Tim Padgett

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. He has reported on Latin America for almost 30 years - for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief in Mexico and Miami (where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast) from 1996 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. He has covered every major Latin American and Caribbean story from the end of the Central American civil wars of the 1980s to NAFTA and the Colombian guerrilla conflict of the 1990s; to the Brazilian boom, the Venezuelan revolution and Mexican drug war carnage of the 2000s; to the current normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

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. In 2016 he won a national Edward R. Murrow award for Best Radio Series for "The Migration Maze," about the brutal causes of - and potential solutions to - Central American migration. His 1993 Newsweek cover, “Cocaine Comes Home,” won the Inter-American Press Association’s drug coverage award.

Padgett is an Indiana native and a graduate of Wabash College. He 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 career at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he led the paper's coverage of the 1986 immigration reform. Padgett has also written for publications such as The New Republic and America and 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 and is a member of the Catholic anti-poverty organization St. Vincent de Paul. He currently lives in Miami with his wife and two children. 

Venezuelans are still a relatively small voter bloc in Florida. But they’re growing, thanks to the crisis in Venezuela. And a survey was released Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidates gathered here this week may want to see.

When Sergio Moro gave a lecture at the University of Miami last year he got a loud, standing ovation — because what he was doing in Brazil struck a loud, resounding chord in South Florida.

Moro was the man who was draining the deep, fetid swamp of corruption in Brazil.

COMMENTARY

Every few months now, Vice President Mike Pence drops into Miami-Dade County to remind voters the Trump Administration is putting the squeeze on Venezuela’s dictatorial dimwit president, Nicolás Maduro.

The U.S. Navy is again deploying its medical ship Comfort to Latin America – this time from PortMiami. Vice President Mike Pence was here Tuesday to see Comfort off – and he made clear its key mission is to aid the exploding number of Venezuelan refugees.

Last week Haiti saw violent street clashes between police and protesters calling for the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse. Moïse is accused of embezzling a million dollars in public funds earmarked for building new roads in rural Haiti – a case that’s part of a $2 billion embezzlement scandal rocking the western hemisphere’s poorest nation.

Moïse denies the charge. Still, the alleged larceny hits Haiti where it hurts most: its ruined agriculture industry.

COMMENTARY

A conservative Facebook friend in my native Indiana recently endorsed a meme that features right-wing radio rage-monger Rush Limbaugh saying today’s immigrants want to “erase America.”

Last week President Trump dealt another blow to the U.S. policy of engagement with communist Cuba. He banned U.S. people-to-people travel to Cuba – and also cruise line travel, which last year carried an estimated 800,000 passengers to the island. It was just the latest rollback of the normalization of relations that Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, began five years ago. And it raises the question: Does U.S. engagement with Cuba have a future anymore?

The desperate exodus from Venezuela hit another startling milestone on Friday. But that’s not the only disturbing news from the crisis-wracked South American country.

COMMENTARY

I’m as big a fan of the U.S. national women’s soccer team as you’ll find.

On Tuesday the Trump Administration further tightened U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. This time the changes are heavy – and a potential blow to an important South Florida industry.

During heavy rains last year in a small town outside Havana, people saw something remarkable. Large freshwater catfish called claria were swimming in the flooded streets. In a video posted on YouTube, excited locals splash out to grab them.

But that happy scene was also an environmental alert. Claria are an invasive species in Cuba. They’re supposed to be confined to aquaculture fisheries, where they’re bred for food. Outside those farms – as these claria obviously were – they’re notorious for devouring anything in their paths.

Venezuela’s authoritarian regime is still in power. But that hasn’t stopped the country’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó from conducting a parallel government.

Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate president this year, and the U.S. and more than 50 other countries recognize him.

Tuesday night his ambassador to the U.S., Carlos Vecchio, visited Doral to talk with Venezuelan expats about a new website where they can register for consular services Guaidó hopes to offer them, such as new Venezuelan passports.

Earlier this year the U.S. all but cut off oil imports from Venezuela to put more pressure on the country’s authoritarian regime. Now another major importer looks like it’s turning its back on Venezuela.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are finally rebounding after suffering two major hurricanes back-to-back. One tourism innovation may have played a part in that.

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