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.

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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.]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5:14am

Wed August 15, 2012
Around the Nation

San Fernando's Financial Crisis Burdened By Scandal

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 7:07 am

The small Southern California city of San Fernando is facing a seven-figure fiscal crisis. But the town has been unable to address its money issues because the romantic entanglements of the city leaders are dominating the agenda.

6:39am

Mon July 23, 2012
U.S.

Aurora Shooting Survivor Focuses On 'Positivity'

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's hear some of the sounds from last night in Aurora, Colorado. That's where thousands of people gathered to remember victims of last Friday's shooting. Twelve people were killed. And the explosives rigged in the suspect's apartment suggest it could have been far worse.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

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6:08am

Sun July 22, 2012
The Aurora Theater Shootings

Suspect's Web Of Traps Part Of Calculated Plan

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 2:43 pm

Police surround the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting, on Friday in Aurora, Colo.
Chris Schneider Getty Images

Authorities in Aurora, Colo., on Saturday cleared scores of explosive devices from the apartment of the man suspected of killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 at a local movie theater.

Experts spent hours dismantling the labyrinth of trip wires and incendiary devices that filled the home of the suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes.

Yellow police tape stretched for blocks surrounding the apartment complex where Holmes lived. Ambulances, fire engines and police cars filled parking lots and streets.

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6:02am

Sat July 21, 2012
The Aurora Theater Shootings

From Top Student To Top Suspect: A Mystery Between

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:49 am

A photo of James Holmes released by the University of Colorado Denver.
University of Colorado Denver

Police are still not saying what motivated the gunman who walked into a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater, shot 12 people dead and injured more than 50. The shooter was well-armed and believed to have acted alone.

Police immediately apprehended the suspect, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, outside the multiplex. Until recently, Holmes was a student in a graduate program at the University of Colorado, Denver.

The Gunman's Entrance

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5:53am

Sat June 30, 2012
Latin America

Youthful Candiate Favored To Be Mexico's President

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:26 pm

A man walks past a campaign sign for Enrique Pena Nieto, of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party. Mexicans vote for their next president on Sunday.
Esteban Felix AP

As Mexicans prepare to elect a new president Sunday, the clear front-runner is Enrique Pena Nieto, who is seeking to return his PRI party to power after 12 years.

The PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before being ousted in 2000. Most polls show Pena Nieto with a comfortable double-digit lead in the race.

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1:46am

Fri June 29, 2012
Latin America

Mexican Leftist Faces Uphill Task In Presidential Bid

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 5:00 am

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party, waves at supporters during the closing rally of his campaign at the main Zocalo plaza in Mexico City on Wednesday.
Esteban Felix AP

With just two days left before Mexicans elect a new president, polls show that the candidate of the former ruling party is poised to win the race by a wide margin. But there are those who don't want to see a return of the PRI, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years until 2000 with a mix of corruption and cronyism. They say their best hope is leftist PRD party candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

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4:20pm

Tue June 26, 2012
Latin America

Mexico Picks A President Amid Drug War, Weak Economy

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:06 pm

PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto campaigns in Mexico City. Pena Nieto is heavily favored in Mexico's presidential election on Sunday. He says his party, which has been out of power for 12 years after ruling for seven decades, has changed its ways.
John Moore Getty Images

The clear front-runner in Mexico's poll on Sunday is Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran Mexico for 71 years until ousted from power in 2000.

Pena Nieto, 45, insists his party has changed its old authoritarian ways, and he's promised a new approach in the drug war, while saying he will take care of the country's failing education system and boost the salaries of hard-working Mexicans.

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