Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is an NPR international correspondent covering South America for NPR. She is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Previously, she served a NPR's correspondent based in Israel, reporting on stories happening throughout the Middle East. She was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising began and spent months painting a deep and vivid portrait of a country at war. Often at great personal risk, Garcia-Navarro captured history in the making with stunning insight, courage and humanity.

For her work covering the Arab Spring, Garcia-Navarro was awarded a 2011 George Foster Peabody Award, a Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club, and an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Alliance for Women and the Media's Gracie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

Before her assignment to Jerusalem began in 2009, Garcia-Navarro served for more than a year as NPR News' Baghdad Bureau Chief and before that three years as NPR's foreign correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from that region as well as on special assignments abroad.

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, reporting from Cuba, Syria, Panama and Europe. She later became a producer for Associated Press Television News before transitioning to AP Radio. While there, Garcia-Navarro covered post-Sept. 11 events in Afghanistan and developments in Jerusalem. In 2002, she began a two-year reporting stint based in Iraq.

In addition to the Murrow award, Garcia-Navarro was honored with the 2006 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for a two-part series "Migrants' Job Search Empties Mexican Community." She contributed to NPR News reporting on Iraq, which was recognized with a 2005 Peabody Award and a 2007 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

Garcia-Navarro holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and an Master of Arts degree in journalism from City University in London.

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Goats and Soda
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

On A Scale Of 1 To 10, Brazil Gets A Zero For Disability Access

Rio has hosted competitions that include athletes with physical impairments (above: the open water swim at Copacobana beach for the Rei e Rainha do Mar). But there's never been an event on the scale of the Paralympics.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

For most disabled residents of Rio de Janeiro, every day is an Olympian struggle.

Pick almost any sidewalk, says Lilia Martins, who uses an electric wheelchair. She chooses one just outside her place of work. The location is relevant because Martins is an advocate for disabled people in Rio. Even here, we only manage to go a short way before the pavement becomes cracked and broken with huge roots popping up. There is literally no way a wheelchair can go on. It's like an obstacle course.

"Except there is no prize at the end," Martins quips.

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Parallels
2:01 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Huge Scandal At Top Of Petrobras Trickles Down, With Devastating Effect

People, most of them unemployed, line up March 19 at a popular Itaborai, Brazil, restaurant where they can have lunch for about 30 cents. The Petrobras refinery and processing plant on the outskirts of town has been shut down; tens of thousands are now out of work in the area.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:14 pm

I meet Joao Jesus outside the local labor tribunal in the Brazilian town of Itaborai, east of Rio de Janeiro.

"This morning I wasn't able to give my kids breakfast," he says, in a way that suggests he can hardly believe it himself.

Financial crises often get spoken about in the nameless, faceless lingo of "world market downturns" or "changing patterns of consumption" — but the crisis engulfing Brazil and its state oil company, Petrobras, has names and faces.

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Parallels
2:46 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Cholita, An Abused Bear In Peru, Gets A New Home In Colorado

Cholita, an Andean bear, was abused in a circus in Peru and is now in a small zoo. An animal welfare group has now received permission to take Cholita to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado, along with more than 30 former circus lions.
Courtesy of Animal Defenders International

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:48 pm

A badly abused Peruvian bear named Cholita is coming to a sanctuary in Colorado. Animal Defenders International announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expedited the request and she will be on her way next month.

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Latin America
5:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

In Argentina, Friends, Families Torn Apart By Political Discord

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 8:56 am

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

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Parallels
4:05 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Drumbeat Grows Louder For Impeachment Of Brazil's Rousseff

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (shown here at the 21st International Construction Salon in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday) was elected four months ago. Her administration has been hit hard by economic problems and a massive corruption scandal at the state oil company, Petrobras.
Nelson Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 6:00 pm

This week, President Dilma Rousseff descended the famous ramp designed by Oscar Neiymeyer in the presidential palace of Planalto to a crowd of women chanting her name.

The carefully choreographed ceremony was intended to show Rousseff — who was signing into law a ban on femicide — as a leader who has broad support.

But the night before the scene was a very different one. While she was addressing the country on TV, people grabbed their pots and pans and banged on them in protest.

