Centenarians

Americas Now

Brazil - Black Pride (Stephen Gibbs) - Brazil is sometimes portrayed as one of the world's harmonious, multi-ethnic "rainbow nations." But the truth is more complicated. For generations, white Brazilians have enjoyed preferential treatment over their black counterparts. It's been especially noticeable in higher education. Most publicly-funded universities are filled by white students, even though half of all Brazilians are of African descent. To reverse that trend, the government has adopted a quota policy. They are obliged to fill 50-percent of their spots with students of black or indigenous ancestry. However, critics say this only aggravates racism. As Correspondent Stephen Gibbs reports some are questioning whether it's possible to define who is black in mixed-race Brazil. Guatemala - Indigenous Justice (Harris Whitbeck) - Indigenous populations in Guatemala have used their own justice system for hundreds of years. It's a system centered on the wisdom of their ancestors. And for many it's a more efficient and effective way to resolve problems. However, some punishments include public lashings so it's not without controversy. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck traveled to the town of Santa Cruz to show us how indigenous authorities govern their communities. Mexico - Guardian Falcons - You may recall the story of pilot "Sully" Sullenberger. Back in 2009 he successfully landed his passenger airplane on the Hudson River in New York City saving the lives of 150 passengers and crew. Well, the cause of that crash landing was a bird strike which disabled the plane's engines. At Mexico City's International Airport, they've trained falcons to keep other birds away from the planes. These "birds of prey" are on patrol along with their doggy companions, keeping birds away at the main airport. This is our end/musical piece this week.

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Americas Now

Colombia - Microfinances (Michelle Begue) - According to Colombia's National Statistics Department, 12.4 million people were living below the poverty line in Colombia in 2017. That translates into living on less than 88 dollars a month. For many of those residents dreams of having their own business seem impossible. But some industrious women, with some innovative ideas, have found support in the form of a financial service. And it's helping produce a long-term change in their lives. Correspondent Michelle Begue has the story from Bogota.

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Americas Now

Lifeline for Haiti - In recent years -- money sent by Latinos abroad.. .to their families back home -- has grown. In fact...from 20-16 to 20-17...they sent a total of 75-billion dollars...a new record, according to the World Bank. The money...called, remittances reflects the rise of migration across the continent..."two-thirds" of migrants from Latin America -- live in the United States. One of the countries that receives the most -- is Haiti, where the money accounts for almost 35-percent of the GDP.

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Americas Now

Mexico - Housing Nightmare (Mike Kirsch) - Back in 2001 some in Mexico called it a "miracle." Millions of low wage, factory workers were promised new, affordable homes under an ambitious residential construction boom. It was set in motion by then-President Vicente Fox and the World Bank. Today that "miracle" is being described as a social and financial catastrophe. According to a recent in-depth investigation by the Los Angeles Times citizens in these developments have been dealing with daily hardships and hazards across Mexico.

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Americas Now

Ecuador - Venezuela Exodus (Harris Whitbeck) - South America is experiencing its largest mass migration in recent history. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the economic hardship and political instability in their country...arriving at the borders of neighboring countries each day. Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil are all coping with intense pressure from the influx. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck reports from Ecuador, another country feeling the strain of the crisis -- and one that's already seen its share of mass migrations.

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Americas Now

Mexico - Tech-Mex (Harris Whitbeck) - Part of U.S. President Donald Trumps' "get-tough" policy is expected to include an increase in the expulsion of undocumented citizens to their home countries. Mexico is one of the nations that might face the largest number of returnees. For many of them it could feel like starting over as they know little about the language and culture of their country of origin. That makes things like finding a job difficult. But the digital startup sector in Mexico is viewing the return of migrants from the U.S. as an opportunity.

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Americas Now

Brazil - Children of Zika (Lucrecia Franco) - Between 2015 and 2017 some 3000 babies in Brazil were born with a rare condition. Their heads were much smaller than normal and their brains weren't fully developed. Doctors diagnosed those babies with "Microcephaly," a disorder caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. And these cases were linked to Zika. Correspondent Lucrecia Franco visited the city of Recife, one of the country's most affected areas in the world for what is now called "Congenital Zika Syndrome", and brought us the story of the Zika Children.

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Americas Now

El Salvador - Reforming Gangsters - In 20-18 the United States deported more than 250-thousand people...according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Almost 6,000 of them -- where known or suspected gang members. Prisons in countries like El Salvador are packed with deportees. But as correspondent Mike Kirsch reports... some ARE trying to make an honest living...and kissing the American Dream...good-bye. Costa Rica - Lionfish Invasion - They are exotic, beautiful, and mesmerizing to watch as they swim the warm waters of the Caribbean.

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Americas Now

Costa Rica - Plastic Ban (Harris Whitbeck) - The Central American nation of Costa Rica has long been at the forefront of progressive environmental policies. But it's lagged behind in one crucial area, the safe disposal of solid waste. But that could all change with their goal to end "single use" plastics by the year 2020 along with a new motto, "Say no to plastic". Our correspondent Harris Whitbeck reports from San Jose, Costa Rica. Brazil - Samba Empire (Lucrecia Franco) - Some call it the greatest show south of the equator: the Samba parade in Rio.

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Americas Now

Guatemala - Girls at Risk (Harris Whitbeck) - It was an event that shocked the entire country and made headlines around the world. 42 girls, locked up in a state home for children in Guatemala --burned to death. The fire broke out following protests and accusations of poor conditions and abuse. The incident also revealed many of the vulnerabilities faced by young people. More than a year after the tragedy the victim's relatives are still looking for answers. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck tells us more about Guatemala's girls at risk.

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