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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Parallels
3:28 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Navigating Nicaragua: A Lesson In Getting Lost

A motorcyclist drives past a mural of revolutionary heroes in Managua, Nicaragua. Most streets in the country don't have names. People give directions by using reference points, mostly Lake Managua, when in the capital.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 11:56 am

One of the most popular songs by the Irish band U2 is about a place where the streets have no names. That place could be Nicaragua, the small Central American nation where I just got back from a reporting trip.

While major boulevards and highways do have names in Nicaragua, and some buildings even have numbers, no one uses them. So if you are trying to get around or find an office building, let's say to interview someone, then you're in trouble.

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Parallels
8:43 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

A Chinese Man, A $50 Billion Plan And A Canal To Reshape Nicaragua

A family swims in Lake Nicaragua, which will encompass nearly half of the proposed canal's 172-mile route. Environmentalists worry that oil spills, pollution and dredging will destroy the country's largest supply of fresh water.
Carrie Kahn/NPR

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:54 am

One hundred years ago today, the first ship passed through the brand-new, U.S.-built Panama Canal; a century later, Panama owns the canal outright, and the country is one of the most prosperous in the region.

Panama's neighbor to the north, Nicaragua, is hoping a transoceanic canal and similar prosperity are in its near future. The government has joined forces with a Chinese billionaire to construct a 173-mile, interocean canal.

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Latin America
3:11 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Nicaragua Seems To Escape Problems Suffered By Its Neighbors

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 11:11 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The U.S. immigration system sometimes has welcomed Central Americans fleeing violence. Consider Nicaragua, where NPR's Carrie Kahn has been reporting recently. Many people fled the country during its war in the 1980s.

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Parallels
2:44 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

As Flow Of Migrants Into Mexico Grows, So Do Claims Of Abuse

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 8:59 am

Like the United States, Mexico is dealing with a substantial increase of Central American migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing its borders. Earlier this month, Mexico's president announced plans to crack down on the illegal flow and strengthen security along the southern border with Guatemala.

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Goats and Soda
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

As 'Voluntourism' Explodes In Popularity, Who's It Helping Most?

Haley Nordeen, 19, is spending the entire summer at the Prodesenh center in San Mateo Milpas Altas, Guatemala. The American University student helped build the center's new library.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:36 pm

As you plan — or even go — on your summer vacation, think about this: More and more Americans are no longer taking a few weeks off to suntan and sightsee abroad. Instead they're working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English.

It's called volunteer tourism, or "voluntourism," and it's one of the fastest growing trends in travel today. More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year.

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The Salt
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

A worker dries coffee beans at a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in February 2013.
Moises Castillo AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:23 pm

Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world's richest arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.

"My farm was beautiful; it was big," he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.

"Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," he says.

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Parallels
3:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Deportation Threat Doesn't Diminish Young Migrants' U.S. Hopes

Ezequiel Vazquez and his 15-year-old son, Ilbaro, leave a government-run shelter in Guatemala City. Ilbaro was deported from the U.S. after spending six months in a Texas detention facility. He returned with a U.S.- issued duffel bag full of clothes, shoes, books and toys.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:23 pm

The Obama administration says it will try to speed up deportations of tens of thousands of children who have illegally entered the U.S. from Central America in recent months. It's part of a stronger message the administration is hoping gets back to would-be migrants contemplating coming to the U.S.

But the message isn't getting through, and even those who have recently been deported say they will try again.

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Code Switch
1:51 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Some Mexico Fans Feel Unfairly Targeted For World Cup Chants

Mexico fans cheer during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group A match between Brazil and Mexico on June 17.
Miguel Tovar Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:20 am

FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup, says it has zero tolerance for racist and homophobic conduct by players and fans at this year's international soccer event.

Late last week, FIFA opened an investigation into the display of neo-Nazi banners by both Russian and Croat fans at the World Cup. And Brazil and Mexico face possible sanctions for chanting a homophobic slur during their match last week. But soccer fans say the world is misinterpreting the use of the word and their team spirit.

