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

5:18pm

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

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

3:26am

Wed June 12, 2013
Parallels

Honduras Claims Unwanted Title Of World's Murder Capital

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:03 pm

Members of the 18th Street gang announce a truce during a press conference at a prison in San Pedro Sula, on May 28. The gang is involved in drug trafficking that has brought terror to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Loenel Cruz AFP/Getty Images

Latin America is riddled with crime, and no place is more violent than Honduras. It has just 8 million people, but with as many as 20 people killed there every day, it now has the highest murder rate in the world.

It would be easy to blame drug trafficking. Honduras and its Central American neighbors have long served as a favored smuggling corridor for South American cocaine headed north to the U.S.

Read more

6:29am

Sat June 8, 2013
Latin America

Extortion Common For Latin American Businesses

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 1:16 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Latin America has some of the highest crime rates in the world. And that includes extortion, which doesn't just terrorize but also takes a huge economic toll on ordinary citizens. In many Latin American countries, it's costing billions of dollars and hindering development. As part of our series on violence in Latin America, NPR's Carrie Kahn takes us to Mexico, where some estimates say extortion costs more than $30 billion a year. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Extortion costs an estimated $3.2 billion in Mexico annually.]

Read more

5:15pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Parallels

As Stigma Eases, Single Motherhood In Mexico Is On The Rise

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

Maria Carlotta Santa Maria is a single mother in Mexico and is the sole wage earner in her household. Women like her are becoming more common there, and the stigma once associated with having children out of wedlock is fading.
Carrie Kahn NPR

On her daily route delivering laundry in her working-class neighborhood in southern Mexico City, Maria Carlotta Santa Maria, or Mari, as she is known, seems to know everyone: the mailman, the woman on the corner selling salty nuts, and her favorite greetings are for the guys at the corner gas station.

Mari is the kind of person that can make this inhospitable and overwhelming megacity seem almost small and friendly. But as a single mother, she says raising her 10-year-old daughter Jimena alone hasn't been easy.

Read more

7:23pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Latin America

Former Guatemalan Dictator Found Guilty Of Genocide

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, that's the verdict today against Efrain Rios Montt, a former dictator of Guatemala. The general ruled the Central American nation in the early 1980s, one of the bloodiest periods of its 36-year-long civil war. Rios Montt, now 86 years old, was found responsible for atrocities committed against the Maya Ixil indigenous group. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Presiding Judge Yasmin Barrios read the verdict to a packed audience in the expansive Supreme Court auditorium.

Read more

5:24am

Sun May 5, 2013
Latin America

Violence, Hardship Fuel Central American Immigration To U.S.

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 5:03 pm

Honduran Army soldiers patrol streets in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April. Gang violence has many Hondurans fleeing to the U.S.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

William Ordonez and his wife, Carolia, thought that starting a new business in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was a great idea.

But just two weeks after they started selling chips, candy and soda, gang members showed up and ordered them to pay about $25 a week.

"We tried explaining to them that we just opened, we aren't making that much, we can't pay you," Ordonez says.

Read more

5:51am

Sat May 4, 2013
Latin America

On Mexico Trip, Obama Maintains Economic Focus

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Costa Rica today. He's talking with leaders of Central American nations about security and economic trade. Yesterday, the president wrapped up a two-day visit in Mexico, where he tried to steer the focus away from contentious issues like immigration and drug violence. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: During their quick visit, Presidents Obama and Pena Nieto stuck to their focus: the economy.

Read more

4:41am

Fri May 3, 2013
Latin America

Obama Encourages U.S., Mexico To Focus On Economic Relationship

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 12:14 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. President Obama says it is time to focus on the strong economic relationship between the United States and Mexico and not get bogged down on more contentious issues like cooperation on the war on the drugs.

Obama made his comments yesterday as he began a two-day visit to Mexico. He flies on to Costa Rica later today. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

Read more

3:07pm

Mon March 18, 2013
Latin America

Three Decades On, Ex-Guatemalan Leader Faces Genocide Charges

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 9:44 pm

Guatemala's former dictator Efrain Rios Montt arrives in court Jan. 31 in Guatemala City to stand trial on genocide charges. On Tuesday, the prosecution will present its case in the trial.
Moises Castillo AP

In a Guatemalan courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors will present their case against a former military dictator who ruled during one of the bloodiest periods in the Central American nation's 36-year civil war.

