Carrie Kahn

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Presidents Obama and Raul Castro of Cuba shook hands last night before opening ceremonies of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. But the informal meeting between the two men today was the most anticipated moment of the conference.

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In the village of Tuffet, a rocky 45-minute drive from the closest city along Haiti's southern coast, several men get down to work in Monique Yusizanna Ouz's rural home. They're wiring up her two-room, dirt floor house with a breaker box, an outlet and a light fixture.

She's 66 years old, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have electricity.

Ouz, who has five grandchildren, wants a refrigerator. She wants cold drinks — for herself but also to sell. And she wants ice cream, too.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission is dealing with a new case of alleged violations by federal officials. This complaint, however, comes from the country's most vicious and notorious criminals — more than 100 of them.

Nearly 140 prisoners at Mexico's maximum security prison say they're being housed in unsafe and inhumane conditions.

In Mexico, the problem of drug trafficking is well publicized, but you can't say the same when it comes to the problem of drug addiction.

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And a controversy is swelling in Mexico over press freedoms. That's after one of the country's most famous investigative journalists was fired from her radio show. She's known for targeting some of Mexico's top public figures. NPR's Carrie Kahn has more.

Two of Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels have lost their leaders. In the span of just one week, the Mexican government captured the heads of the Knights Templar and the Zetas trafficking organization. That brings the number of capos taken out by the current administration to 11.

But many analysts believe the spectacular arrests will do little to tackle the country's growing insecurity.

Mexican cops have gotten a bad rap. They are known more for taking bribes than fighting crime. One police department in Mexico hopes that body cameras, a high-tech tool gaining popularity in the U.S., will redeem its reputation.

The police chief in the border city of Tijuana says they will show that it's not just bad cops that are the problem; the public plays a big role in corruption, too.

Within days of three Tijuana police officers clipping on the cameras, one recorded an eye-opening traffic stop.

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Cuba has promised its citizens better Internet access in this New Year. The few Cubans who now manage to get online find it expensive and slow.

Warming ties with the U.S. have stirred hope for improved telecommunications. But until then, many residents have devised an ingenious work-around, or should we say walk-around.

On Havana's Malecon, roaming guitarists play for the crowds resting against the iconic sea wall. In this nightly gathering spot, it's old fashioned interacting. No one is on a cell, no eyes glued to smart phones.

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In Havana, two religious communities are celebrating the holiday season but have taken very different approaches to the news that relations between the U.S. and Cuba are warming.

For Jews who belong to Temple Beth Shalom in Havana, their numbers may be small, but size doesn't matter.

On Sunday night, a couple hundred people filled the temple's sanctuary to light six Hanukkah candles, watch teens put on a play, and clap to a group of toddlers dancing to the holiday classic "Eight Little Candles," sung in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language.

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If you want to give your taste buds a gustatory tour of Mexico, then Margarita Carrillo is ready to be your guide.

The Mexican chef and food activist has spent years gathering hundreds of recipes from every region of the country for Mexico: The Cookbook, her new, encyclopedic take on her country's cuisine.

This is the story of the murder of two aid workers in Mexico. The men fed Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico on a freight train that stopped near their home.

They were critical of both corrupt police, who abused and extorted the migrants, as well as the organized crime gangs that kidnapped and robbed them.

It wasn't hard to find the two men — they were never far from the train tracks — but there were no witnesses to their deaths, and police won't comment about the case. The double homicide didn't even get a mention in the local press.

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Mexican families are celebrating the Day of the Dead this weekend, a festive holiday, where relatives remember deceased loved ones with grand, floral memorials in their homes as well as at cemeteries.

But in the southern state of Guerrero, the mood is decidedly different. Authorities there are still searching for 43 students abducted last month by police working for drug traffickers and crooked politicians in the town of Iguala.

In front of Iguala's City Hall, Maria de Jesus Rodriguez, 68, slowly sweeps the patio.

Mexico's top prosecutor says a mayor and his wife ordered the attack on 43 students who have been missing for nearly a month. The couple — of the town of Iguala in the southern state of Guerrero — are now fugitives.

Thousands of protesters marched down Mexico City's grand Reforma Boulevard on Wednesday night, banging drums, carrying pictures of the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26, and demanding the resignation of the governor of the state of Guerrero and even of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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Mexico's banking regulator has slapped a nearly 30 million peso ($2.2 million) fine on the Citigroup subsidiary Banamex, for failing to provide sufficient accounting controls. The regulator said the lack of oversight allowed the Mexican firm Oceanografia to allegedly dupe the bank out of $400 million.

Banamex had lent the money to Oceanografia, an oil services firm contracted by the state petroleum monopoly, PEMEX, based on invoices that turned out to be fake.

Six more clandestine graves have been found in Mexico near the town where 43 students allegedly were abducted by local police working for a drug gang. Relatives and supporters of the students have vowed to hold a week of protests to pressure authorities into finding the disappeared.

On the second story of the municipal palace in Iguala, Mexico, Mayor Jose Luis Abarca occupied the large corner office. His wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, head of the city's family welfare department, occupied the one right next door. From there, residents say, the two ruthlessly ruled over this city of 150,000 in the southern state of Guerrero. A national newspaper dubbed the duo the "imperial couple."

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