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Latin America
3:14 am
Fri June 20, 2014

The Surge In Single Women With Children At The U.S.-Mexico Border

Amalia Diaz, a 22-year-old from Honduras, holds her 5-month-old daughter, Shilin, as they wait in Tequixquiac, Mexico, for a northbound train to pass. They plan to jump onboard and ride on top of the train all the way to the United States border.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 2:06 pm

The number of migrant children detained at the U.S. border has skyrocketed. At the current pace, it could hit 90,000 over the course of this year. But it's not just minor children rushing to the border. Large numbers of single women with kids are coming as well.

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Latin America
2:12 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

For Mexico, Action On The Pitch Means Stillness In The Streets

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:06 pm

Mexico took to the field on the second day of the World Cup, and the nation shut down to watch. Nearly everyone, from vendors to politicians, took the day off to watch their team beat Cameroon 1-to-0.

Parallels
3:43 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

A Flood Of Kids, On Their Own, Hope To Hop A Train To A New Life

A migrant from El Salvador holds a map he received from church workers at the Mexico-Guatemala border. It shows the freight train schedules and routes to the U.S. border.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:43 am

If you are trying to get across Mexico, and you don't have money, one of your few options is to jump on a freight train.

Several train lines pass through the dusty central Mexican town of Huehuetoca at full speed. But if you walk about 2 miles down the tracks, there's a large bend.

There, the trains slow down to take the curve — giving migrants an opportunity to jump on board.

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Latin America
7:33 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Bloodiest Region In Mexico? Right Across From McAllen, Texas

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:20 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Parallels
5:18 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

American Detained In Honduras: 'We Came With An Open Heart'

Robert Mayne is being held in a Honduran prison with five other Americans on suspicion of smuggling weapons into the country.
Michael McCabe

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 5:49 pm

Six Americans remain in a rural Honduran prison after being arrested last month on suspicion of smuggling weapons into the country. The men arrived in the Central American nation by boat, ready to begin work on a salvage project along the northern Honduran coast. The men say the guns were on the boat for protection from pirates.

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Latin America
2:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

For Americans Held In Honduras, Daily Fines And Decrepit Conditions

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 5:28 pm

Six Americans have been detained in Honduras for the last month, jailed on suspicion of smuggling arms. The Americans claim the guns they carried were for personal protection against pirates as they cleared logs to give locals better access to fishing sites.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
1:53 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Mexico City's Campaign To Encourage Breast-Feeding Backfires

A Mexico City breast-feeding campaigned used posters featuring topless celebrities. At least "La Barbie," a female boxer (shown here), had her boxing gloves on.
Via Latin Times

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:35 pm

Mexico City health official launched a new campaign this month to boost the image of nursing mothers. But posters of topless toned actresses weren't exactly the message women's groups and health advocates had hoped for.

"We were very surprised once the campaign was launched," says Regina Tames, of the reproductive rights group GIRE.

She was taken aback by pictures of topless actresses and one of the female boxer known as "La Barbie." She was shirtless, too — although she did have on her boxing gloves.

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The Salt
2:16 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

With Cartels On The Run, Mexican Lime Farmers Keep More Of The Green

Workers sort through key limes at a packaging house in Apatzingan, Michoacan. More than 90 percent of limes imported into the U.S. come from Mexico.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 6:54 pm

If the prices of a margarita or guacamole have been too high for you lately, blame it on a key ingredient of the Mexican treats — the lime. Prices for limes, imported almost exclusively from Mexico, hit record highs this year, and demand remains high. But now the price is dropping and farmers couldn't be happier.

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Latin America
2:45 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

A Mystery For Millennia, This Ancient Pyramid May Crumble Soon

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

One of the largest pyramids in the world is in trouble: Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun. It's located just outside Mexico City and is a popular tourist attraction. A local physicist says part of the 2,000 year old structure appears to be drying out and local news headlines have spread fear that the revered ruins are in danger of collapsing. As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, an archeological reconstruction fix done 100 years ago may have put the ancient pyramid in peril.

