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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Business
3:03 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mexico Opens Its Energy Sector To Private Investment

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Over the weekend, the majority of states in Mexico ratified constitutional changes that will allow foreign investment in Mexico's oil sector for the first time in decades.

Here's more from NPR's Carrie Kahn.

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Latin America
3:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:52 pm

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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Latin America
4:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexican Lawmakers Hope Private Investment Will Boost Oil Industry

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Mexico, lawmakers are debating one of the touchiest subjects in the country today, whether to open up the nation's state oil monopoly to foreign investors. Ever since the oil industry was nationalized back in the 1930s, Mexico's control of this precious resource has been a symbol of national pride. But with oil prices rising and revenues down, the president has made modernizing the oil company Pemex his number one priority.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, not everyone is happy about it.

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Latin America
3:16 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexico Contemplates Changing Term-Limit Rule

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to Mexico, a country that has the ultimate term limits: nobody can be re-elected. The restriction has actually become a point of national pride; it's been around for a century.

NPR's Carrie Kahn has been following the story from Mexico City.

Hi, Carrie.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: So how did term limits get so tough in Mexico?

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Latin America
2:32 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Whoever Honduras Elects President Faces Tough Road, Broke Country

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 4:05 pm

Hondurans went to the polls this Sunday to elect a new president. The Central American country has a whole host of problems to deal with, including the highest levels of violence in the world and increased drug cartel activity. Most pressing, though, the new leader will inherit a failing economy. Honduras is broke. It just borrowed, for the first time, $500 million on the international bond market, but that wasn't even enough to bail the country out of its devastating financial troubles.

Latin America
3:07 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Ruling Party Leads Election Vote Totals In Honduras

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Central American country of Honduras held a presidential election yesterday. Honduras suffers from extreme poverty and it has one of the world's highest murder rates. The nation's politics have been dominated by elites and the military. Now, so far the vote count appears to favor the candidates from the right wing ruling party, but this election offered a little more choice than usual. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.

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Latin America
6:23 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Amid Crime And Poverty, Hondurans Go To The Polls

Honduran presidential candidate Xiomara Castro greets supporters during a campaign rally in Tegucigalpa last week.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 11:50 am

Voters go to the polls in Honduras to elect a new president on Sunday. It's the first open election with all parties participating since a coup overthrew the left-leaning government in 2009.

The elections come at a difficult time for the longtime U.S. ally. Two-thirds of its people live in poverty, unemployment is soaring and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world due to drug traffickers and gang violence.

The Gang Tax

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Latin America
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Hondurans To Elect New President On Sunday

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This Sunday, a presidential election will be held in Honduras. Nine candidates are vying to lead the Central American country. The top two contenders are the candidate from the ruling party that took power in a 2009 coup and the wife of the former president who was deposed in that coup. Crime and the economy are the big issues in a country with the world's highest homicide rate, rampant drug and gang violence, and a government that's mired in debt. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from the Honduran capital.

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Business
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Mexico's Retailers Welcome Shoppers Over Bargain Weekend

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

Throughout Mexico, shoppers filled malls and department stores in hopes of snatching up deep discounts and pre-holiday savings. If that sounds like the Mexican version of Black Friday, it is. Shop owners and economists alike are hoping consumers spend big and give Mexico's sagging economy a much needed end-of-the-year boost.

Parallels
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Americans Might Soon Get To Buy Mexican Beachfront, Border Land

Rosarito, Mexico, near the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Baja California, is home to thousands of Americans who live there full or part time, many in properties with long-term leases. A proposed change to Mexican law would allow foreigners outright ownership of Mexican beachfront properties.
Guillermo Arias AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:01 pm

For the first time in nearly a century, Mexico is considering letting foreigners own land outright along the coast and near international borders. Right now, only Mexicans can hold the title to land in the so-called restricted zone. The president and many lawmakers want to relax the ownership laws in hopes of spurring a wave of foreign investment in the country.

But others are crying foul and reviving nationalistic fears of foreign invasion and domination that incited enactment of the law so many years ago.

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Millions Will Be Lost If Mexico Doesn't Go To World Cup

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tomorrow in Mexico, the unthinkable may occur. The nation's beloved soccer team may fail to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil. OK, this may not be the grimmest news to come out of Mexico in recent years, but it will be a blow.