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Latin America
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Minor Characters Take The Stage In Argentina's Real-Life Murder Mystery

Diego Lagomarsino, a computer expert who gave late prosecutor Alberto Nisman the gun that killed him, speaks to reporters during a press conference in Buenos Aires last month.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:33 pm

The locksmith. The journalist. The computer technician. The waitress. The carpenter.

They are a rotating cast of characters connected to prosecutor Alberto Nisman and the deepening mystery surrounding his death last month. Famous for a moment, they have fed Argentina's obsession with conspiracy.

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Latin America
3:00 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Tens Of Thousands Mark Argentine Prosecutor's Mysterious Death

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 5:56 am

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

Latin America
3:15 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

In Argentina, Marchers Mark One Month Since Prosecutor's Death

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:59 pm

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

Parallels
2:47 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

A Historic Drought Grips Brazil's Economic Capital

A demonstrator dressed as a bather protests against the rationing of water, outside the official residence of Sao Paulo's Governor Geraldo Alckmin in Sao Paulo, on Jan. 26. The banner behind him reads, "Planet Water, Dry Lives."
Andre Penner AP

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:44 pm

Last Sunday, hundreds of Paulistanos, as the residents of Sao Paulo are known, dressed up and danced on the streets at one of the dozens of block parties that happen in advance of the annual celebration known as Carnival.

Except this year – among the pirates and Viking bumblebees — some costumes had a more serious, if still not entirely sober, theme.

Antonio Passareli was dressed as a water fountain — with the spigot placed strategically on his waist. But it's no laughing matter, he said.

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Parallels
6:01 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Olympic Golf Course Makes Rio Greener But Turns Some Residents Red

An aerial view of the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course under construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Leo Correa AP

Originally published on Sun February 8, 2015 9:34 am

Sitting under the shade of a tree on a hot, cloudless day, a group of young protesters has set up camp across from what will be the golf course for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Until recently the area was a kind of informal nature reserve, undeveloped and populated with animals, in a part of the city crowded with gated communities and high-rise buildings.

The group, which calls itself "Occupy Golf," says the massive Olympic golf course has taken away a public area.

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Parallels
4:19 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Argentine Official Says He Sought Cooperation With Iran, Not Cover-Up

Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman on Jan. 15 shows a letter he said was sent in 2013 to Interpol informing it of an agreement reached with Iran's government to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association that killed 85 people. Timerman says he met with Iran in an attempt to solve the case and denies accusations he was part of a cover-up.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 1:35 pm

Shortly before Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead with a bullet in his head, he accused Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez, and others in her government of covering up what he said was Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Nisman claimed that those involved in the cover-up included Foreign Minister Hector Timerman — a particularly sensitive accusation not only because of his position but because of his background.

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Latin America
3:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Prosecutor's Murky Death Could Impact Argentina's Elections

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Latin America
3:42 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Argentine Prosecutor Was A Divisive Figure In Life And In Death

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:50 am

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

On Holocaust Day, Argentina's Jews Despair Over Deaths, Old And New

Holocaust survivors light candles during a ceremony at the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building for Holocaust Victims Memory Day in Buenos Aires, the site of a deadly bombing two decades ago.
Alejandro Pagni AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:30 pm

In more normal times, the annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony would have drawn the Jewish community to a somber ceremony at Argentina's Foreign Ministry. But a large part of the community decided to boycott the event Tuesday and hold its own on the site of a deadly bombing two decades ago.

The speakers, including the treasurer of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, Mario Comisarenco, wanted to make clear why.

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Latin America
2:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Prosecutor's Mysterious Death Grips Argentina

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:28 pm

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

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Parallels
1:14 am
Wed January 14, 2015

In Brazil, A Once-High-Flying Economy Takes A Tumble

Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Volkswagen workers block the Anchieta highway in Sao Bernardo do Campo. Thousands of metalworkers marched to protest layoffs by carmakers expecting little or no rebound from a sharp 2014 downturn.
Adonis Guerra Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:45 am

It was a terrible Christmas season for stores in Brazil. For the first time in more than a decade — since 2003 — sales went down.

Roberta Pimenta owns a small shop selling children's clothes at the Butanta mall in Sao Paulo, which is aimed squarely at the middle-class shoppers who live in the area.

