Carrie Kahn | KERA News

Carrie Kahn

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Since arriving in Mexico in the summer of 2012, on the eve of the election of President Enrique Peña Nieto and the PRI party's return to power, Kahn has reported on everything from the rise in violence throughout the country to its powerful drug cartels, and the arrest, escape, and re-arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. She has covered extensively the increasing Central American migration through the region, gang violence in Central America, and the historic détente between the Obama Administration and Cuba.

Prior to her post in Mexico, Kahn had been a National Correspondent based in Los Angeles since joining NPR in 2003. During that time, Kahn often reported on and from Mexico, including covering the country's presidential election in 2012. She was the first NPR reporter into Haiti after the devastating earthquake in early 2010, and returned to the country on numerous occasions to continue NPR's coverage of the Caribbean nation.

Her work included assignments throughout California and the West. In 2010 Kahn was awarded the Headliner Award for Best in Show and Best Investigative Story for her work covering U.S. informants involved in the Mexican Drug War. In 2005, Kahn was part of NPR's extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina, where she investigated claims of euthanasia in New Orleans hospitals, recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast, and resettlement of city residents in Houston, TX. Since then, she has covered her share of hurricanes, firestorms and mudslides in Southern California, and the controversial life and death of pop-icon Michael Jackson. In 2008, as China hosted the world's athletes, Kahn recorded a remembrance of her Jewish grandfather and his decision to compete in Hitler's 1936 Olympics.

Before coming to NPR in 2003, Kahn worked for two and a half years at NPR station KQED in San Francisco, first as an editor and then as a general assignment reporter with a focus on immigration reporting. From 1994 to 2001, Kahn was the border and community affairs reporter at NPR station KPBS in San Diego, where she covered Northern Mexico, immigration, cross-border issues, and the city's ethnic communities.

Kahn's work has been cited for fairness and balance by the Poynter Institute of Media Studies. She was awarded and completed a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism at Johns Hopkins University.

Kahn received a bachelor's degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz. For several years, she was a human genetics researcher in California and in Costa Rica. She has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East, where she worked on a English/Hebrew/Arabic magazine.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Nicaragua's gigantic transoceanic canal, if it gets built, will dwarf the neighboring Panama Canal. Ground-breaking is set to begin before the end of the year.

The $50 billion mega project would bring an economic boom to the poor nation — and a political bonanza for its president, Daniel Ortega.

Ortega is not the bombastic revolutionary of years past. He shies away from public appearances and has left day-to-day operations to his wife, an eccentric former revolutionary poet.

The number of Central Americans reaching the U.S. border has dropped dramatically. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, 60 percent fewer unaccompanied minors were apprehended in August than at the height of the migration crisis earlier this summer.

One factor leading to the drastic decline is an unprecedented crackdown in Mexico. Under pressure from the United States, Mexico has begun arresting and deporting tens of thousands of Central Americans long before they reach the U.S. border.

Stepped-Up Deportations

The number of Central American children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. There has been a 60 percent decline in apprehensions of minors since the record numbers making the illegal trek earlier this summer.

A lot of factors may be contributing to the dramatic drop, including heavy rains along the migrant route and media campaigns in home countries dispelling rumors that kids can stay in the U.S.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Like the United States, Mexico is dealing with a substantial increase of Central American migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing its borders. Earlier this month, Mexico's president announced plans to crack down on the illegal flow and strengthen security along the southern border with Guatemala.

As you plan — or even go — on your summer vacation, think about this: More and more Americans are no longer taking a few weeks off to suntan and sightsee abroad. Instead they're working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English.

It's called volunteer tourism, or "voluntourism," and it's one of the fastest growing trends in travel today. More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year.

Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world's richest arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.

"My farm was beautiful; it was big," he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.

"Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," he says.

The Obama administration says it will try to speed up deportations of tens of thousands of children who have illegally entered the U.S. from Central America in recent months. It's part of a stronger message the administration is hoping gets back to would-be migrants contemplating coming to the U.S.

But the message isn't getting through, and even those who have recently been deported say they will try again.

FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup, says it has zero tolerance for racist and homophobic conduct by players and fans at this year's international soccer event.

Late last week, FIFA opened an investigation into the display of neo-Nazi banners by both Russian and Croat fans at the World Cup. And Brazil and Mexico face possible sanctions for chanting a homophobic slur during their match last week. But soccer fans say the world is misinterpreting the use of the word and their team spirit.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Six Americans remain in a rural Honduran prison after being arrested last month on suspicion of smuggling weapons into the country. The men arrived in the Central American nation by boat, ready to begin work on a salvage project along the northern Honduran coast. The men say the guns were on the boat for protection from pirates.

Six Americans have been detained in Honduras for the last month, jailed on suspicion of smuggling arms. The Americans claim the guns they carried were for personal protection against pirates as they cleared logs to give locals better access to fishing sites.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Mexico City health official launched a new campaign this month to boost the image of nursing mothers. But posters of topless toned actresses weren't exactly the message women's groups and health advocates had hoped for.

"We were very surprised once the campaign was launched," says Regina Tames, of the reproductive rights group GIRE.

She was taken aback by pictures of topless actresses and one of the female boxer known as "La Barbie." She was shirtless, too — although she did have on her boxing gloves.

If the prices of a margarita or guacamole have been too high for you lately, blame it on a key ingredient of the Mexican treats — the lime. Prices for limes, imported almost exclusively from Mexico, hit record highs this year, and demand remains high. But now the price is dropping and farmers couldn't be happier.

Has the price of your margarita cocktail shot up? Guacamole more expensive? Blame it on limes.

About 98 percent of limes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico. But our neighbors to the south are feeling seriously squeezed by a shortage of the beloved citrus fruit.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Drug cartel leader Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo," was formally charged on Monday with violating drug trafficking laws in Mexico. While officials celebrate his capture, many in his home state of Sinaloa — who viewed the kingpin as a helper of the poor and a keeper of the peace — are not as pleased.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.

There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.

In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

After a week of fighting between civilian militias, drug traffickers and federal forces, there is a tense calm in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

It's been the site of clashes between civilian militias defending themselves from ruthless drug traffickers, and federal forces trying to regain control.

For now, businesses are slowly reopening, school will restart on Monday, and the militias who took up arms have put down their weapons. It's unclear how long this fragile peace will last.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pages