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

5:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
The Salt

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 3:23 pm

A worker dries coffee beans at a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in February 2013.
Moises Castillo AP

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.

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4:57pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Parallels

Deportation Threat Doesn't Diminish Young Migrants' U.S. Hopes

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 11:23 pm

Ezequiel Vazquez and his 15-year-old son, Ilbaro, leave a government-run shelter in Guatemala City. Ilbaro was deported from the U.S. after spending six months in a Texas detention facility. He returned with a U.S.- issued duffel bag full of clothes, shoes, books and toys.
Carrie Kahn NPR

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.

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3:51am

Mon June 23, 2014
Code Switch

Some Mexico Fans Feel Unfairly Targeted For World Cup Chants

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:20 pm

Mexico fans cheer during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group A match between Brazil and Mexico on June 17.
Miguel Tovar Getty Images

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.

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7:40pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Parallels

American Detained In Honduras: 'We Came With An Open Heart'

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:49 pm

Robert Mayne is being held in a Honduran prison with five other Americans on suspicion of smuggling weapons into the country.
Michael McCabe

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.

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4:13pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Latin America

For Americans Held In Honduras, Daily Fines And Decrepit Conditions

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:28 pm

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

3:53am

Mon May 26, 2014
Parallels

Mexico City's Campaign To Encourage Breast-Feeding Backfires

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:35 pm

A Mexico City breast-feeding campaigned used posters featuring topless celebrities. At least "La Barbie," a female boxer (shown here), had her boxing gloves on.
Via Latin Times

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.

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4:16pm

Mon May 19, 2014
The Salt

With Cartels On The Run, Mexican Lime Farmers Keep More Of The Green

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:54 pm

Workers sort through key limes at a packaging house in Apatzingan, Michoacan. More than 90 percent of limes imported into the U.S. come from Mexico.
Carrie Kahn NPR

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.

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3:22am

Wed March 26, 2014
The Salt

In Mexico And U.S., Lime Lovers Feel Squeezed By High Prices

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:11 pm

A worker unloads a truck full of Mexican limes at a citrus packing plant in La Ruana, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

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.

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4:22pm

Mon March 10, 2014
Latin America

Drug Cartel Boss Dies A Second Time

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 9:34 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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4:00pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Latin America

Ruthless Mexican Drug Trafficker Was A Robin Hood In Home State

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:39 pm

The opening to one of the many tunnels that authorities discovered were used by Guzman as escape routes. The neighborhood of La Libertad is known for its complex drainage system, which provided easy access in and out of various safe houses.
Encarni Pindado for NPR

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.

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4:58am

Wed February 19, 2014
Latin America

Trade Issues Expected To Dominate Obama's Trip To Mexico

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

And I'm Renee Montagne. President Obama arrives in Mexico today to meet with Mexico's president and Canada's prime minister. It's been dubbed the meeting of the Three Amigos. The one day summit of North America's leaders will focus on trade and commerce, but also on the agenda: security, energy, border issues and immigration. NPR's Carrie Kahn is in Toluca near Mexico City, where the summit begins later today. Good morning.

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3:21am

Thu February 6, 2014
Parallels

Tijuana Prisoner: I Was Forced To Dig Drug Tunnel To San Diego

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:32 am

A Mexican guard at a prison in Tijuana where 17 men are being held on charges they were digging a drug-smuggling tunnel from Tijuana to the U.S. border at San Diego. The men say they were kidnapped and forced to do the work.
Special to NPR

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.

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3:31am

Thu January 30, 2014
The Edge

'Mariachi Olympic Prince' Takes Glamour To Sochi Ski Slopes

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 8:38 am

Mexican-born Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, a German prince, plans to ski in style for the Winter Olympics.
Courtesy of Alex Jorio

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.

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11:35am

Sat January 18, 2014
Latin America

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:20 pm

Civilian militia members stand guard in the town of Nueva Italia on Monday. Since a government crackdown last weekend, militia groups say they have laid down their weapons against drug traffickers.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

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.

