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When news breaks in Latin America, turn to Padgett

Steve Charles—Just found out from political science professsor Melissa Butler that Tim Padgett ’84 was a featured expert on PBS’s Jim Lehrer News Hour in early August.

The TIME Magazine Miami bureau chief won the Cabot Prize from the Columbia University last year for his "distinguished journalistic contributions to inter-American understanding." With Fidel Castro ailing and his brother, Raul, in charge of Cuba, the folks at the News Hour were in need of some of Tim’s expertise.

"Raul has always had this reputation as sort of a hard-line enforcer for Fidel, and that’s one reputation that, in recent months, Fidel’s government has been trying to soften with a sort of P.R. makeover," Tim told Lehrer. "You’re seeing long articles in the official newspaper, Granma, for example, that have been trying to present Raul’s more warm and fuzzy side as a family man and a grandfather, trying to build a little bit more of a human connection between Raul and the Cuban population that Fidel has had sort of a mystical bond with that Raul has just never had."

You can read a transcript of Tim’s appearance on the show at the Online NewsHour.

His TIME Online article, "Why Raul Castro Could End Up a Reformer," offers a more thorough analysis of the situation.