Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of health issues across the world including the mobilization of massive circumcision drives in Kenya; how Botswana, with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, has managed to provide free, life-saving drugs to almost all who need them; and why Brazil's once model HIV/AIDS program is seen in decline.

Prior to moving into this assignment in 2012, Beaubien spent four years a NPR foreign correspondent covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. From his base in Mexico City, Beaubien 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, Beaubien 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.

In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.

During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as the 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.

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

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Latin America
1:11 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Can Vaccines Break Cholera's Deadly Hold On Haiti?

Haitians suffering from cholera symptoms rest at the treatment center in Mirebalais, a dusty town north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last June. The cholera epidemic in Haiti began in Mirebalais, believed to be the result of overflowing bathrooms from a nearby U.N. compound.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:05 am

The cholera outbreak in Haiti is currently the worst ongoing episode in the world.

Over the past 15 months, it has sickened more than half a million people and killed roughly 7,000. The bacteria has now spread throughout the Caribbean island, and medical experts say it will be around for years to come.

Partners in Health, a Boston-based nonprofit, is planning to launch an unprecedented cholera vaccination campaign to try to curb the outbreak — but it faces many challenges, including a shortage of the vaccine.

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Latin America
10:01 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Drought Ravages Farms Across Wide Swath Of Mexico

A vulture picks at a dead steer. Ranchers say many cattle have died because of the drought that has ravaged much of Mexico.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 2:51 am

In the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, 76-year-old Genaro Rodarte Huizar rides his donkey along a dry riverbed. On his left is a dried out pasture; on his right is what used to be a cornfield; now it's just long furrows of gray, dusty dirt.

Rodarte says that for the past two years, the crops that he's planted here have failed. Normally, he plants beans and corn to feed his family, and oats to sell. He says he hasn't harvested anything because the land is too dry and there's no water.

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Latin America
10:01 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

State-Of-The-Art Hospital Offers Hope For Haiti

A worker pushes a wheelbarrow past the new National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, on Jan. 10. When it opens this summer, the 320-bed facility will be Haiti's largest hospital and provide services and a level of care well beyond what's currently available.
Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 8:04 am

Even before the devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti's public health care system was perhaps the worst in the Western Hemisphere. Then the quake knocked down clinics, killed medical workers and severely damaged the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

Now, the Boston-based group Partners in Health has set out to build a world-class teaching hospital in what used to be a rice field in the Haitian countryside.

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Latin America
4:33 am
Sun January 22, 2012

Church Broadcasts Hope; Haitians Flock Post-Quake

Pastor Junior Antoine on stage at Shalom Tabernacle of Glory evangelical church, in front of a congregation that grew rapidly after the earthquake two years ago.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:24 am

On Jan. 12, for the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake, thousands of people flocked to the Shalom Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The "church" is just a plywood stage under a patchwork of tattered tarps.

The crowd was so large that it spilled down a muddy hill toward a tent camp for earthquake victims. Most of the singing, swaying congregation were so far away they couldn't even see the podium.

The evangelical mission now claims to have more than 50,000 members and one of the most popular radio stations in Haiti.

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Reporter's Notebook
1:25 pm
Sun January 15, 2012

Haiti: Reflections On Overcoming A Year Of Disaster

On Thursday, Haiti marked the second anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake. NPR's Jason Beaubien was back in the Caribbean nation for the quake memorials and he sent us this reporter's notebook about covering Haiti over the last few years.

Haiti is a land haunted by ghosts. My translator, Jean Pierre, won't shut up about the ghosts. He points toward some men plodding up the dusty street hauling huge bags of charcoal on their heads.

"Zombies," he declares. "Dead dudes are everywhere."

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Latin America
1:19 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Ordinary Life Resurrected, Slowly, In Haiti

A storefront in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is brightly painted with a message welcoming President Michel Martelly into power. Two years after a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the Haitian capital, progress is palpable.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:28 pm

In Port-au-Prince, a radio blares from speakers in front of a guy selling pirated CDs on Delmas, a main street in the Haitian capital. Women sitting along the side of the road hawk everything from vegetables to cigarettes to pharmaceuticals. Overloaded tap-taps, the pickup trucks that serve as the main form of public transportation here, chug up the hill.

The scene is one that's remarkable for being unremarkable: Though it occurred this week, it could just as easily have been Port-au-Prince two years ago, before a massive earthquake destroyed much of the capital.

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Art & Design
10:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Unusual Diego Rivera Work Restored in Mexico City

Diego Rivera's fountain of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc is a pumping station in Mexico City's municipal water system. It fell into disrepair for some time, but has recently been restored.
David Hiser National Geographic

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:54 am

The Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted in New York City, San Francisco, Detroit, Europe and the Soviet Union. But some of Rivera's most famous murals and most unusual projects are found in Mexico City.

In Mexico City, Rivera did far more than just paint. He collected pre-Hispanic pottery and indigenous folk art. And he experimented with sculpture and architecture.

And between 1950 and 1952, Rivera built a giant tiled fountain to the Aztec rain god Tlaloc as part of an overhaul of Mexico City's municipal water system.

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Latin America
4:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

In A Drug War, Mexican Forces Accused Of Abuses

Federal policemen escort the armored car carrying a member of Los Zetas drug cartel on June 17. The security forces have been accused of abuses in the fight against the drug cartels.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

In Mexico, the last five years of President Felipe Calderon's drug war have been marked by brutal violence, unsolved kidnappings and tens of thousands of deaths. Most of violence has come from the drug gangs, but some of these atrocities have been committed by the Mexican military and police.

Human rights groups say that as state security forces battle the drug cartels, they've tortured, abducted and killed criminal suspects and even innocent civilians.

