Carrie Kahn

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In recent years, a growing number of news and political websites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say has been a small but vibrant opening afforded them since former President Obama reestablished U.S. relations with Cuba. But others worry that President Trump's harder line toward the Communist Castro government could have a chilling effect on the independent media movement afoot.

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In recent years, a growing number of news and political sites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say is a small but vibrant opening, one offered them since President Obama re-established relations with Cuba.

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Cubans really thought that their long era of economic isolation from the United States was over.

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In Mexico, the race is on to save a small, gray porpoise that is on the brink of extinction. It's called the vaquita, which is Spanish for "small cow."

Scientists believe only 30 remain in the warm, shallow waters of the Gulf of California, between Baja California's peninsula and mainland Mexico — the only place they live in the world.

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Murder is on the rise in Mexico. Ten years after the government launched its war on drugs and sent the military to combat cartels, homicides are at levels not seen since the height of that offensive. The violence is widespread, but it remains most prevalent in a few hard-hit towns and cities.

Hugo del Angel says his city, Ecatepec, a sprawling, struggling suburb of nearly 2 million outside Mexico City, is definitely high on that list.

"It's probably one of the three most problematic in the whole country," he says.

Activists in Mexico are taking aim at male riders of the capital city's packed public transit system. They are hoping that a new, provocative campaign that includes a good dose of shock and shame will change men's behavior toward female transit customers.

It's hard to find a place in Mexico more transformed by the North American Free Trade Agreement than Tijuana. The border city has exploded in growth since the trade pact was signed in 1993, when about 100 international manufacturing plants dotted the hilly dry landscape. Today, according to Luis Hernández, the current head of INDEX, Tijuana's Maquiladora Association, there are now about 700 multi-national factories making everything from flat screen TVs to trucks to pacemakers

Mexicans have reacted angrily to President Trump's executive order, which among many things directed the U.S. government to begin immediate construction of a border wall.

Mexican lawmakers are urging President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel his scheduled visit to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 31.

Peña Nieto has not said whether he will cancel the meeting.

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Ford Motor Co.'s decision this week to cancel construction of an auto plant in Mexico has shocked that country, causing the peso to slump and stirring up outrage toward President-elect Donald Trump. Anger is high toward the incoming U.S. president in the state where the Ford plant was under construction — and was slated to employ nearly 3,000 local workers.

Nicaragua's election on Sunday isn't expected to produce any surprises — but it is drawing attention.

The current president and former Marxist rebel, Daniel Ortega, who is seeking an unprecedented third term, is widely predicted to win. He does, however, have a new vice presidential running mate — his wife Rosario Murillo — and has banned all national and international observers, leading some opponents to say the elections are fixed.

Mexico City's Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera is handing out plastic whistles. A half-million of them. At three bucks a pop, he's hoping that women will use the whistles to scare off harassers on the packed public transportation system.

When the plan was announced this summer, it received a flurry of scathing criticism and mocking memes on social media. But city officials are moving forward and have been handing out the whistles by the thousands at subway and bus stops.

If the old real estate adage holds true — it's all about location, location, location — then about 100 miles off the tip of Florida, it's boom time. The real estate market in Havana, Cuba, is roaring.

The communist country is seeing its colonial-style mansions and Art Deco apartments selling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add a Caribbean sea view or a prized spot in a pre-revolution, exclusive neighborhood, and the price can top a million bucks. The prices are soaring, along with speculation in this budding and risky all-cash real estate market.

Costa Rica is best known for its vacation beaches and lush rain forests. But recently it has become a thoroughfare for tens of thousands of migrants from South America and elsewhere who are hoping to reach the U.S.

Many are from the Caribbean, but a significant number trekking through the country are Africans and Southeast Asians, and collectively, they are straining Costa Rica's welcoming reputation.

Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?

Well, here's an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.

Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.

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Holocaust survivor, Nobel laureate and author Elie Wiesel has died at the age of 87. Wiesel survived the World War II Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. After liberation, he went to France, then Israel and the United States, where he advocated on behalf of victims of hate and persecution around the world.

Wiesel's son, Elisha, confirmed his death in a phone call with NPR.

After more than $5 billion and close to a decade of construction, Panama opens the long awaited expansion of its storied canal. Set to potentially double its current cargo, the expansion has weathered cost disputes, serious questions regarding its design and a global slump in international shipping.

Will the canal bring the benefits promised to this tiny Central America nation?

Costa Rican officials say more than 800 people claiming to be from Africa have come to their country in just the last two months. Most are believed to be from the two neighboring Congo states in central Africa. But in a visit this week, NPR also found Eritreans, Angolans and Nigerians.

Authorities also suspect that some are from Haiti.

Central America has long been the route north for people fleeing violence or poverty in Latin America. Now it's also a route from Africa.

Dozens of people crowded into the main hall of the Panama Canal Authority's headquarters last month to see which ship would win the coveted maiden voyage through the expanded canal slated for June 26.

All eyes were on 9-year old Margarita Rivas Silvera as she stuck her hand in a metal cage and pulled out the winning name.

Panama City is bustling with construction. At least half-a-dozen cranes dot its picturesque, oceanfront skyline, teeming with glass towers.

At one site, real estate broker Kent Davis steps into a construction elevator in a nearly completed 30-floor apartment building. Seventy percent of the apartments have already been sold.

Cuba's leadership won't change anytime soon, nor will its political or economic plans for the future. That's the take-away from the four-day congress of the Cuban Communist Party that wrapped up late Tuesday. And apparently to emphasize that the old guard remains firmly in control, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance.

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