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5:12pm

Mon January 13, 2014
Latin America

Mexican Self-Defense Leader Recovers Under Threat From Cartels

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It was a violent weekend in Mexico's western state of Michoacan. Clashes erupted between so-called civilian defense groups and the Knights Templar drug cartel. The civilian defense group says Mexico's security forces are not protecting people from cartel kidnappings, murder and extortion. Among these groups, one man in Michoacan has risen to become a popular leader. He had immigrated to California but recently returned to his hometown. He found it had been overtaken by criminals and drug traffickers.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

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4:26pm

Fri January 3, 2014
Business

How NAFTA Helped The Mexican Billionaires' Club

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 3:50 pm

Carlos Slim Helu (left) talks with Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine. The magazine lists the Mexican telecom mogul as the world's richest man, with a net worth of $73 billion.
Jeremy Piper AP

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated, supporters promised it would increase the income of Mexicans. And the middle class did grow in Mexico over the past two decades. But it's clear that Mexico's ultrarich are among its big winners.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Latin America

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:52 pm

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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4:32pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Latin America

Whoever Honduras Elects President Faces Tough Road, Broke Country

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 6:05 pm

Hondurans went to the polls this Sunday to elect a new president. The Central American country has a whole host of problems to deal with, including the highest levels of violence in the world and increased drug cartel activity. Most pressing, though, the new leader will inherit a failing economy. Honduras is broke. It just borrowed, for the first time, $500 million on the international bond market, but that wasn't even enough to bail the country out of its devastating financial troubles.

5:07am

Mon November 25, 2013
Latin America

Ruling Party Leads Election Vote Totals In Honduras

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Central American country of Honduras held a presidential election yesterday. Honduras suffers from extreme poverty and it has one of the world's highest murder rates. The nation's politics have been dominated by elites and the military. Now, so far the vote count appears to favor the candidates from the right wing ruling party, but this election offered a little more choice than usual. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.

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8:23am

Sun November 24, 2013
Latin America

Amid Crime And Poverty, Hondurans Go To The Polls

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 1:50 pm

Honduran presidential candidate Xiomara Castro greets supporters during a campaign rally in Tegucigalpa last week.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Voters go to the polls in Honduras to elect a new president on Sunday. It's the first open election with all parties participating since a coup overthrew the left-leaning government in 2009.

The elections come at a difficult time for the longtime U.S. ally. Two-thirds of its people live in poverty, unemployment is soaring and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world due to drug traffickers and gang violence.

The Gang Tax

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4:33am

Fri November 22, 2013
Latin America

Hondurans To Elect New President On Sunday

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This Sunday, a presidential election will be held in Honduras. Nine candidates are vying to lead the Central American country. The top two contenders are the candidate from the ruling party that took power in a 2009 coup and the wife of the former president who was deposed in that coup. Crime and the economy are the big issues in a country with the world's highest homicide rate, rampant drug and gang violence, and a government that's mired in debt. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from the Honduran capital.

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5:07pm

Wed November 13, 2013
Parallels

Americans Might Soon Get To Buy Mexican Beachfront, Border Land

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:01 pm

Rosarito, Mexico, near the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Baja California, is home to thousands of Americans who live there full or part time, many in properties with long-term leases. A proposed change to Mexican law would allow foreigners outright ownership of Mexican beachfront properties.
Guillermo Arias AP

For the first time in nearly a century, Mexico is considering letting foreigners own land outright along the coast and near international borders. Right now, only Mexicans can hold the title to land in the so-called restricted zone. The president and many lawmakers want to relax the ownership laws in hopes of spurring a wave of foreign investment in the country.

But others are crying foul and reviving nationalistic fears of foreign invasion and domination that incited enactment of the law so many years ago.

