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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2:27pm

Wed October 26, 2011
Latin America

Drug Violence Swamps A Once Peaceful Mexican City

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

"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

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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1:01pm

Tue October 18, 2011
Latin America

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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2:25am

Wed September 28, 2011
Latin America

Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War

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

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

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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10:01pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Freedoms Flourish On Walls Across Tripoli

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 6:14 pm

Caricatures of the ousted Gadhafi have sprung up all over Tripoli. This image of Gadhafi in chains is on a wall in the capital's Fashlum neighborhood.
Jason Beaubien NPR

In Tripoli, residents are painting the town red, green and black, the new colors of the Libyan revolution.

Under Moammar Gadhafi, the regime strictly controlled the images that were allowed in public. Storefronts had to be painted green. English was banned on signs. Anti-regime graffiti was quickly painted over and could be met with a harsh response.

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1:13pm

Mon September 12, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Arab Spring Blooms On Libyan Radio

Musicians and other Libyans who once dared not express themselves are finding a new outlet on the country's newly freed radio stations. Shown here, a recent day at the studios of Radio Libya — once a state-run station — in Tripoli.
Jason Beaubien NPR

The fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has brought about a dramatic change on the radio dial in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

In the past, Libyans could only tune in to the government stations. Foreign broadcast signals were blocked. And what the state-run stations offered was tightly controlled and laden with pro-Gadhafi propaganda.

Now, the airwaves that used to only carry four state-run stations — broadcasting only in Libyan Arabic as a mouthpiece for the Gadhafi regime — are filled with broadcasts from across the Mediterranean and neighboring Tunisia.

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