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Latin America
12:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Mexico Busts Drug Cartels' Private Phone Networks

Mexican soldiers stand guard behind communication radios seized from alleged drug-cartel members in Veracruz, Mexico, Nov. 23.
Lucas Castro AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican military has recently broken up several secret telecommunications networks that were built and controlled by drug cartels so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces.

A network that was dismantled just last week provided cartel members with cell phone and radio communications across four northeastern states. The network had coverage along almost 500 miles of the Texas border and extended nearly another 500 miles into Mexico's interior.

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Latin America
8:31 am
Tue November 22, 2011

'Miss Bala': Beauty Queen Meets Drug Lord

Stephanie Sigman as Laura in the Canana and Fox International Productions film Miss Bala.
Eniac Martinez 20th Century Fox

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 8:14 pm

Throughout Latin America, stories about drug lords have permeated popular culture.

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Business
4:09 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Border-Town Factories Give Manufacturers An Edge

Employees of TECMA, a cross-border plant or maquiladora, work in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Business leaders say the quick delivery time of goods from Mexico to the U.S. can help revive manufacturing in North America.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 20, 2011 11:51 am

Officials in the United States have been wringing their hands lately over how to revitalize domestic manufacturing and keep factories from moving overseas.

But not all of those plants are going across the ocean to China or India or some other low-cost production hub in Asia. Many are relocating just south of the border to Mexico, prompting business leaders to argue that the U.S.-Mexico border region may be the key to rejuvenating manufacturing in North America.

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Latin America
12:52 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Mexican Deportees Strain Cities South Of The Border

A group of illegal immigrants from Central America deported from the United States eat at a shelter near the Mexico-U.S. border, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, July 28, 2010. Last year, the U.S. deported a record number of immigrants — and the Mexican border towns where they are being released face serious problems coping with the influx.
Alfredo Estrella AFP/Getty Images

For many Mexican migrants who've just been deported from the United States, the border city Reynosa is where the American Dream dies.

Maria Nidelia Avila Basurto is a Catholic nun who heads a church-run shelter for deportees in Reynosa, in the northeast corner of Mexico, just across from McAllen, Texas.

"Many of them arrive with nothing," she says. "We have to give them everything — clothes, shoes, everything."

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Latin America
1:00 pm
Sun November 6, 2011

In Nicaragua, Ortega Poised For Re-Election

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 4:59 pm

Transcript

LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.

It's Election Day in Nicaragua where President Daniel Ortega is running for an unprecedented third term. The country's constitution sets a two-term limit, but the Supreme Court declared that unconstitutional. The longtime Sandinistan leader has been leading in the polls. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from Managua.

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Latin America
6:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Nicaraguan Presidential Election Fraught With History

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Nicaraguans go to the polls today and are expected to reelect President Daniel Ortega, who is running in spite of a constitutional ban on presidents serving consecutive terms. Ortega, a Marxist icon of the 1980s, has become a polarizing figure in the Central American nation. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

JASON BEAUBIEN: Martha Alicia Alvado loves Daniel Ortega. After all, it's because of him that she has her own house.

MARTHA ALICIA ALVADO: (Spanish spoken)

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Latin America
3:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Daniel Ortega Seeks Re-Election In Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega is seeking a third term in Sunday's elections despite a constitutional limit on holders of the office to two terms.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:16 am

Nicaragua has a constitutional ban on sitting presidents running for re-election. But Daniel Ortega is doing just that, and he looks set to win an unprecedented third term.

This is an election filled with shifting ghosts. Characters from all sides of Nicaragua's tumultuous recent history are involved in the campaign.

Ortega, the former Marxist guerrilla and longtime Sandinista leader, is promising neoliberal reforms and a pro-business environment to attract foreign capital.

Ortega is leading in the polls — but legal scholars say he is ineligible to run.

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Latin America
2:27 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Drug Violence Swamps A Once Peaceful Mexican City

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"Los Mata Zetas," or the "Zeta Killers," described themselves in a recent video as a paramilitary group that will go after members of the Zeta drug cartel. The Mexican government, however, has described it as a rival drug cartel that is just seeking to eliminate competition from the Zetas.

AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 2:34 pm

In the latest twist to Mexico's drug wars, a new group has vowed to launch a paramilitary offensive against a leading drug cartel in Veracruz, a city that has become a flash point in the violence.

Over the past month, more than 100 bodies have been strewn around the city, which is one of Mexico's largest and oldest ports. The violence prompted Mexican President Felipe Calderon to declare that Veracruz has been "left in the hands of the Zetas," one of the most brutal criminal organizations in the country.

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Latin America
1:01 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

In Mexico, Tourism Survives Bloody Drug War

Mexico has launched a publicity blitz to attract more tourists. The vast majority of tourists travel to just one of a half-dozen destinations in Mexico — including Cancun, shown here last year — far from the drug violence.

Gustavo Graf Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yes, the drug war has created an image problem. But Mexico has launched an aggressive publicity blitz to try to attract more tourists, and it seems to be succeeding.

Even President Felipe Calderon is involved in the full court press to tout the wonders, delicacies and marvels of Mexico to potential visitors.

On the PBS program The Royal Tour of Mexico, Calderon serves as the on-camera guide for TV host Peter Greenberg. The president leads a zip-line tour across a rain forest, rappels into a cave, climbs Mayan ruins and snorkels along a coral reef.

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Latin America
2:25 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War

In Acapulco, Mexico, teachers are out on strike at more than a hundred schools because of spiraling violence related to the country's drug war. Here, a child looks at a sign announcing the closure of a school in Acapulco, Sept. 1.
Pedro Pardo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 1:41 pm

In the coastal Mexican city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike — not over wages, working conditions or pensions, but because of crime.

Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Over the last two years, drug cartels fighting for control of Acapulco have terrorized the once-popular tourist resort.

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