Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is an NPR international correspondent covering South America for NPR. She is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Previously, she served a NPR's correspondent based in Israel, reporting on stories happening throughout the Middle East. She was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising began and spent months painting a deep and vivid portrait of a country at war. Often at great personal risk, Garcia-Navarro captured history in the making with stunning insight, courage and humanity.

For her work covering the Arab Spring, Garcia-Navarro was awarded a 2011 George Foster Peabody Award, a Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club, and an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Alliance for Women and the Media's Gracie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

Before her assignment to Jerusalem began in 2009, Garcia-Navarro served for more than a year as NPR News' Baghdad Bureau Chief and before that three years as NPR's foreign correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from that region as well as on special assignments abroad.

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, reporting from Cuba, Syria, Panama and Europe. She later became a producer for Associated Press Television News before transitioning to AP Radio. While there, Garcia-Navarro covered post-Sept. 11 events in Afghanistan and developments in Jerusalem. In 2002, she began a two-year reporting stint based in Iraq.

In addition to the Murrow award, Garcia-Navarro was honored with the 2006 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for a two-part series "Migrants' Job Search Empties Mexican Community." She contributed to NPR News reporting on Iraq, which was recognized with a 2005 Peabody Award and a 2007 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

Garcia-Navarro holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and an Master of Arts degree in journalism from City University in London.

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Parallels
12:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Brazilian Believers Of Hidden Religion Step Out Of Shadows

Men possessed by orixas dance before getting dressed in orixa costumes. They are participating in an Olubaje party, a Candomblé ritual for cleansing life of bad things and healing. The main god at the party is Omulu (the one with straws), known for healing diseases.
Marcello Vitorino Fullpress for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:45 pm

Amid chanting and drumming, a crowd gathers in Sao Paulo and waits for the gods to come to them from the spirit world.

They are celebrating a sacred festival day in honor of Omulu, a deity of life and death. The women wear white dresses with crinolines, colorful belts and headdresses. The men wear lace, pajama-style suits. They sing and dance in a circle for hours; the room gets warmer, the chanting more intense.

Suddenly, they are here: Orixas have possessed the chosen among the faithful. They are spirit gods, the deified ancestors who link humans to the other world.

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Parallels
2:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Brazilians Flood To U.S. On Massive Shopping Sprees

Camila DeSouza, a 17-year-old Brazilian, shops for shoes at a mall in Sunrise, Fla., on July 16, 2012. During their winter, Brazilians flock to the U.S., mainly to shop. Even with the cost of airfare figured in, many products are far cheaper in the U.S. than in Brazil.
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald/MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 6:26 pm

What's the busiest U.S. Consulate in the world? If you guessed in Mexico or China, you'd be wrong.

It's actually in Brazil, Sao Paulo to be exact. The consulate there is giving a record number of visas to Brazilians who want to visit the U.S. And that is giving a boost to the economies of cities like Miami.

On a recent day, Tiago Dalcien and his girlfriend stand outside the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo clutching their passports and other documents. He is a 30-year-old banker; his girlfriend is a doctor.

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Parallels
2:08 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Unease In Sprawling Rio Slum Ahead Of Police 'Pacification'

A police officer patrols the rooftop of a school at the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012, where a "pacification" anti-crime effort was underway. Rio police are now going to attempt a similar pacification in another huge slum, Mare.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:06 am

Brazilian police are preparing to occupy one of the deadliest shantytown complexes in Rio de Janeiro, hoping to drive out drug gangs ahead of next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

It's the latest "pacification" effort in a Rio slum, and the city's new chief of police says he'll need some 1,500 cops to secure this one, called Mare.

Police in the past would typically stage raids, but then withdraw from the dangerous shantytowns, known here as favelas. But under the pacification program, they now set up shop inside the favelas.

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Parallels
3:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Pope's Visit: A Bumpy Test Run For Rio's World Cup, Olympics

Hundreds of thousands of people crowd Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday as Pope Francis celebrates the final Mass of his visit to Brazil. Security lapses, traffic chaos and other logistical snafus marred the visit.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:47 pm

While the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro were a success for Pope Francis, they certainly weren't for the city government. Accusations of disorganization and transport failures have left residents wondering if Rio is really ready to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.

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News
4:40 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Religious Orders Use Pope's Visit To Recruit Young Postulants

People dance in laser lights in a tent during World Youth Day events in Quinta de Boa Vista park, where religious orders are holding a job fair of sorts to recruit new postulants.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 1:07 pm

The Quinta de Boa Vista park is far away from the celebrations in Copacabana Beach, where three million people gathered Saturday to hear Pope Francis speak. But the park is attracting a crowd of young people.

Kiosks for religious orders like the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Legion of Mary line the park. It looks like a job fair, and in a way, it is.

Nuns from the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Lourdes dance around in front of their stand, to the banging of drums and the strumming of guitars.

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Parallels
10:45 am
Wed July 24, 2013

The Radical Brazilian Priest Who Was Excommunicated

Roberto Francisco Daniel, widely known as Padre Beto, was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for his views on gay marriage and other hot-button issues. The former priest says the church must adapt to a changing world.
Denise Guimaraes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 6:36 pm

His name is Roberto Francisco Daniel, but he goes by Padre Beto. He sports an ear clip, and a rosary around his neck that dips into an open-necked patterned shirt. In short, Padre Beto looks cooler than your typical priest.

His decision to become a Catholic priest came late, he says. He was 28. He'd been to college, worked, and he wasn't a virgin. He says he thinks that's why he has a different way of looking at church doctrine.

