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.

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, most recently covering the country's presidential election in 2012. She was the first NPR reporter into Haiti after the devastating earthquake in early 2010, and has returned to the country six times in the two years since to detail recovery and relief efforts, and the political climate.

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. She has covered her share of hurricanes since, fire storms 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 2 1/2 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.

While at KPBS, Kahn received numerous awards, including back-to-back Sol Price Awards for Responsible Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. She won the California/Nevada Associated Press award for Best News Feature, eight Golden Mike Awards from the Radio & TV News Association of Southern California and numerous prizes from the San Diego Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists of San Diego. She was also awarded three consecutive La Pluma Awards from the California Chicano News Media Association.

Prior to joining KPBS, Kahn worked for NPR station KUSP and published a bilingual community newspaper in Santa Cruz, CA.

Kahn is frequently called upon to lecture or discuss border issues and bi-national journalism. Her 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 Bachelors degree from UC Santa Cruz in Biology. 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.

Pages

Latin America
3:38 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

A Look Inside El Chapo's Prison Escape Through A Tunnel

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 5:55 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
8:13 am
Sun July 12, 2015

In El Salvador, Gang Killings Take An Agonizing Toll

Suspected members of El Salvador's 18th Street gang stand handcuffed in pairs at a police station in Panchimalco, near San Salvador. The government has launched well-publicized raids, roundups and a crackdown on gang leaders, locking them away in maximum security prisons.
Manu Brabo AP

What if more than 600 people were murdered in Arizona or Tennessee in one month — 22 dead every day?

That's the problem facing the tiny Central American nation of El Salvador, which has the same population as each of those states. Last month, the death toll in El Salvador hit 677, nearly twice as many murders as at the same time last year. Politicians, police and experts differ on what do to.

Read more
Parallels
7:19 am
Wed July 1, 2015

A Father In California, Kids In El Salvador, And New Hope To Reunite

Marta Elsie Leveron, 19, (left) and her brother Freddy David Leveron, 18, have not seen their father since he left El Savador to work in California in 1999. A new U.S. program allows families to reunite if one parent is a legal U.S. resident. The girl in the middle is Liliana Beatriz Leveron, 16, a cousin of the other two. Her parents are in the U.S. and she's seeking to reunite with them as well.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 9:00 am

Editor's Note: Unaccompanied minors surged across the U.S. southern border last year. In response, the Obama administration has introduced a program that would allow families to reunite. In this story about the divided Leveron family, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports first from California, followed by Carrie Kahn in El Salvador.

Read more
Education
3:20 am
Wed July 1, 2015

As Panama's Economy Booms, So Do Concerns Over Debt And The Environment

Panama City's skyline.
Arnulfo Franco AP

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 7:44 am

The 66th floor of Panama City's Trump Tower is a fine spot to experience Panama's booming economy. Beyond the building's windows, hundreds of skyscrapers stretch the length of the capital's skyline. Inside, a hand of blackjack will set you back $200, but all-you-can-drink champagne costs just $10.

On average, economic growth in Panama has topped 8 percent in the last five years, making the country the envy of its struggling Latin American neighbors.

Read more
Parallels
1:21 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

How Mexico Quietly Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

Fernando Urias (left) and Victor Manuel Aguirre kiss after they learned they were allowed to marry, during a protest outside the municipal palace in the northern border city of Mexicali, Mexico, on Jan. 17.
Alex Cossio AP

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 6:06 pm

In the U.S., the Supreme Court's widely anticipated ruling on same-sex marriage has been the focus of nonstop speculation and debate. In Mexico, meanwhile, the highest court effectively legalized same-sex unions this month with a decision that was so low key many failed to notice.

Mexico's Supreme Court quietly published an opinion, known as a jurisprudential thesis, ruling that defining marriage as a union only between a man and a woman is discriminatory and in violation of Mexico's constitution.

Read more
Latin America
6:38 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Accusations Pile Up Against Panama's Former President

Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli answers questions during an interview at a hotel in Guatemala City in January.
Moises Castillo AP

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 8:40 am

Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli wasn't always rich.

One of Central America's richest and most eccentric former politicians, Martinelli started off as a credit officer at Citibank in Panama. He bought one business, then another. Among his holdings is the country's largest supermarket chain, Super 99, known for bargain prices and catchy jingles.