Efrain Rios Montt is accused of genocide in the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemala's Indians. Human rights advocates and the families of victims have struggled for years to bring him before the court, and they say it is the first trial in Latin America of a former president in the country where he ruled.

Read more

5:17am

Tue March 12, 2013
Latin America

Mexican President Shifts Focus From Drugs To Progress

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 5:48 am

Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has been in office for three months, and despite his claims that he's fighting drug violence with a new strategy, there are no signs the situation is any better. The president prefers to focus on Mexico's economic potential and has been touring the country, giving pep talks wherever he goes.

5:40am

Sat March 9, 2013
Latin America

Venezuelan Oil Subsidies Still Buoy Neighbors, For Now

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 2:06 pm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Leonel Fernandez, the president of the Dominican Republic, sign an agreement in 2010. The Dominican Republic gets about 40,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela.
Manuel Diaz AP

Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic to his socialist ideals.

The country's vast oil reserves are a key source of economic aid, but the Chavez didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean — many of whom now worry whether their vital oil lifeline is about to be shut off.

Read more

5:33pm

Thu February 28, 2013
The Two-Way

The Pope Emeritus' New Shoes And The Mexican Man Who Makes Them

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:42 am

Armando Martin Dueñas shows replicas of the hand-crafted loafers given to Pope Benedict XVI.
Alfredo Valadez AP

As Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican and his papacy, he slipped out of his trademark red shoes and put on a pair of Mexican leather loafers. The shoes, actually three pairs, two burgundy and one brown, were a gift to the Pope during his trip last year to Mexico.

Read more

3:00am

Thu February 21, 2013
Latin America

Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:47 pm

A woman holds a sign that reads, "We demand justice after two years," during a Jan. 11 protest outside the government palace in Monterrey denouncing the disappearance of family members in the state of Nuevo Leon.
Reuters/Landov

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor.

Read more

5:59pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Latin America

The Mexico-Canada Guest Worker Program: A Model For The U.S.?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:29 pm

Armando Tenorio at his home in Mexico last December. Tenorio spends most of the year working on a blueberry farm in Canada, on a temporary work permit, to support his family in Mexico.
Dominic Bracco II The Washington Post/Getty Images

In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.

But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.

Read more

5:31am

Sun January 27, 2013
Latin America

'Sick And Tired,' Residents In Southern Mexico Defend Themselves

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 10:00 am

Masked and armed men guard a roadblock near the town of Ayutla, Mexico, on Jan. 18. Hundreds of men in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have taken up arms to defend their villages against drug gangs.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

On the main road into the Mexican town of Ayutla, about 75 miles southeast of Acapulco, about a dozen men cradling shotguns and rusted machetes stand guard on a street corner. Their faces are covered in black ski masks.

The men are part of a network of self-defense brigades, formed in the southern state of Guerrero to combat the drug traffickers and organized crime gangs that terrorize residents.

The brigades have set up roadblocks, arrested suspects and are set on running the criminals out of town.

Taking Control

Read more

5:36pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Latin America

Buyback Program Gets Some Guns Off Mexican Streets

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:31 pm

These weapons, in the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City, were handed over by their owners during a government program that accepts weapons in exchange for bicycles, computers, tablets or money.
Marco Ugarte AP

In Mexico, a country plagued by drug cartel violence, the mayor of the capital city is offering residents cash, new bikes and computers in exchange for their guns. He says the buyback program will get dangerous weapons out of the hands of residents and make the streets safer.

But not all mayors in Mexico — where it's extremely difficult to legally buy a gun — are rushing to replicate the program. In fact, in cities overrun by drug traffickers, some say law-abiding citizens should be able to have them for protection.