And it's a business story because as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City, the team's failure could cost broadcasters, sponsors and sports teams hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Parallels
1:09 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Following Bloomberg's Lead, Mexico Aims To Fight Fat

A street vendor fries food for lunch customers in Mexico City on July 10. Mexico has now surpassed the United States in levels of adult obesity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre AP

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:10 am

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

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Latin America
4:19 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Trade Dispute With Mexico Over 'Dolphin-Safe' Tuna Heats Up

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:38 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Look closely at just about any can of tuna sold in the U.S. and you'll find a tiny stamp. Now for more than 20 years, that stamp has certified that no dolphins were harmed or killed when the tuna was caught. For nearly that long, Mexico and the U.S. have been fighting over that label. Mexico says it's made great strides protecting dolphins and that the U.S. now unfairly blocks Mexican tuna from its markets.

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World
3:18 pm
Sat September 28, 2013

Mexican State's Anti-Corruption Plan: Hire Female Traffic Cops

Dressed in the black and neon orange colors of the new transit police, these women are slated to replace a force of notoriously corrupt traffic cops in Mexico State.
Edith Chapin NPR

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:25 pm

In the central State of Mexico, officials are trying a new approach to fight corruption.

Authorities have hired hundreds of women and put them in charge of issuing all traffic violations. They're trying to crack down on the famous mordida, or bribe — a favorite among Mexico's crooked traffic cops.

Authorities say women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men. But the plan has run into a few snags.

Choosing Female Cops

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Latin America
3:07 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Dozens Feared Dead Near Acapulco As Storms Buffet Mexico

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hurricane Manuel made landfall early this morning, striking Mexico's northern pacific mainland. It uprooted trees, downed power lines and continued a week of nonstop rain, high winds and deadly landslides. Officials say the death toll from a series of storms this week has risen to 80, and more than 50 people are still missing after a landslide consumed nearly an entire village north of Acapulco. NPR's Carrie Khan reports.

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Latin America
5:47 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Striking Teachers Forced Off Mexico City Plaza

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 9:28 am

Federal police removed thousands of protesting teachers Friday from the main downtown plaza where they had camped out for weeks. The teachers are angry about a new education law that takes power away from their union.

Business
3:26 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mexico's Tax Overhaul Has Middle Class Crying Foul

Mexico's president has unveiled a major shakeup of the country's tax system. His administration says it's aimed at capturing more of Mexico's paltry tax collection. Critics say it's unfairly targeting the middle class. Among the items slated for taxing: dog food and private school tuition.

Latin America
12:58 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Pena Nieto Encourages Mexicans To Embrace Change

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto presents his first annual report to the nation during a ceremony before the Congress at his presidential residence in Mexico City on Monday.
Omar Torres AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:23 pm

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto says his nation is undergoing a major change — one his country should not fear. Pena Nieto gave an upbeat assessment of his nine-month-old administration in his first State of the Union address on Monday.

Despite his positive review of Mexico's condition, the new president is dealing with chaotic protests in the capital, intractable levels of violence and a less favorable economic outlook than predicted.

He campaigned on the promise of creating a modern and prosperous Mexico. And according to his appraisal, he's done just that.

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The Salt
2:50 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Tlacoyos: A Mexican Grilled Snack That Tempted The Conquistadors

Tlacoyos can be filled with beans, potatoes, mushrooms or cheese and are often topped with grilled cactus, onions, cilantro, and salsa.
Jasmine Garsd for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:10 pm

For the last in a summer series of grilled food from around the world, we head to Mexico, where a small doughy treat is found everywhere from street corner grills to high-end restaurants. It's called a tlacoyo (pronounced tla-COY-yo) and although it may sound novel, it's an ancient food that's older than Hernan Cortes.

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Latin America
3:17 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Thousands Of Striking Teachers Disrupt Mexico City

The teachers are protesting education changes that would institute evaluations and reduce the power of unions in hiring educators. It's common practice for teachers in Mexico to buy and sell tenured positions. The protests in Mexico City have caused traffic mayhem, and at one point blocked access to the international airport.

Latin America
2:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Months After Nightclub Kidnappings, Bodies Found In Mexico

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Mexican officials say they've identified five more bodies found in a mass grave outside the capital. The dead were among a group of 12 young people kidnapped from a night club three months ago. As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, the case has rocked Mexico City, once considered an oasis from the country's brutal drug war.

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Latin America
3:22 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Mexico Schooled Over More Than 100 Mistakes In New Textbooks

In Mexico, as students head back to the classroom this week, their teachers will have extra work ahead of them. They're going to have to correct more than a hundred errors found in the free textbooks handed out to millions of students.