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Religion
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Jubilation, Protest Greet Pope Francis In Brazil

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and was greeted by adoring masses and protesters alike. It is his first foreign trip since becoming pope.

Parallels
2:34 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Brazil's Evangelicals A Growing Force In Prayer, Politics

Evangelical Christians pray during the "March for Jesus" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Nelson Antoine AP

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 1:32 pm

Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.

Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation's main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.

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Parallels
2:42 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:57 pm

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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Latin America
3:52 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Protests Dwindle In Brazil Due To Lack Of Leadership

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 8:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Brazil has been a lot quieter this week. The massive protests that roiled the country have grown smaller. And to understand why, let's go to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who is in Sao Paulo.

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Parallels
7:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:34 am

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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Latin America
5:43 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Protests Allow Brazilians To Feel Part Of Global Movement

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Technology really does seem to make the world smaller, and this morning, we'll hear this morning how that applies to protest movements. Turkey saw a fresh wave of anti-government demonstrations over the weekend.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Brazil, the president is holding an emergency meeting today on how to respond to protests sweeping that country. An estimated quarter of a million Brazilians were on the streets yesterday, with a wide range of grievances.

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Parallels
6:35 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Brazil's Indians Reclaim Land Citing Promises, Using Force

Indigenous leaders from Brazil's Terena tribe attend a meeting with government officials in the capital, Brasilia, on June 6. Brazil's Indians have been demanding greater land rights and are increasingly coming into conflict with large ranchers and farmers.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 8:59 pm

It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.

Indian activists say this is just the beginning.

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Parallels
11:51 am
Tue June 18, 2013

With Inspiration From Turkey, Brazil Discovers Mass Protests

A mass protest in Sao Paulo on Monday night was one of several across the country where demonstrators raised a host of grievances. Some demonstrators said they drew their inspiration from the protests in Turkey.
Nelson Antoine AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:40 pm

They are young, they are angry and they have drawn inspiration from protest movements a world away in places like Turkey and the Middle East.

Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets across the country Monday night, and more demonstrations are slated for the coming week. Brazil doesn't have a history of this kind of mass dissent, but it seems to be catching on very quickly.

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Parallels
2:24 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Criminals Fleeing Rio Crackdown Set Up Shop In The Suburbs

Rio de Janeiro's Elite Special Forces Police Unit patrols the Caju favela complex as part of the pacification program designed to crack down on crime in advance of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 9:27 am

The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.

Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.

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Parallels
10:51 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Once Unsafe, Rio's Shantytowns See Rapid Gentrification

The small, hillside community of Babilonia, situated above the Leme and Copacabana neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, has ocean views.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 4:38 pm

A new gastronomic guide to Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns — for a cool $35 — has just been published. A new boutique hotel perched on top of one of Rio's previously most dangerous favelas is about to open. And yes, there is a jazz club and yoga, too.

These are new services catering to a new kind of favela resident.

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Parallels
12:28 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 9:27 am

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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Parallels
1:13 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

'We Are Not Valued': Brazil's Domestic Workers Seek Rights

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 3:57 pm

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

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Parallels
4:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:44 pm

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
4:34 am
Sun May 12, 2013

C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women

Daniele Coelho holds her newborn daughter as doctors finish her cesarean section at the Perinatal Clinic in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2. Brazil has one of the world's highest rates of cesarean births.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 6:11 pm

The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo — all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.

The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.

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Latin America
2:15 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 8:34 am

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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Latin America
2:17 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Brazil Seeks To Avoid Own Goal Ahead Of World Cup

The renovated Maracana stadium hosts a game by the teams "Friends of Bebeto" and "Friends of Ronaldo" during the stadium's inauguration in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 10:19 am

Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.

The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.

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Latin America
12:03 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets

A portrait is projected on the walls of a building as part of a project promoting art through re-evaluating urban spaces and buildings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 22.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:52 pm

It's lunchtime in the heart of Sao Paulo's financial district. Surrounded by tall buildings of cool glass and steel, men and women in suits and business attire walk back and forth busily in Brazil's largest city.

Standing amid the bustle is Leticia Matos — who is, for want of a better word, a crochet artist. She couldn't look more different from the people around her.

Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and covered in bright, quirky tattoos, Matos is at work, too. About a year ago, she says, she got the idea for her project while knitting and crocheting with her friends.

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Latin America
2:27 am
Fri April 12, 2013

In The Wake Of Brazil's Boom, Prices To Match

Tatiana Coelho buys fruit from a vendor in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012. Prices, especially for food, are skyrocketing in Brazil.
Melanie Stetson Freeman Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 9:56 am

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, a Starbucks coffee shop looks as it would in the United States. It has the same jazzy music; the same items on the menu.

There is one thing that is different, though: the prices.

"Everyone told me it's expensive, but when you see it yourself it's shocking," says one customer, Thierry, who is from Geneva and is in town for a wedding.

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Middle East
2:44 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

'We Survived Iraq': An Iraqi Makes A New Home In North Carolina

Ali Hamdani was a doctor in Iraq before becoming a translator for NPR. He now lives in North Carolina.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro NPR

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 6:51 pm

Ten years after the Iraq War began, NPR is catching up with people we encountered during the conflict. Back in 2008, NPR's armored car was targeted with a so-called sticky bomb in Baghdad. Ali Hamdani, an Iraqi who worked for NPR as a translator and producer, narrowly escaped. Shortly afterward, he left Iraq for the Unites States as a refugee.

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