"It was the worst drop in sales since I've had this store," Pimenta says. "In seven years it was the worst year I had. And every year you have a 10 percent increase of employees' salary, 10 percent increase in the rent, 10 percent in everything, so it is horrible."

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Latin America
2:24 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

In Brazil, Plastic Surgery Seen As A Right, Not A Privilege

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 8:34 pm

With January first marking the start of many people's self-improvement projects, Lourdes Garcia Navarro shares a story she reported earlier this year about plastic surgery in Brazil.

This story first aired on All Things Considered on Oct. 7, 2014.

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Parallels
1:24 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Argentina's Approach To Inflation: Ditch The Peso, Hoard U.S. Dollars

A man gets information about how to buy dollars at a foreign exchange business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Jan. 27.
Natacha Pisarenko AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:10 pm

Kelly Brenner ushers in guests at the Adentro Dinner Club. This is a "​puertas cerradas"​ restaurant — meaning behind closed doors. It's a culinary movement where people cook for paying guests in their homes. Adentro is the most well-reviewed in Buenos Aires​.

​Brenner, who is originally from Boulder, Colo., acts as the host, and her Argentine fiance, Gabriel Aguallo, does the cooking, focusing on grilled meat.

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Parallels
4:07 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Brazil's Tearful President Praises Report On Abuses Of A Dictatorship

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff begins to cry as she delivers a speech during the final report of the National Truth Commission on Violation of Human Rights during the military dictatorship from 1964-1985 in Brasilia on Wednesday. She is among the thousands who were tortured during that brutal period.
Ed Ferreira/Agencia Estado Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:38 am

Brazil's national truth commission on Wednesday delivered a damning report looking at the abuses committed during that country's military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985.

The 2,000-page document details for the first time a history of arbitrary detention, torture, executions and disappearances.

Until now, Brazil has sought to bury its difficult past.

President Dilma Rousseff, who was herself tortured during Brazil's dictatorship period, broke down when she addressed the nation Wednesday. She said the report had fulfilled three important objectives.

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Parallels
12:19 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Argentina: Where Cash Is King And Robberies Are On The Rise

A newsstand owner counts Argentine pesos in Buenos Aires. Many Argentines carry large amounts of cash, saying they do not trust banks. This has contributed to a surge in robberies.
Leo La Valle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 1:10 pm

Leonel Kaplan, an Argentine jazz musician, often has to travel abroad.

Before a recent trip to Europe, he went to a bank in Buenos Aires to change money and then went to get a haircut. Kaplan felt happy and relaxed and took the bus home after what had been an uneventful trip.

That, however, was about to change.

"As I get down from the bus, a motorcycle with two people wearing helmets cuts me off," he recalls. "One gets off and takes out a gun and says to me directly, 'Give me the 500 euros you got in the bank.' "

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Parallels
1:28 am
Thu December 4, 2014

The Man Argentines Love To Hate Is An American Judge

A wall in Buenos Aires, Argentina, displays posters with an image of U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa and a message in Spanish — "Sovereignty or vulture scam" — in support of Argentina's government in its dispute against a U.S. hedge fund, known locally as a "vulture fund."
Natacha Pisarenko AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 11:32 am

For an American, it probably would be a really hard Jeopardy question, but in Argentina, pretty much anyone you stop can answer this: Who is the judge in New York at the center of Argentina's default crisis?

Pablo de Luca, a systems engineer walking along a downtown Buenos Aires street recently responded easily: Judge Thomas P. Griesa.

"Griesa is an enemy for us," he says.

Georgina Segui, an office secretary stopped while she was doing errands, also knew the answer.

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Parallels
10:52 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Uruguay Tries To Tame A 'Monster' Called Cannabis

Outgoing Uruguay President Jose Mujica's face illustrates a T-shirt supporting his new law legalizing marijuana. Uruguay's citizens are voting for Mujica's replacement on Sunday, and the expected winner is a candidate from his party.
Matilde Campodonico AP

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 10:52 am

To gauge international interest in Uruguay's legal cannabis market, spend just a few minutes at a small marijuana shop called Urugrow in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo.

In a period of about 10 minutes, owner Juan Manuel Varela gets a call from Brazil. A man from Canada shows up to see what the market would be for his company, which sells child-safe packaging for marijuana products. Shortly after, two American travelers stop by looking to score weed.

