Carrie Kahn

In yet another Trump-era break with longstanding tradition, it now seems all but certain that the Inter-American Development Bank will be led by a non-Latin American citizen. Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Cuban-American who is President Trump's top adviser on Latin America at the National Security Council and his nominee to head the bank, is the sole candidate for the job.

Cuba's communist leaders appear to be ready to make good on long promised reforms to the island's state-controlled economy, which has been in a tailspin since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Even before the pandemic, the economy was in recession, suffering from reduced Venezuelan subsidies and escalating Trump administration sanctions. Then in March, Cuba banned all air and sea travel to the island, cutting off tourism — a major source of hard currency for the government.

At first glance, a video circulating on Mexican social media this month appears to show a boisterous unit of security forces. For more than two minutes, the camera pans across a line of masked men in combat fatigues, stretching down a rural road. Some stand beside armored vehicles painted in camouflage colors, firing military-grade weapons into the air. Others peer out of makeshift turrets atop the vehicles.

Near downtown Mexico City, Cristian Corte sells tacos and gorditas at a makeshift stand outside a metro stop. He pulls down his thin paper mask, anxious to vent his anger about the Mexican president's upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

"I want him to tell Trump to stop stepping all over us and to treat everyone as equals," says Corte.

On Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared to be talking to Mexicans like Corte, skeptical of his visit on Wednesday and Thursday to the White House.

Mexico's government has announced a nationwide lifting of coronavirus social distancing measures — with the exception of areas marked as red zones. Making the announcement virtually meaningless, a government map shows nearly the entire country marked in red.

Migrant advocates say more testing must be done in the U.S. and Mexico before deportees are sent back to their home countries.

At least 100 Guatemalans infected with the coronavirus were deported from the U.S. from mid-March through mid-April.

The U.S. suspended deportation flights to Guatemala after 44 migrants tested positive on a flight on April 13.

Until last month, Hijo del Soberano was making a good living as a wrestler on Mexico's freestyle wrestling or lucha libre circuit. He would suit up four nights a week in his green-and-gold Lycra leggings and matching character mask for bouts in front of cheering crowds in his city's lucha arena.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. The wrestling venue was shuttered.

To the dismay of some of its citizens and neighbors, Nicaragua is still holding soccer matches, food festivals and beauty pageants.

Officially, the government of socialist president Daniel Ortega says there are only three active cases and one death attributed to COVID-19. The Johns Hopkins University tracker cites nine cases and two deaths. Across the border in Costa Rica, authorities have confirmed more than 600 cases.

As U.S. joblessness climbs, immigrant workers are facing a tough decision: pay rent and buy food or send critical dollars to family back home.

Fifty-one-year-old Anabel is struggling to do both. The Beverly Hills clothing store she cleaned four nights a week closed in early March. Holding onto the small apartment she and her husband share in Los Angeles is a top priority.

"We have had to cut back on food just to pay the rent," says Anabel, who asked NPR to not use her full name because she is undocumented.

Every Good Friday, for the last 176 years, the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City fills with religious pilgrims, tourists and the curious. In modern times, up to 2 million people crowd the streets to watch one of Latin America's most elaborate reenactments of Christ's crucifixion.

This year though, the whole affair has been moved indoors, and will be streamed live on the Internet and broadcast on national TV, due to Mexico's nationwide COVID-19 shutdown.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mexico's health officials say it's time to keep your distance. Beginning Monday, people will be urged to maintain safe distances from one another and, if possible, work from home. Public schools, which were open through Friday, will remain closed until at least April 20.

As of Saturday night, Mexico's Secretary of Health reported 251 confirmed cases and two deaths from the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Some state and cities have already imposed stricter measures. On Sunday, Mexico City's mayor announced that bars, theaters and museums would be closed, also beginning Monday.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic descriptions of the search for human remains.

Manky Lugo has developed a gruesome expertise. Like a human bloodhound, she sniffs out traces of death.

Her gray hair wrapped in a bright-green bandanna, the 64-year-old applies her skill during an annual search for remains of fellow citizens who have vanished without a trace — victims of Mexico's drug wars and armed groups. A loved one of her own is among the missing.

Mexico's president is gearing up for a national raffle. The prize? The presidential plane. It's like Mexico's Air Force One, but the president refuses to step foot in it.

The plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, has long been a symbol of government excess in the eyes of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He loves to rail on what he calls Mexico's corrupt political class, especially by pointing to the plane and those who bought and used it.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The last two weeks have been busy for Mexico's immigration authorities. Since Jan. 18, the Mexican government says it has "assisted returns" of 2,303 Central American migrants back to their home countries.

"Assisted returns" means deported — but much of the official language referring to migration in Mexico remains euphemistic, critics say, even as the government's migration policies have grown harsher.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands on Tuesday, startling people as far away as Miami and prompting official tsunami alerts for a large area of the Caribbean that were later withdrawn.

The quake, initially reported as 7.3 magnitude before being upgraded, was centered 86 miles northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 87 miles west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba, at a depth of just 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 2:10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

On the wind-whipped hills north of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, Berthenid Dasny holds the keys to the gated memorial erected for Haiti's earthquake victims. Thousands of bodies are buried here in a mass grave dug after a magnitude 7 earthquake shook the country on Jan. 12, 2010.

"They've forgotten about this place; it should look better than this," Dasny says as she walks past the overgrown grass, rusted metal statues and brittle brush. For the past year, she has been the memorial's groundskeeper, though she has never been paid.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Heavily armed gunmen went on a shooting rampage through the city of Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state on Mexico's Pacific coast, battling security forces after authorities attempted to arrest a son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

The gunfire from what appeared to be sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns sent residents of the western city scrambling for cover. Burning vehicles littered the streets as the gunmen faced off against the National Guard, army and police.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

José José, the revered Mexican singer known as the "Prince of Song," died Saturday, Sept. 28, in Miami. He was 71 years old.

As leaders from around the world spent Monday at the United Nations Climate Action Summit pledging to ban coal and cut carbon emissions, Mexico's president was at his weekday news conference showing off a new app that tells consumers where the cheapest gas in the country can be found.

And it's not just Monday's events in New York. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is skipping the annual United Nations General Assembly altogether.

This year, Mexico surpassed Syria to become the deadliest country for journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Many consider that overall levels of violence and impunity in Mexico are the biggest problems facing Mexican journalists. But press advocates say the president's harsh rhetoric toward the media isn't helping the situation.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A picture of an armed Mexican National Guard soldier impeding a crying migrant mother and her child from getting to the United States is spreading on social media and making headlines in Mexico.

Critics of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's tighter border enforcement have seized on the image to decry Mexico's new security plan, implemented after intense pressure from the Trump administration.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Mickael Behn isn't Cuban. Neither is his family. But their connection to Cuba dates to 1917, when his great-grandfather bought prime Havana harbor property from the Cuban government. Behn's grandfather took over the commercial business in 1947 and ran the Havana Docks Corp. until mid-November 1960.

Fidel Castro's revolutionary army had overthrown the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista the year before. But on Nov. 21, 1960, two armed men barged into Behn's grandfather's office on the docks.

Pages