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.

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12:01am

Mon September 12, 2011
Africa

Fears: Terrorists Could Land Looted Gadhafi Weapons

In Libya, there's growing concern over the vast arsenals of weapons that have flooded on to the streets since Moammar Gadhafi's ouster. Warehouses of surface-to-air missiles, mortars and anti-tank mines have been looted.

Soon after the rebels overran the headquarters of Gadhafi's much feared Khamis Brigade on the south side of Tripoli, rebels and ordinary citizens scavenged through a bombed-out warehouse on the base.

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4:00am

Thu September 8, 2011
Africa

Tripoli Residents Start Life Over Without Gadhafi

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host:

And let's turn now to Libya, where the capital Tripoli is rapidly rebounding from the fighting that ousted Moammar Gadhafi from power. Less than three weeks after the rebels launched their assault on the city, shops are re-opening, the water and electricity are back on, and garbage is being picked up. Tripoli's new city officials are also working to re-establish security. NPR's Jason Beaubien is in the city and sent us this report.

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4:00am

Tue September 6, 2011
Africa

Libyan Rebels Threaten To Invade Bani Walid

Rebels in Libya have encircled the pro-Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid and are threatening to attack the town. Bani Walid is one of only a handful of towns still controlled by Gadhafi forces.

5:58am

Mon September 5, 2011
NPR Story

Rebels Tighten Hold On Gadhafi Stronghold

Originally published on Mon September 5, 2011 5:58 am

Rebel forces in Libya have surrounded the town of Bani Walid, southeast of the capital Tripoli. The rebels are still hoping to negotiate a peaceful takeover of the town, a stronghold of embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi, and avoid further civilian casualties. But Gadhafi loyalists are refusing to surrender.

4:08pm

Thu September 1, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Americans Emerge After Months in Gadhafi's Prisons

Matthew VanDyke, a freelance journalist from Baltimore, was held in solitary confinement in Libya for five months before he was freed last week. At left, he's shown in February, before he went to Libya, at right, after his release.
AP (left) and Jason Beaubien NPR

Last week, Matthew VanDyke, a freelance journalist and travel writer from Baltimore, went from solitary confinement in one of Moammar Gadhafi's most notorios prisons to one of Tripoli's most luxurious hotels.

VanDyke acknowledges that in early March, shortly after the uprising against Gadhafi began, he arrived in Libya in order to help the rebels.

"I was here to do whatever I could to help the revolution and I'll leave it at that," said VanDyke, who is now a guest at the Corinthia Hotel in the Libyan capital.

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4:00am

Wed August 31, 2011
Africa

Libyan Rebels Ask Police To Return To Tripoli

Libya's Transitional National Council is calling on police to return to the streets of Tripoli. The police fled as rebels took control of the capital. Despite being associated with Moammar Gadhafi's regime, and no money to pay them, some police are returning to work.

4:01pm

Sat August 27, 2011
Africa

Humanitarian Situation In Tripoli Increasingly Dire

Though rebels have consolidated control over Tripoli, life in the Libyan capital grows more difficult by the day. Residents scramble just to get basic supplies, such as food and water.

The city's tap water normally comes from what Moammar Gadhafi touted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the Great Man-Made River. The system channels water from deep wells in the desert to Tripoli and other parts of Western Libya.

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5:01am

Thu August 4, 2011
Latin America

Business Booms On Mexican Border Despite Violence

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 9:01 am

Mexican federal police man a checkpoint in downtown Juarez, Mexico, on July 13. Despite being hard hit by drug violence, Mexican border cities remain attractive to foreign businesses seeking cheap labor and easy access to the U.S.
Jesus Alcazar AFP/Getty Images

Over the last four years of the Mexican drug war, the country's northern border has become one of the most violent parts of the country. Yet recently that same part of Mexico has been booming economically.

The duty-free maquiladora assembly plants along the border are rapidly adding jobs, and exports to the United States are reaching record levels.

