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. Lourdes is married to Times of London journalist James Hider. They have a daughter and they sometimes travel together for work and always for play.

Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi terrorized the Libyan city of Misrata during the civil war. Because it never fell, the city became an icon of the revolution. But Misrata now is gaining a reputation for a militia that is carrying out acts of vengeance, looting and restricting movements in and out of the city.

Wags now quip that a visa is needed to enter Misrata because of the tight restrictions on access to the large coastal city. But it's no joke to the people here.

Many civilians have fled the fighting in the besieged Libyan city of Sirte in recent days and have ended up in a nearby village, which has one distinction: It's where deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was born. But Sirte residents are not the only ones finding shelter there.



This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Rebel fighters now control most of Moammar Gadhafi's hometown. They blasted their way into Sirte during one of the bloodiest battles of Libyan civil war with civilians caught in the middle and accusations of brutality on both sides. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro was in Sirte yesterday. And we advise you that some people will find the details of her four-minute report disturbing.

From presidential palace to people's market — in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the heart of Tripoli has been put to new use, as NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro explains in this Reporter's Notebook.

For most Libyans, Bab al-Azizia was the most foreboding address in the country. Moammar Gadhafi gave some of his most defiant speeches from the sprawling compound in Tripoli.

In Libya, anti-government fighters are facing fierce resistance in Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. It's one of the last areas that has not fallen to rebel forces. But it's hardly the last bastion of support for the deposed leader.

On a busy afternoon in the market in the southern Tripoli neighborhood of Abu Salim, it doesn't take long for a man to approach a visiting reporter and say under his breath, "You know, we all support Gadhafi here."

David Gerbi, a Jew whose family fled Libya more than four decades ago, visited Tripoli's old Jewish synagogue on Monday with big plans. He went to pray and to clean up garbage from a building long empty, though still grand with its soaring arches and butter-colored walls.

Gerbi, a 56-year-old psychoanalyst who has lived in Italy, said he had permission for the restoration from the local Muslim cleric and members of the Transitional National Council, the force that ousted Moammar Gadhafi back in August.

But two days into his effort, it came to an abrupt end.

Residents of the Libyan capital Tripoli are growing increasingly angry at abuses said to be carried out by armed anti-Gadhafi groups. Some allege that once rebel fighting brigades have become criminal gangs, looting and intimidating at will.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan would seem to be an unlikely icon for the Palestinians. Yet he is all the rage these days in the Palestinian territories. His picture is everywhere, even in places you would never expect it.

"All your receipts, all your notepads, everything has the picture of Erdogan," says Abdul Rahman Marra, a grocery store owner in the West Bank.

Mara then gestures to the posters of Erdogan on the walls. The Turkish leader stood up to Israel and defended Palestinian rights, Marra says, calling Erdogan the best leader in the Muslim world.

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr is always a time of joyous celebration in the Islamic world. The holiday's arrival means that Ramadan, the long month of daytime fasting, is over, and friends and family gather to exchange gifts and share meals.

As it began Wednesday in Tripoli, the holiday carried even greater resonance this year because of the rebel takeover of the Libyan capital.

"It's the big Eid this year," says resident Alaa al-Najaa. "In my life, I haven't seen the people before like that, especially the children."

In Libya, the tide has turned against Moammar Gadhafi and his supporters. And that has left an uncomfortable question for the new rebel authority: What to do with his loyalists and supporters?

Packed into cars and pickup trucks, Libya's rebels honked their horns and fired into the air as they paraded through Tripoli's central square on Wednesday in a show of force and celebration.

Some fighters deliberately targeted the ancient stone walls of the old city that flank the square — apparently because Moammar Gadhafi used the ramparts as a podium while giving speeches. And everyone is now calling it Martyrs Square, rather than Green Square, which was Gadhafi's term.

The regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continues to crumble. On Tuesday, rebels stormed Gadhafi's compound in the center of the capital Tripoli.

The Libyan rebels may have stormed into Tripoli on a wave of euphoria Sunday. But they were watchful and deliberate Monday as they realized that Moammar Gadhafi's armed loyalists were still a dangerous presence in many parts of the Libyan capital.

In one contested area, a rebel with a megaphone shouted warnings to his comrades: "Be careful of snipers. The city is not clear yet. Be alert."

But most rebels didn't need to be told. They were already jumpy coming into Tripoli, the grand prize in the rebels' six-month uprising against Gadhafi and his 42 years of rule.

It appears to be just a matter of time before the rebels take complete control of the capital. There are reports of heavy fighting near Moammar Gadhafi's compound but there is no sign of Gadhafi.

The Libyan rebels have been on the move this week.

In Gheryan, an important city south of the capital Tripoli, it seemed everyone was celebrating Friday. Women, children, young men, older men and even white-haired grandfathers.

They jumped into trucks and cars and flashed the victory sign to each other in an impromptu parade. The city, which straddles the main road south from Tripoli, was a garrison for Moammar Gadhafi's forces for the past six months. From Gheryan, the military would resupply forces for the frequent battles in the country's Western Mountains.

In Libya, rebel forces have made advances in their battle to unseat Moamar Gadhafi from power. After several days of fierce clashes, opposition fighters have taken the last refinery under Gadhafi's control. The coastal city of Zawiyah, 30 miles from the capital tripoli, is still being contested though.

After weeks with little movement on the battlefield, the dynamic of the Libyan war has changed.

As the rebels came charging down from the Western Mountains and pushed into the important coastal town of Zawiya, they are no longer the ones who appear vulnerable.

Increasingly, Moammar Gadhafi's strongholds, including the capital Tripoli, appear isolated.

About a month ago, I met Mabruk and Malik Eshnuk, a father and son who had traveled from Pittsburgh to western Libya to help rebels battling forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The family originally hails from the Libyan coastal city of Zawiya, but left years ago.

Mabruk and Malik were filled with optimism when I spoke to them. Mabruk, the father, had a ready smile and a voluble manner — he spoke so quickly it was often hard to follow him.

In Libya's rebel east, the defacto government has been disbanded in reaction to the killing of the rebel army chief of staff. It's the latest sign of political disarray and divisions in the rebel camp. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.

In eastern Libya, the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is filled with tension following the murder last week of the rebels' top military commander.

Abdel-Fattah Younis was killed in mysterious circumstances. Now, members of his family and his tribe — one of the most powerful in Libya — are accusing the rebel authorities of dragging its feet in the investigation.

The sleepy towns in the Western Mountains of Libya come to life right before the country's rebels engage in a fight with the forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The mostly deserted roads suddenly fill with pickup trucks. The rebel fighters bristle with the makeshift weapons that they rely on. The vehicles, some monster trucks, then peel off into the front lines deep in the desert, covered in dried mud that serves as camouflage.

There are clashes going on in the eastern rebel city of Benghazi, yet on the streets of the city, people are preparing for the holy month of Ramadan. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Libya on the eve of the Ramada fast.