Americas: November 2011 Archives

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Colombia Kidnap Radio hostage killed

American reporter Annie Correal wrote us (November 27) about some disturbing developments in a story she told in a documentary on Dispatches last year called Kidnap Radio.

I'm writing because I got the sad news tonight that the FARC assassinated four hostages in the midst of a failed rescue attempt -- including the father of one of my subjects, the young Viviana Duarte. Her father had been held by the FARC for 13 years.


BBC report of the funerals

Colombians are planning to take to the streets on December 6th to protest the FARC and its terror tactics. In the past these marches have drawn millions.

The newspapers El Tiempo and El Espectador will be revealing more details over the course of the week (in Spanish).

I have reached out to the wife and daughter of the police colonel who was among the four hostages assassinated, but I have not heard back from them. The little girl at the beginning of my documentary, Viviana, is now 15, and she hadn't yet turned two when her father was kidnapped. She only ever saw him in proof-of-life videos. And now he's been killed. The documentary is much more heartbreaking to listen to now. It changes it completely. 

Here's how Dispatches presented Kidnap Radio on our website:

Reporter Annie Correal..

Colombia's captive audience

At its peak in Colombia, more than 3,000 people were kidnapped each year, most famously, presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, held for six years.

The practice is declining.  But many hostages are still held by paramilitary or Marxist rebel groups like the one known as FARC, trying to ransom or exchange them for imprisoned colleagues.  

In some cases, the families haven't heard from their captive relatives for years. Yet they have a way of staying in touch.

This is the remarkable story of Kidnap Radio, one that reporter Annie Correal experienced first-hand...

Click here for Annie's dispatch

Annie Correal is a reporter based in New York City with the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario La Prensa.

She produced that documentary with Jay Allison for the public radio website called Transom.org, part of the Open Studio Project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in The United States..

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November 24 & 27, 2011: from Dhaka, Bangladesh - Santa, Peru - Jonestown, Guyana - Equatorial Guinea - Mexico City

From our correspondents around the world...

Mourners and coffins at the procession for a mass funeral in rural Peru. Mass graves were recently discovered 19 years after death squads killed tens of thousands in that country. (Photo/Mattia Cabitza)

Justice delayed or justice denied? A controversial war crimes tribunal begins in Bangladesh. 

In Peru, requiem for a ragged history as new graves are uncovered from the long civil war. 

And, if there are lessons in tragedy, should the site of the Jonestown Massacre be made into a tourist attraction? The push is on to do just that.  

Then, a dictatorship in Africa wants to change its image but will Equatorial Guinea also change its ways? 

And from Mexico, the saint comes marching in.

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November 17 & 20: from South Africa - Afghanistan - Espiritu Santu, Brazil - Mogadishu, Somalia

Gold miners deep underground in South Africa. Tens of thousands them come down with TB and HIV and are sent home to die without treatment. Photo/AP

The preventable epidemic no one's bothering to prevent in South Africa.

American journalism gets a scolding as a Canadian journalist takes a top U.S. award.

Fawzia Koofi wants to be the next president of Afghanistan. Even if it kills her.

A story of selflessness from Somalia, where the only things not destroyed in the long civil war are hope and the sea.

And, all aboard Brazil's graffiti train. Why one of the world's largest mining companies is embracing street art.

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November 10 & 13, 2011: from Les Cayes, Haiti - Detroit, Michigan - Rome - San Diego

Firefighters work to put out a warehouse fire in Detroit on October 30th, 2011, one they've labelled "suspicious." (Photo/Martine August)

Haitian justice on trial as prison guards stand accused of a jailhouse massacre. 

Detroit's better angels pull it through the fires of Devil's Night but need a miracle to end the decline at its core.   

Sex, murder and the fungus trade. Nepal's got a problem like you won't believe. 

The U.S. Navy is going green, one ship at a time, because saving energy is saving lives.

Ben Hur returns to Rome, but does a blockbuster film make for blockbuster theatre? 

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