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Latin America
3:18 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Tijuana's New Breed Of Entrepreneurs Create Technical Businesses

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:52 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Salt
1:22 am
Wed March 26, 2014

In Mexico And U.S., Lime Lovers Feel Squeezed By High Prices

A worker unloads a truck full of Mexican limes at a citrus packing plant in La Ruana, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 12:11 pm

Has the price of your margarita cocktail shot up? Guacamole more expensive? Blame it on limes.

About 98 percent of limes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico. But our neighbors to the south are feeling seriously squeezed by a shortage of the beloved citrus fruit.

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Latin America
2:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Drug Cartel Boss Dies A Second Time

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 7:34 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Latin America
4:18 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Mexican Judges Rule 'El Chapo' Will Stand Trial In Mexico First

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:43 am

The arrest of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman is a coup for Mexican authorities. Now comes the tussle over where he will be tried. He's wanted in at least seven U.S. federal districts.

Latin America
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Ruthless Mexican Drug Trafficker Was A Robin Hood In Home State

The opening to one of the many tunnels that authorities discovered were used by Guzman as escape routes. The neighborhood of La Libertad is known for its complex drainage system, which provided easy access in and out of various safe houses.
Encarni Pindado for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:39 pm

Drug cartel leader Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo," was formally charged on Monday with violating drug trafficking laws in Mexico. While officials celebrate his capture, many in his home state of Sinaloa — who viewed the kingpin as a helper of the poor and a keeper of the peace — are not as pleased.

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Latin America
3:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Authorities Finally Nab Mexico's No. 1 Drug Kingpin

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:34 am

Joaquin Guzman known as "El Chapo," was arrested in an early Saturday morning raid in the Pacific beach resort of Mazatlan. Multiple U.S. agencies provided intelligence that helped take down Guzman.

Latin America
3:18 am
Thu February 20, 2014

In Mexico, Obama Pressed On Immigration, Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:38 am

President Obama met on Wednesday with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts about increasing trade and commerce among the three countries.

Latin America
2:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Trade Issues Expected To Dominate Obama's Trip To Mexico

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

And I'm Renee Montagne. President Obama arrives in Mexico today to meet with Mexico's president and Canada's prime minister. It's been dubbed the meeting of the Three Amigos. The one day summit of North America's leaders will focus on trade and commerce, but also on the agenda: security, energy, border issues and immigration. NPR's Carrie Kahn is in Toluca near Mexico City, where the summit begins later today. Good morning.

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Parallels
1:21 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Tijuana Prisoner: I Was Forced To Dig Drug Tunnel To San Diego

A Mexican guard at a prison in Tijuana where 17 men are being held on charges they were digging a drug-smuggling tunnel from Tijuana to the U.S. border at San Diego. The men say they were kidnapped and forced to do the work.
Special to NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:32 am

More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.

There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.

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Latin America
2:27 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Michoacan Vigilante Groups Collaborate With Mexican Government

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

The Mexican government has a new plan to control heavily armed vigilante groups fighting back against drug cartels. The government announced this week it is making the militias a legitimate part of the country's security forces and will allow them to help police the countryside.

The Edge
1:31 am
Thu January 30, 2014

'Mariachi Olympic Prince' Takes Glamour To Sochi Ski Slopes

Mexican-born Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, a German prince, plans to ski in style for the Winter Olympics.
Courtesy of Alex Jorio

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:38 am

In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

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Latin America
2:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Drug Cartel Leader Captured In Mexico's Michoacan State

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:20 am

Mexican authorities have arrested one of the top drug cartel leaders in the western state of Michoacan. Federal forces recently moved into the state to disarm civilian vigilantes who have been fighting to reclaim their communities from the cartel.

Latin America
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Vigilantes Strike Back Against Mexican Cartels

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Mexico, thousands of federal troops remain in dozens of towns in the western state of Michoacan. That's where civilian vigilante groups have emerged in recent months to fight off the Knights Templar cartel. Authorities say they've arrested 38 cartel members, but won't move to disarm the so-called self-defense groups. Heroes to some, gang members to others, these vigilantes are now on the offensive, even taking to social media to spread their message. NPR's Carrie Kahn has the story.

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