But while his jingles may get Panamanian's hips moving, Martinelli's alleged pilfering and profiteering make their blood boil.

Read more
Parallels
2:43 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

What Archbishop Romero's Beatification Means For El Salvador Today

Maria del Pilar Perdomo holds up a framed portrait of the slain Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, during a procession on March 24 to mark the 35th anniversary of his assassination in San Salvador, El Salvador. Romero was killed in 1980 while offering Mass. Romero will be beatified on Saturday.
Salvador Melendez AP

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 9:49 am

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the streets of the capital of El Salvador on Saturday to celebrate as one of Latin America's most revered and controversial religious figures is beatified — the last official step before sainthood.

They will gather to pay tribute to former Archbishop Oscar Romero, a beloved priest and staunch defender of the poor, who was murdered while celebrating Mass in 1980.

Read more
Latin America
5:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

In Panama, Restoring Streets And Reforming Gangs At The Same Time

Former gang member Ricky James (left) and developer K.C. Hardin in Casco Viejo.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 7:45 am

Panama, like its Central American neighbors, is struggling with a rise in gangs. A recent census by the country's security forces put the number of criminal organizations operating in Panama now at about 200.

One neighborhood, in the capital's historic district, is taking on its gang problem with a group of strange bedfellows.

First, meet K.C. Hardin.

"I moved to Panama 12 years ago just to surf and do nothing for a couple years, I thought," says Hardin.

Read more
Latin America
4:09 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

At Summit, All Eyes On Meeting Between Obama And Castro

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 7:04 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Presidents Obama and Raul Castro of Cuba shook hands last night before opening ceremonies of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. But the informal meeting between the two men today was the most anticipated moment of the conference.

Read more
Goats and Soda
1:28 am
Thu April 9, 2015

She's 66 And Finally Getting Electricity. Bring On The Ice Cream!

Monique Yusizanna Ouz, 66, is going to have electricity for the first time in her life.
Carrie Kahn/NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:56 pm

In the village of Tuffet, a rocky 45-minute drive from the closest city along Haiti's southern coast, several men get down to work in Monique Yusizanna Ouz's rural home. They're wiring up her two-room, dirt floor house with a breaker box, an outlet and a light fixture.

She's 66 years old, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have electricity.

Ouz, who has five grandchildren, wants a refrigerator. She wants cold drinks — for herself but also to sell. And she wants ice cream, too.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Notorious Mexican Criminals Say Prison Conditions Are Inhumane

Reproduction of a letter to the National Commission of Human Rights from criminals, drug dealers, murderers and kidnappers in "El Altiplano," Mexico's highest-security prison.
Ronaldo Schemidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:13 am

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission is dealing with a new case of alleged violations by federal officials. This complaint, however, comes from the country's most vicious and notorious criminals — more than 100 of them.

Nearly 140 prisoners at Mexico's maximum security prison say they're being housed in unsafe and inhumane conditions.

Read more
Parallels
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Ex-Boxing Champ Steps Back Into Spotlight As A Face Of Addiction

Julio Cesar Chavez at his home in Tijuana, Mexico.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 8:56 am

In Mexico, the problem of drug trafficking is well publicized, but you can't say the same when it comes to the problem of drug addiction.

Read more
Parallels
2:25 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Mexico Takes Out Cartel Heads, But Crime Continues To Climb

The alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel, Omar Trevino Morales, is taken under custody to be presented to the press at the Attorney General Office's hangar at the airport in Mexico City, on March 4. Mexican authorities captured Trevino Wednesday, dealing a blow to the feared gang and giving the embattled government a second major arrest in a week.
Omar Torres AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:56 am

Two of Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels have lost their leaders. In the span of just one week, the Mexican government captured the heads of the Knights Templar and the Zetas trafficking organization. That brings the number of capos taken out by the current administration to 11.

But many analysts believe the spectacular arrests will do little to tackle the country's growing insecurity.

Read more
Parallels
2:45 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Tijuana Cops Turn On Body Cameras And Hope To Turn Off Bribery

The 2,100-person Tijuana municipal police force is one of Mexico's largest. It's also the first in the country to employ body cameras for its officers.
Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:20 am

Mexican cops have gotten a bad rap. They are known more for taking bribes than fighting crime. One police department in Mexico hopes that body cameras, a high-tech tool gaining popularity in the U.S., will redeem its reputation.

