Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.

Before joining the Sunday morning team, she served as an NPR correspondent based in Brazil, Israel, Mexico, and Iraq. 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, 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. 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. She has also won awards for her work on migration in Mexico and the Amazon in Brazil.

Since joining Weekend Edition Sunday, Garcia-Navarro and her team have also received a Gracie for their coverage of the #MeToo movement. She's hard at work making sure Weekend Edition brings in the voices of those who will surprise, delight, and move you, wherever they might be found.

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America. 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. She was posted for the AP to Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion, where she stayed covering the conflict.

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.

The Venezuelan capital, Caracas, can be one of the most expensive cities in the world — or one of the cheapest. It all depends on how you exchange your dollars.

At a fast food restaurant in the city recently, a pretty tasty plate of chicken and rice cost me 160 bolivars. At the official exchange rate set by the government, that works out to a little more than $25; at the black market rate, it's just $2.

Needless to say, most anyone who can change money on the black market in Venezuela does so.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Alvaro Villarueda starts his morning the same way every day — putting in a call to his friend who has a friend who works at a Caracas, Venezuela, supermarket.

Today, he's looking for sugar, and he's asking his friend if he knows if any shipments have arrived. As he talks on the phone, his wife Lisbeth Nello, is in the kitchen.

There are 10 mouths to feed every day in this family — five of them children. The two youngest are still in diapers.

A semi-naked woman in a sequined Carnival costume. A veiled woman with only her eyes showing in a niqab. Two stereotypes of two vastly different regions — Latin America and the Middle East.

On the surface, these two images couldn't be more diametrically opposed. What could the two have in common, right? What a woman wears — or what she doesn't wear, in Brazil's case — is often interpreted as a sign of her emancipation. The veil, for many, is a symbol of female oppression; the right to wear a bikini, one of liberation.

Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She'd been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.

The house went up — only to quickly come down.

"There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind," she said.

Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Brazil, a country usually known for its rainforests, has been facing a severe drought in its breadbasket region, leaving people in the cities without water and farmers in the countryside with dying crops. Global prices for coffee, in particular, have been affected.

Scientists in Brazil say the worst is yet to come — yet no one in the government, it seems, is listening.

On a recent day, farmer Juliano Jose Polidor walks through the desiccated remains of his cornfields.

What's happened to this crop, he says, is a total loss.

Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and there are two starkly different visions of what that will mean for the "marvelous city," as it is known.

"I would love to be born in Rio in 2020. The babies that are born here in 2020 will be born in a marvelous city ... because of the games," says Leonardo Gryner, the chief operating officer of Rio's Olympic Organizing Committee.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a glittering affair that attracts tourists from all over the world. There is, however, a murky and sometimes violent underbelly to the celebrations that recently came under the spotlight after the murder of a top samba school official.

One evening last month, Marcello da Cunha Freire was leaving his office in Rio's Vila Isabel neighborhood when a car pulled up next to him.

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JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Should they or shouldn't they? That's the question Brazilians are asking themselves after Edward Snowden's "open letter" lauding Brazil's role in protecting privacy rights and alluding to his hand in uncovering spying on their president.

He was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this past year.

Now Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, is putting a new kind of Brazilian food on the map.

Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter.

"Dear Father Christmas," the letter reads, "my name is Larissa. I know that you are very busy and that you live a long way away in the North Pole, but I'd like to ask you for a gift because my mother doesn't have enough money to buy what I want."

There are piles of similar letters — many decorated with stickers, drawings and hand prints — lying on makeshift tables in the main hall of the post office in downtown Sao Paulo.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There's even more to talk about in the auto industry, because the VW van is coming to the end of its road. Volkswagen has announced the last one will roll off the assembly line in Brazil on December 20th.

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