Parallels
8:37 am
Fri July 5, 2013

In Honduran Crimes, Police Are Seen As Part Of The Problem

A soldier watches over public transport users during an operation in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April. The crime rate is soaring in Honduras, and corrupt and ineffective law enforcement is widely seen as part of the problem.
Rafael Ochoa Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 4:13 pm

In the fight against drug trafficking, Central America has become a large recipient of U.S. aid, receiving nearly half a billion dollars over the past seven years. The money is being spent on strengthening police and military forces that are outgunned by the narcotics traffickers.

The goal is to repeat the kind of success that took place over time in places like Colombia.

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Parallels
11:52 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Mass Kidnapping Puts Mexican Legal System On Trial

Images from posters made by relatives show 10 of the 12 young people kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City on May 26. No one has claimed responsibility for the brazen abduction.
Marco Ugarte AP

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:00 pm

Josephina Garcia Rodriguez and Leticia Ponce Ramos sip coffee and console each other at a restaurant in front of Mexico City's prosecutor's office. They're about to head into a meeting with the lead investigator in the case of their kidnapped sons.

"We're going on three weeks since they were kidnapped," Garcia says. "It's been some difficult days, really hard for us mothers. We just want our sons back home with us."

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Parallels
1:26 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Honduras Claims Unwanted Title Of World's Murder Capital

Members of the 18th Street gang announce a truce during a press conference at a prison in San Pedro Sula, on May 28. The gang is involved in drug trafficking that has brought terror to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Loenel Cruz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:03 pm

Latin America is riddled with crime, and no place is more violent than Honduras. It has just 8 million people, but with as many as 20 people killed there every day, it now has the highest murder rate in the world.

It would be easy to blame drug trafficking. Honduras and its Central American neighbors have long served as a favored smuggling corridor for South American cocaine headed north to the U.S.

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Latin America
4:32 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Extortion Common For Latin American Businesses

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Latin America has some of the highest crime rates in the world. And that includes extortion, which doesn't just terrorize but also takes a huge economic toll on ordinary citizens. In many Latin American countries, it's costing billions of dollars and hindering development. As part of our series on violence in Latin America, NPR's Carrie Kahn takes us to Mexico, where some estimates say extortion costs more than $30 billion a year. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Extortion costs an estimated $3.2 billion in Mexico annually.]

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Latin America
3:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Catholic Church Moderates Ceasefire Between Honduran Gangs

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:21 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Honduras today, the nation's two most powerful gangs announced a cease-fire. The Roman Catholic Church mediated the agreement. And the announcement took place inside a prison, in what's considered the world's deadliest city, San Pedro Sula. NPR's Carrie Kahn is there, and she joins me now. And, Carrie, describe the scene at the cease-fire announcement today in prison.

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Parallels
3:15 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

As Stigma Eases, Single Motherhood In Mexico Is On The Rise

Maria Carlotta Santa Maria is a single mother in Mexico and is the sole wage earner in her household. Women like her are becoming more common there, and the stigma once associated with having children out of wedlock is fading.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:25 pm

On her daily route delivering laundry in her working-class neighborhood in southern Mexico City, Maria Carlotta Santa Maria, or Mari, as she is known, seems to know everyone: the mailman, the woman on the corner selling salty nuts, and her favorite greetings are for the guys at the corner gas station.

Mari is the kind of person that can make this inhospitable and overwhelming megacity seem almost small and friendly. But as a single mother, she says raising her 10-year-old daughter Jimena alone hasn't been easy.

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Latin America
5:23 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Former Guatemalan Dictator Found Guilty Of Genocide

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, that's the verdict today against Efrain Rios Montt, a former dictator of Guatemala. The general ruled the Central American nation in the early 1980s, one of the bloodiest periods of its 36-year-long civil war. Rios Montt, now 86 years old, was found responsible for atrocities committed against the Maya Ixil indigenous group. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Presiding Judge Yasmin Barrios read the verdict to a packed audience in the expansive Supreme Court auditorium.

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Latin America
3:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Violence, Hardship Fuel Central American Immigration To U.S.

Honduran Army soldiers patrol streets in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April. Gang violence has many Hondurans fleeing to the U.S.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:03 pm

William Ordonez and his wife, Carolia, thought that starting a new business in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was a great idea.

But just two weeks after they started selling chips, candy and soda, gang members showed up and ordered them to pay about $25 a week.

"We tried explaining to them that we just opened, we aren't making that much, we can't pay you," Ordonez says.

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