The police chief in the border city of Tijuana says they will show that it's not just bad cops that are the problem; the public plays a big role in corruption, too.

Within days of three Tijuana police officers clipping on the cameras, one recorded an eye-opening traffic stop.

Read more
NPR Story
2:30 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Monarch Butterfly Population Rejuvenated After Last Year's Record Low

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 6:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Fine Art
1:47 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Daughters Back An Artful End To The Rivera-Rockefeller Rivalry Story

Diego Rivera, seen here in 1933, works on a panel of his mural in the lobby of Rockefeller Center.
AP

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 5:48 am

It's been called one of the great rivalries of the art world — a clash between egos, riches and ideologies. In the spring of 1932, capitalist (and prolific collector of Mexican art) Nelson Rockefeller hired Mexican painter and staunch socialist Diego Rivera to paint a mural for the lobby of the newly erected Rockefeller Center in New York City. Sketches were drawn and approved, but when reporters leaked that Rivera had added an image of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, a battle began.

Read more
Business
2:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

Netflix Streams Its Way To Cuba — Slowly

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 4:32 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

U.S.-Cuba Talks First Step In Long Process Of Restoring Relations

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:00 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
2:26 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Historic Diplomatic Talks Begin In Cuba

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 5:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
World
2:26 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Political Turmoil Threatens To Derail Haiti's Delicate Recovery

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 9:25 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
World
2:18 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Five Years After Earthquake, Haiti's Recovery Remains Uneven

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 4:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

World
2:12 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

In Haiti, Time Running Out To Schedule Overdue Elections

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 11:34 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
1:34 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Lacking Internet, Cubans Rely On 'The Package' For Entertainment

Young Cubans prepare their sticks to charge the latest internet "package" with films, television series, software and other similar stuff from foreign origin downloaded from the web.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:37 am

Cuba has promised its citizens better Internet access in this New Year. The few Cubans who now manage to get online find it expensive and slow.

Warming ties with the U.S. have stirred hope for improved telecommunications. But until then, many residents have devised an ingenious work-around, or should we say walk-around.

On Havana's Malecon, roaming guitarists play for the crowds resting against the iconic sea wall. In this nightly gathering spot, it's old fashioned interacting. No one is on a cell, no eyes glued to smart phones.

Read more
Latin America
2:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Cubans Celebrate The Return Of Three Last Spies

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:26 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
3:05 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Cuba's Jews, Catholics Have Very Different Takes On The U.S. Thaw

A member of the activist group Women in White is arrested during a demonstration to commemorate Human Rights Day in downtown Havana, on Dec. 10. Members of the opposition movement say they feel betrayed by the U.S. decision to restore ties with Cuba's communist regime.
Adalberto Roque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 11:33 am

In Havana, two religious communities are celebrating the holiday season but have taken very different approaches to the news that relations between the U.S. and Cuba are warming.

For Jews who belong to Temple Beth Shalom in Havana, their numbers may be small, but size doesn't matter.

On Sunday night, a couple hundred people filled the temple's sanctuary to light six Hanukkah candles, watch teens put on a play, and clap to a group of toddlers dancing to the holiday classic "Eight Little Candles," sung in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language.

Read more
NPR Story
5:42 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Cubans Blame Their Woes On The U.S. Embargo

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 2:08 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
3:12 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Cubans Eager For More Economic Investment

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
5:16 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Haiti's President Searches For Next Prime Minister

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Latin America
2:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Burnt Remains Of Missing Mexican Student Identified; 42 Still Not Found

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 5:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
The Salt
1:34 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Mexican Chef Serves Up An Authoritative Guide To Her Country's Cuisine

With over 700 pages and 600 recipes, Mexico: The Cookbook, attempts to document exhaustively the country's varied regional cuisines. Recipes in the book include (from left): potato and chorizo tacos; divorced eggs with tomatillo sauce; and tikin-xik fish, a grouper dish from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Courtesy of Fiamma Piacentini-Huff and Phaidon

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 7:21 am

If you want to give your taste buds a gustatory tour of Mexico, then Margarita Carrillo is ready to be your guide.

The Mexican chef and food activist has spent years gathering hundreds of recipes from every region of the country for Mexico: The Cookbook, her new, encyclopedic take on her country's cuisine.

Read more

Pages