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3:09am

Thu October 24, 2013
Parallels

Following Bloomberg's Lead, Mexico Aims To Fight Fat

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:10 am

A street vendor fries food for lunch customers in Mexico City on July 10. Mexico has now surpassed the United States in levels of adult obesity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre AP

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

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5:52pm

Thu October 3, 2013
Latin America

Trade Dispute With Mexico Over 'Dolphin-Safe' Tuna Heats Up

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:38 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Look closely at just about any can of tuna sold in the U.S. and you'll find a tiny stamp. Now for more than 20 years, that stamp has certified that no dolphins were harmed or killed when the tuna was caught. For nearly that long, Mexico and the U.S. have been fighting over that label. Mexico says it's made great strides protecting dolphins and that the U.S. now unfairly blocks Mexican tuna from its markets.

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5:18pm

Sat September 28, 2013
World

Mexican State's Anti-Corruption Plan: Hire Female Traffic Cops

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:25 pm

Dressed in the black and neon orange colors of the new transit police, these women are slated to replace a force of notoriously corrupt traffic cops in Mexico State.
Edith Chapin NPR

In the central State of Mexico, officials are trying a new approach to fight corruption.

Authorities have hired hundreds of women and put them in charge of issuing all traffic violations. They're trying to crack down on the famous mordida, or bribe — a favorite among Mexico's crooked traffic cops.

Authorities say women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men. But the plan has run into a few snags.

Choosing Female Cops

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3:06am

Tue September 3, 2013
Latin America

Pena Nieto Encourages Mexicans To Embrace Change

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 7:23 pm

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto presents his first annual report to the nation during a ceremony before the Congress at his presidential residence in Mexico City on Monday.
Omar Torres AFP/Getty Images

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto says his nation is undergoing a major change — one his country should not fear. Pena Nieto gave an upbeat assessment of his nine-month-old administration in his first State of the Union address on Monday.

Despite his positive review of Mexico's condition, the new president is dealing with chaotic protests in the capital, intractable levels of violence and a less favorable economic outlook than predicted.

He campaigned on the promise of creating a modern and prosperous Mexico. And according to his appraisal, he's done just that.

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4:50pm

Mon September 2, 2013
The Salt

Tlacoyos: A Mexican Grilled Snack That Tempted The Conquistadors

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 2:10 pm

Tlacoyos can be filled with beans, potatoes, mushrooms or cheese and are often topped with grilled cactus, onions, cilantro, and salsa.
Jasmine Garsd for NPR

For the last in a summer series of grilled food from around the world, we head to Mexico, where a small doughy treat is found everywhere from street corner grills to high-end restaurants. It's called a tlacoyo (pronounced tla-COY-yo) and although it may sound novel, it's an ancient food that's older than Hernan Cortes.

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5:02am

Tue August 27, 2013
Latin America

Thousands Of Striking Teachers Disrupt Mexico City

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:17 am

The teachers are protesting education changes that would institute evaluations and reduce the power of unions in hiring educators. It's common practice for teachers in Mexico to buy and sell tenured positions. The protests in Mexico City have caused traffic mayhem, and at one point blocked access to the international airport.

10:37am

Fri July 5, 2013
Parallels

In Honduran Crimes, Police Are Seen As Part Of The Problem

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 6:13 pm

A soldier watches over public transport users during an operation in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April. The crime rate is soaring in Honduras, and corrupt and ineffective law enforcement is widely seen as part of the problem.
Rafael Ochoa Xinhua/Landov

In the fight against drug trafficking, Central America has become a large recipient of U.S. aid, receiving nearly half a billion dollars over the past seven years. The money is being spent on strengthening police and military forces that are outgunned by the narcotics traffickers.

The goal is to repeat the kind of success that took place over time in places like Colombia.

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1:52pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Parallels

Mass Kidnapping Puts Mexican Legal System On Trial

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:00 pm

Images from posters made by relatives show 10 of the 12 young people kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City on May 26. No one has claimed responsibility for the brazen abduction.
Marco Ugarte AP

Josephina Garcia Rodriguez and Leticia Ponce Ramos sip coffee and console each other at a restaurant in front of Mexico City's prosecutor's office. They're about to head into a meeting with the lead investigator in the case of their kidnapped sons.

"We're going on three weeks since they were kidnapped," Garcia says. "It's been some difficult days, really hard for us mothers. We just want our sons back home with us."

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