Carrie Kahn

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Finally today, so you might not be surprised that a record titled "Preacher's Kid" by a musician whose father was a pastor would take the top spot on the iTunes Christian album chart. That happened last month with the new album by Grace Semler Baldrige, who performs as Semler. But the lyrics on that album tell a different story than the one you might be expecting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JESUS FROM TEXAS")

SEMLER: (Singing) My mom turned 18 in the 1960s, and she doesn't remember Stonewall.

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U.S. tourists aren't welcome in most countries around the world because of the high number of coronavirus cases surging in the United States. But at least one country is keeping its borders open: Mexico. And many Americans, keen to escape the cold or lockdowns, are flocking to its stunning beaches.

On a recent weekend in Cabo San Lucas, one of Mexico's top tourist destinations, Sharlea Watkins and her friends downed beers at a restaurant overlooking the city's marina.

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American tourists are not allowed in most countries right now, but Mexico is an exception. And people are going despite what the CDC says, which is, of course, don't do that. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.

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Artists and activists achieved something rare in Cuba. They held a peaceful protest. At first, it seemed the communist government would consider their demands for greater freedom of expression. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on what happened next.

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At the request of the U.S. government, a New York federal judge has dropped all drug trafficking and conspiracy charges against Mexico's former defense secretary, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda.

During a Wednesday morning hearing, U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon said she found no reason to "doubt the sincerity of the government's position" and granted the request. U.S. Attorney General William Barr had asked for the dismissal, stating that important foreign policy considerations outweighed the government's prosecution interests in the case.

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Mexico's president says he's not ready to send felicitaciones to President-elect Joe Biden, saying he wants to wait for U.S. authorities to certify Biden formally as the victor.

"We cannot meddle in the politics of other countries. ... We have to be respectful," President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday at his regular morning news conference.

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Democratic lawmakers are demanding more information from the Trump administration about an incident in January in which U.S. agents working in Guatemala rounded up U.S.-bound Honduran migrants and transported them back to the Guatemala-Honduras border.

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In yet another Trump-era break with longstanding tradition, it now seems all but certain that the Inter-American Development Bank will be led by a non-Latin American citizen. Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Cuban-American who is President Trump's top adviser on Latin America at the National Security Council and his nominee to head the bank, is the sole candidate for the job.

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Cuba's communist leaders appear to be ready to make good on long promised reforms to the island's state-controlled economy, which has been in a tailspin since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Even before the pandemic, the economy was in recession, suffering from reduced Venezuelan subsidies and escalating Trump administration sanctions. Then in March, Cuba banned all air and sea travel to the island, cutting off tourism — a major source of hard currency for the government.

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The communist leaders of Cuba have been promising for years to ease restrictions on their tightly controlled economy. Now the pandemic may be forcing them to actually do that. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

At first glance, a video circulating on Mexican social media this month appears to show a boisterous unit of security forces. For more than two minutes, the camera pans across a line of masked men in combat fatigues, stretching down a rural road. Some stand beside armored vehicles painted in camouflage colors, firing military-grade weapons into the air. Others peer out of makeshift turrets atop the vehicles.

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Near downtown Mexico City, Cristian Corte sells tacos and gorditas at a makeshift stand outside a metro stop. He pulls down his thin paper mask, anxious to vent his anger about the Mexican president's upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

"I want him to tell Trump to stop stepping all over us and to treat everyone as equals," says Corte.

On Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared to be talking to Mexicans like Corte, skeptical of his visit on Wednesday and Thursday to the White House.

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