Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Mexico City Correspondent. In his current job, he covers Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Beaubien joined NPR's Foreign Desk in 2002 after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked throughout sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. He reported on poverty on the world's poorest continent, HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, all-night acapella contests in South Africa, Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea. He covered the famines and wars of Africa, but also its inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates.

Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.

In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.

From Mexico City he's filed stories on politics in Cuba, hurricanes in Haiti, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war. For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, he drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.

He grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at KQED-FM in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.



Wed June 22, 2011
NPR Story

Mexico Captures Reputed Head Of Drug Cartel

Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Jason Beaubien about the capture of one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords.


Fri June 17, 2011
Latin America

Mexico's Red Hot Boxing Star Ready To Defend Title

Saul Alvarez of Mexico (right) lands a punch before knocking out opponent Carlos Baldomir of Argentina at a fight in 2010. In March, Alvarez became the WBC super welterweight champion, and will defend the title Saturday in his hometown of Guadalajara.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

On Saturday night, a young boxer who's being billed in Mexico as the sport's next big superstar takes to the ring. Saul Alvarez is only 20 years old, but he's currently the World Boxing Council's super welterweight champion.

He will be defending his title in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. Alvarez turned professional at the age of 15 and since then hasn't lost a single fight.

A Rising Star

They call Alvarez "El Canelo," or cinnamon, for his bright red hair. And over the last year, his career has been on fire.

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Sun June 12, 2011
Latin America

Juarez Police Chief: Drug Cartels Aren't Invincible

The new top cop in Mexico's deadliest city, Juarez, gained notoriety for using an iron fist to reduce the violence in Tijuana's streets. And Julian Leyzaola now plans to use that fist to beat down the drug cartels in Juarez.

On his first day, thugs left Leyzaola a greeting on a tortured, duct-taped body. It said, "Welcome to Juarez, Julian Leyzaola. This is your first little gift and it's going to keep happening." It was signed, the Sinaloan cartel.

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Wed June 1, 2011
Latin America

El Salvador Fears Ties Between Cartels, Street Gangs

Originally published on Thu June 2, 2011 9:52 am

Barrio La Victoria Ciudad Delgado in San Salvador, El Salvador, is controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha gang. A gang leader says he sees the group as a social organization — one that provides services, like water, and protects "civilians."
Jason Beaubien NPR

Last of a three-part series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

The drug war in Mexico is having ramifications throughout the hemisphere, as Mexican cartels seek new markets and smuggling routes for their products.

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Tue May 31, 2011
Latin America

El Salvador Grapples With Upswing In Drug Traffic

Members of the Salvadoran police squad "The Hawks" search suspected gang members in San Salvador.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Second in a three-part series. Read Part 1.

As Mexico's drug cartels come under sustained attack by President Felipe Calderon's forces at home, several of them have started outsourcing. Los Zetas and the powerful Sinaloan cartel have been expanding their operations in Central America, where security forces often lack the resources to confront them.

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Thu May 26, 2011
Latin America

Mexican Cartels Spread Violence To Central America

First of a three-part series

Mexico's drug cartels are carving out new territory in Central America, in some of the poorest and most fragile countries in the hemisphere.

Mexican gangs are cutting clandestine airstrips in the Guatemalan jungle, laundering money in El Salvador and unloading boatloads of cocaine on the coast of Honduras.

The World Bank recently warned that narcotics trafficking poses one of the greatest threats to development in the region.

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Sat May 14, 2011
Latin America

World's Richest Man Opens Flashy Museum In Mexico

The Soumaya Museum in Mexico City was designed by Carlos Slim's son-in-law and houses Slim's collection of more than 65,000 pieces. It is dominated by works from European and Mexican artists.
Walter Shintani LatinContent/Getty Images

In Mexico City, the world's richest man has just opened a new museum to showcase his extensive European and Mexican art collection. Telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim calls the museum a gift to his country.

The glimmering, modern building is already being hailed as a new landmark in Mexico's capital, but it is also being criticized as the pet project of a man who knows more about business than art.

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Sun May 1, 2011
Latin America

War Turning Mexican Kids Into Targets — Or Killers

In Mexico's drug war, children are getting increasingly sucked into the violent narcotics trade. Middle-school-age kids are working for the cartels as couriers, lookouts and even assassins. Others are being killed, injured or orphaned in the crossfire.

In the past, drug violence was usually contained between gangs and security forces, but that's changed. Recently, even toddlers have been targeted in attacks involving military-style assault weapons.

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Wed April 20, 2011

Mexicans Hope For Miracles In Staging Of The Passion

In the Mexican capital this week residents are staging an elaborate re-creation of Jesus Christ's final days on Earth — an Easter tradition in one of the world's most Catholic countries.

For more than a century and a half, the Passion of Christ has been performed each year in the streets of the impoverished Mexico City neighborhood of Ixtapalapa.

Monday night, Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, Lazarus rose from the dead, and a few loaves of bread multiplied to feed the hungry masses. Now preparations are being made for the Last Supper.

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Wed April 13, 2011
Latin America

Mexicans Look For Missing After Mass Graves Found

Mexican President Felipe Calderon's administration is vowing to bring the full weight of the government to bear on killers who have been operating in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

The declaration comes after at least 116 bodies were discovered in mass graves over the last week in the town of San Fernando. It's the same town where 72 migrants were found assassinated last August.

Investigators say the latest victims are mainly Mexicans who may have been kidnapped recently in the area.

A Painful Search

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Sat March 26, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Japanese School A Blessing And A Curse For Students

In Japan, efforts to gain control of the crippled nuclear reactor continue at the same time that hundreds of thousands of people are living in shelters and millions of people are attempting to restart their normal lives.

Officials in Japan now put the confirmed death toll at more than 10,000. Most of the deaths were due to the massive tsunami that pounded the Japanese coast.

Some of the dead are parents and students swept out of a schoolyard in the coastal city of Ishinomaki.

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