Read more

4:59am

Tue January 1, 2013
Latin America

Mexico's President Alters Tactics Against Drug Crimes

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 9:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It has been a busy year in Mexico's war on drugs. The administration of former President Felipe Calderon struck major blows to the country's largest cartels, slowing the violence that has claimed more than 50,000 lives.

But the new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, says he'll change tactics. He wants to go after the crime associated with drug trafficking instead of taking down crime bosses. His new attorney general says this is the right strategy, since the number of crime gangs working in the country has grown significantly.

Read more

8:04am

Thu December 27, 2012
Latin America

Maya Struggle With Poverty, Honoring Their Roots

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 9:11 am

The Mayan people of Mexico and Central America received quite a bit of attention this month thanks to a misinterpretation of their calendar. Word spread all over the globe that the ancient culture had predicted the world would end on Dec. 21.

The news attracted tens of thousands of tourists, who flocked to Mayan sites to await the prophecy. Since the world didn't end, the tourists went home. And now the modern-day Mayas go on with their lives marked by high rates of poverty and dependent on migration.

Read more

6:28am

Sat December 1, 2012
Latin America

High Expectations Welcome Mexico's New President

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 10:33 pm

Mexico's new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has made big promises in a country with a mixed record.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

It's Inauguration Day in Mexico, and President Enrique Pena Nieto inherits a country with a mixed record.

Most of Mexico is embroiled in a deadly drug war that has claimed the lives of as many as 50,000 people, but Pena Nieto is also taking over an economy that is doing surprisingly well — thanks, many say, to the outgoing head of state.

Calderon's Violent Legacy

Read more

5:09am

Tue November 13, 2012
Latin America

Azerbaijan Leader's Statue In Mexico Draws Protests

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the most prominent park in Mexico City, you can find statues to international heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and now Heydar Aliyev. He was a Soviet-era autocrat in Central Asia. The late leader's government paid for the statue and restoration of a nearby plaza. And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, that's created quite a stir in the Mexican capital.

Read more

4:21pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Law

Pot Legalization Could Cut Deeply Into Cartel Profits

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

As Barb mentioned, this week, Colorado and Washington State passed measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. We're going to hear reaction now from the country where much of America's pot is grown, Mexico. The sale, growth, and use of marijuana there remains illegal. And Mexico's incoming government fears these new laws will force them to rethink how they fight cross-border pot smuggling. But others think the measures could help fight narco-trafficking and cut into the cartels' power.

Read more

5:01pm

Fri October 12, 2012
Space

Space Shuttle Endeavour Rolls To Its Resting Place

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. They're calling it Mission 26. After 25 trips in orbit, Space Shuttle Endeavour is making its final journey, this one through the streets of Los Angeles. For the next two days, the shuttle will be towed from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in downtown L.A. where it will become a museum piece. NPR's Carrie Kahn caught up with Endeavour along its route today.

Read more

5:55am

Sat September 29, 2012
Around the Nation

L.A. Sheriff Rebuked For Alleged Inmate Abuse

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:23 pm

County Sheriff Lee Baca faces what may be the toughest fight of his 14-year political career.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Los Angeles County's sheriff is under fire. A blue-ribbon commission issued a scathing report Friday accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of failing to address long-standing allegations of inmate abuse in his jails. The accusations include deputies beating inmates, cover-ups and a persistent culture of violence.

The sheriff has been able to weather many storms during his 14-year tenure, but this may be the toughest fight of his political career.

Read more

3:36am

Tue September 18, 2012
The Salt

It's No Yolk: Mexicans Cope With Egg Shortage, Price Spikes

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 8:22 pm

There is a new crisis in Mexico. It's not the ongoing drug war or a plunge in the peso: It's eggs.

Read more

5:45am

Thu September 13, 2012
World

Anti-Islam Filmmaker Still A Mystery

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So we've heard the film clips. A bigger question is who is really producing that film. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: The movie was shot in Los Angeles County sometime last August, under the name "Desert Warriors." It's full of choppy dialogue, bad acting and scenes of a buffoonish Muhammad.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And this shall be the first Muslim animal. His name is Yafour. No, Yafour does not like the women.

Read more

Pages