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The Salt
11:59 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Ferran Adria And Fellow Star Chefs Talk Biodiversity In Brazil

Brazilian fruits, including jambu and tapereba (lower right), displayed for a gathering of chefs in Sao Paolo.
Paula Moura for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:24 pm

Culinary superstars gathered in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo this month at an event organized by the Basque Culinary Center. But they weren't there to cook. Instead, the the famous chefs were talking about biodiversity.

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Parallels
5:49 am
Sun November 9, 2014

In Brazil, Race Is A Matter Of Life And Violent Death

Residents look on as Brazilian military police officers patrol Mare, one of the largest complexes of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 30. In one of the world's most violent countries, homicide rates are dropping — but only for whites.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 10:13 am

On June 11 — one day before the World Cup started — two policemen picked up three black teenagers in Rio de Janeiro. The three hadn't committed any crime — but they did have a history of petty offenses.

The officers drove them up to the wooded hills above the city. One was shot in the head and killed. One was shot in the leg and the back and left for dead. Another escaped.

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Parallels
12:15 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Brazil: The Land Of Many Lawyers And Very Slow Justice

Brazil's judicial system faces a massive backlog of cases — and stacks of paperwork. One group of five judges in Sao Paulo is currently handling 1.6 million cases.
G Dettmar National Council of Justice

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 8:23 am

Brazil is teeming with law schools and lawyers. But the wheels of justice in the country turn slowly — most cases take years to resolve and sometimes even decades.

To understand why, we visited the musty offices of Judge Laurence Mattos in Sao Paulo. Mattos' suit is gray; his smile is thin. He seems as if his job has flattened him somehow. He's not very verbose either, and when he does speak, it's in a monotone. For 22 years, Mattos explains succinctly, he's been a judge dealing with financial issues in Brazil. End of story.

What is extraordinary is his workload.

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Parallels
11:19 am
Tue October 7, 2014

In Brazil, Nips And Tucks Don't Raise An Eyebrow

Janet Timal, 47 (right), stands with her niece Thairine, 21. Janet has had a tummy tuck and breast augmentation and helped her niece pay for liposuction. "The ideal is to be able to put something on, to sit down and not have your belly jumping out. Here in Brazil it gets hot, and the less clothes, the better," says Janet.
Jimmy Chalk for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:24 pm

Janet and Jaqueline Timal are 40-something-year-old sisters, and they have what they call a plastic surgery fund.

"I'm always saving money. When I see I've gathered up enough money for another surgery I do it," Jaqueline says.

She has had breast implants put in and also a tummy tuck. She's visiting the plastic surgeon's office again to do a famed Brazilian butt lift, which is the same as a breast lift, but on your backside. Janet has had a tummy tuck; she's now doing her breasts, too. Between them, they will have had five surgeries.

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Latin America
2:58 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Incumbent Rousseff To Face Neves In Brazil's Presidential Runoff

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 10:32 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Latin America
5:57 am
Sun October 5, 2014

Brazil Election Caps A Dramatic Campaign Season

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 11:51 am

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

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Parallels
5:57 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Brazil's Election Culminates A Season Filled With Shocks

Challenger Marina Silva (left) and incumbent Dilma Rousseff face off during a presidential debate in Aparecida, Brazil, in September.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 11:50 am

Brazilians head to the polls Sunday in one of the most exciting elections in recent history there. The presidential race pits two women against each other — a first for the South American country.

Candidate Marina Silva, if elected, would make history by being the first Afro-Brazilian president. But first she must beat incumbent Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who was tortured under the dictatorship in Brazil.

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Parallels
4:01 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

How One Chauffeur Took Down A Corrupt Brazilian Politician

Antonio Cavalcante had a candidate for governor successfully barred after proving he had embezzled millions of dollars while he was a state legislator.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro NPR

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 9:05 am

It's election season in Brazil, and a group of young women hold up placards outside the Cuiaba airport in support of their candidate. The capital of the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso is best known for its cattle ranching and agriculture. It is the Texas of Brazil — big, flat and hot with people who moved here from all over the country as kind of frontiersmen.

For the past two decades, one man has politically loomed above them all. His name is Jose Riva. He's been a politician in the state for 20 years, presiding over the state legislature in one form or another.

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