor’s degree in 1984 from Wabash College as an English major. He was an intern reporter at Newsday in 1982 and 1983. In 1985 Padgett received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School before studying in Caracas, Venezuela, at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. He started his professional journalism career in 1985 at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he led the newspaper’s coverage of the 1986 immigration reform. In 1988 he joined Newsweek in its Chicago bureau. Padgett has also written for publications such as The New Republic and America, and he has been a frequent analyst on CNN, Fox and NPR, as well as Spanish-language networks such as Univision.

Padgett has been an adult literacy volunteer since 1989. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two children. 

As of Friday morning, officials reported six people had died in the disastrous pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University (FIU). At least nine others were injured, two critically. The tragedy involved a red light – but also serious questions about whether this new, highly celebrated bridge should have gotten the green light.

As hundreds of thousands of desperate Venezuelans pour out of their country, calls are growing to officially designate them as refugees. The United Nations has now taken a big step in that direction.

Two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, ravaged the Caribbean within two weeks of each other last September. Afterward, the world's attention fell largely on the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico. But just as badly hit was the American territory next door: the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.


I’d like to take acclaimed film actor and ridiculed crime writer Sean Penn to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which until recently suffered the highest homicide rate of any city on the planet.

What would a U.S. tourist invasion of Cuba be without yanqui cruise ships – especially cruise ships owned by the Miami-based Carnival Corporation?

When Cuba opened its  Washington D.C.  embassy yesterday, the moment wasn’t just historic.

It also felt really ironic.

Historic, of course, because Cuba was raising its flag over the U.S. capital for the first time in 54 years. When the U.S. inaugurates its embassy in Havana on August 14, it will be the crowning moment in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two Cold War enemies.

When Cuban bikini maker Victor Rodríguez visited Miami this month, he was on a pilgrimage — not just for bathing suits but for bandwidth.

The most important stop on Rodríguez's schedule was lunch in Wynwood, Miami's high-tech district, with Mel Valenzuela, who owns the online swimwear store Pretty Beachy.

As Valenzuela showed Rodríguez how to do business online, his awestruck expression seemed to evoke José Arcadio Buendía in One Hundred Years of Solitude, who when he first touches ice declares it "the great invention of our time."

The line between confident and conceited was pretty thin in Brazil in October of 2007.

The South American giant was in the midst of a boom that would make it the world’s sixth largest economy. Massive new oil reserves were being discovered off its coast. It considered itself a global player that deserved a permanent seat on the ultra-exclusive U.N. Security Council.

And it had just been awarded the 2014 soccer World Cup.

“God,” then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared, “is Brazilian.”

A new medical marijuana controversy erupted over the weekend when South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weighed in.

Wasserman Schultz chairs the Democratic National Committee. So last week, when she voted against legislation in the House that would prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws, Florida took notice. That's because Sunshine State voters will decide in November whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.

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.

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?