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12:01am

Thu July 21, 2011
Latin America

At Border, Teacher Becomes Unwitting Drug Smuggler

Ana Isela Martinez Amaya, a teacher at an El Paso school, spent more than a month in a Juarez jail after Mexican police found drugs in her car at the Mexico-U.S. border crossing. But FBI agents uncovered a complex drug operation that involved tracking Ford cars and copying their keys. Their investigation ultimately led to charges against Martinez being dropped.
Jesus Alcazar AFP/Getty Images

For Ana Isela Martinez Amaya, May 26 began like any other school morning.

Martinez got up at 5:45 a.m. and got her 6-year-old daughter ready for school. At 6:30, the two of them left their house in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in a tan 2003 Ford Focus. They headed toward the Stanton Street Bridge crossing into Texas.

Martinez is a teacher at a bilingual charter school in El Paso. She had just been named the Teacher of the Year at her school.

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7:24am

Sun July 10, 2011
Reporter's Notebook

Fear, God And Family Pervade Migrants' Journey

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:40 am

Migrants ride on top of a northern bound train toward the U.S.-Mexico border in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, in March. Migrants crossing Mexico to get to the U.S. have increasingly become targets of criminal gangs who kidnap them to obtain ransom money.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

The number of migrants from Central America and Mexico who are trying to cross illegally into the United States has dropped dramatically over the last few years, in part because the trip has become incredibly dangerous. NPR's Jason Beaubien recently traveled along much of the migrant trail in Mexico. He sent this reporter's notebook.

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4:06pm

Fri July 8, 2011
Reporter's Notebook

Dreams And Danger: Notes From The Migrant Trail

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:40 am

NPR reporter Jason Beaubien walks on railroad tracks while reporting a story about the dangers that face Central American migrants in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico.
David Rochkind for NPR

NPR's Jason Beaubien has traveled from Central America through Mexico in recent weeks, following a route that many migrants take trying to reach the U.S. It's a journey that has grown increasingly dangerous as some of Mexico's most brutal drug cartels strengthen their control over the smuggling and extortion of migrants. He sent these reflections from the migrant trail.

Flores, Guatemala

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12:46pm

Fri July 8, 2011
Latin America

Brutal Cartels Make Crossing U.S. Border Even Riskier

Originally published on Wed July 20, 2011 3:52 pm

Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants attempting to cross are at risk of being kidnapped, extorted or even killed by drug gangs.
John Moore Getty Images

Last in a three-part series.

For many migrants trying to reach the U.S. from Mexico, the border region is a terrifying, lawless place, and their fear is often justified. Things are so bad in Matamoros, a border city just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, that last month the city's police were stripped of their weapons, ordered off the streets and replaced by soldiers.

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12:06pm

Thu July 7, 2011
Latin America

Drug Cartels Prey On Migrants Crossing Mexico

Mexican soldiers have taken control of the police department in downtown Matamoros, in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Second in a three-part series.

If there's one place that has come to illustrate the perils confronting the hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing Mexico in an attempt to reach the United States, it's San Fernando in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

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3:34pm

Wed July 6, 2011
Latin America

Atop A Train, Migrants Begin Dangerous Trek To U.S.

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:41 am

Migrants ride on top of a freight train in the Mexican state of Tabasco. They'll hop trains for days, possibly even weeks, before getting to the U.S. border.
David Rochkind for NPR

First in a three-part series.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants illegally cross from Mexico into the United States. Some of them have traveled thousands of miles to reach American soil. The journey, which was always perilous, has become even more dangerous as Mexican drug cartels strengthen their control over the smuggling, kidnapping and extortion of migrants. In 2010, hundreds of migrants went missing or were killed in Mexico. More than 20,000 were kidnapped.

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3:00pm

Fri June 24, 2011
Latin America

Mexico Replaces Police With Soldiers In Border Area

Mexican soldiers have taken control of the police department in downtown Matamoros, in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Jason Beaubien NPR

In Mexico, one controversial part of President Felipe Calderon's war against the drug cartels has been the use of the military to fight organized crime. Now in the border state of Tamaulipas, the Mexican army is taking over full control of the police departments in some of the state's most troubled cities.

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4:00am

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.

3:34pm

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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8:32am

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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12:01am

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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12:01am

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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4:11pm

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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7:50am

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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7:34am

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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3:39pm

Wed April 20, 2011
World

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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3:00pm

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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4:18pm

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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