Carrie Kahn | KCUR

Carrie Kahn

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When a passenger jet crashed in Indonesia last year, Dennis Muilenburg said what airline executives commonly say.

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DENNIS MUILENBURG: The bottom line here is the 737 Max is safe.

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Updated on Feb. 25 at 5:45 p.m. ET

When President Trump spoke in Florida earlier this month, he issued a stern warning about Venezuela: Members of the armed forces who continue to support President Nicolás Maduro "will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out," he said. "You will lose everything."

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Blanka Callejas looks out over the production floor of her family's factory just outside the Nicaraguan town of Granada. Workers scrub down huge metal vats where they process fruit for the Callejas brand of jams and preserves, a staple in Nicaraguan homes for decades. She is worried about how she will pay her 50 employees.

These days, she says, jam has become a luxury.

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Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says his crackdown on gas thieves in the country is working, even though long lines at the pump in several states persist, distribution bottlenecks continue and new acts of fuel theft are reported.

As he has done every day since the gas crisis, now well into its second week, López Obrador insists gas sales and distribution will stabilize soon.

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Mexico is about to swear in a president unlike any the country has seen in decades.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a populist leftist, has pledged to clean Mexico of corruption, put the poor first, and shake up politics. While his unorthodox approach has gained him a loyal following, his unpredictability is rattling international markets, stirring up critics and setting him up for a standoff with the United States over migration.

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NAFTA is no more. The North American Free Trade Agreement has a new name — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA — and its rules have been updated and revamped.

For Mexico, there's one rule in particular that gives workers hope higher wages are coming.

The power struggle between China and the island of Taiwan is playing out in an unlikely region — Latin America.

The biggest bloc of Taiwan's few remaining world allies is in Central America and the Caribbean. But even that solidarity is splintering.

Rising rates of homicides and drug violence have created an overflow at Mexico's morgues. So much so, that several cities have resorted to storing dead bodies in refrigerated trailers.

This sparked a national scandal after some residents complained about the stench coming from one of the trailers parked in their neighborhood in the western city of Guadalajara.

Around the world, people are struggling for access to drinking water. All Things Considered is examining the forces at play in separating the haves from the have-nots — from natural disasters to crumbling infrastructure and corruption.

It's the rainy season now in Mexico. Between May and September, on most late afternoons, thick clouds roll into Mexico City's mountain-ringed valley. The skies darken and then an amazing downpour ensues.

As the months-long crackdown on opponents of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega drags on, the small independent press in the country is coming under harsh attack.

One reporter has been killed, and dozens more say they have been beaten and threatened. Many reporters have fled or quit the profession. But a determined group of journalists remains.

They include reporters like Julio César López Chavarría.

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A refugee crisis is growing in Central America as tens of thousands of Nicaraguans pour into neighboring Costa Rica seeking safety from the political crisis at home.

Mexico's hard swing to the left in this month's national elections also swept in some other historic firsts. Women won key positions across the country, including, for the first time ever, the mayor of Mexico City.

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, 56, will assume arguably the second most important political post in Mexico, after capturing nearly 50 percent of the vote in the July 1 elections.

The Trump administration has one week left to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite over 2,000 children separated at the border from their families suspected of entering the U.S. illegally.

Logistically, it's going to be tough for the government. The children were sent to dozens of different shelters and foster homes around the United States, in many cases, thousands of miles from their detained parents.

Then there are dozens more parents who've already been deported without their children, further complicating the reunification process.

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President Trump says he called Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador Monday and spoke for 30 minutes about trade, border security and the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Although Trump has railed against Mexico since his campaign, the U.S. president said he came away upbeat after the talk with his incoming counterpart.

"I think the relationship will be a very good one," Trump said, during a meeting with the prime minister of the Netherlands.

Along with picking a new president in this Sunday's election, Mexicans will also replace every member of Congress and will elect thousands of state representatives and hundreds of new mayors. In that array of candidates are more than 3,000 women, who are vying for elective office in unprecedented numbers. Some Mexicans are calling 2018 "el año de la mujer," the year of the woman.

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If the polls are right, Mexico's next president will be a veteran leftist for whom the third time may very well be the charm.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is running for president once again. But this time around, it appears his populist message is striking a chord with Mexicans exasperated with disturbing levels of violence and corruption.

Polls now put López Obrador at least 15 points ahead of his nearest rival, Ricardo Anaya of the right-of-center National Action Party.

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