The View from Here: November 2011 Archives

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Guyana: jungle tourism and Jonestown

Cult leader Jim Jones led more than 900 Americans to mass suicide in at their remote jungle compound in Guyana in 1978. Some want it re-built to boost tourism in Guyana. (Photo/AP-Getty Images)

Jonestown revisited 

In 1978, American cult leader Jim Jones presided over the deaths of more than 900 followers of the People's Temple, based in Jonestown, Guyana. 

The dead were most killed with cyanide, which some willingly took after poisoning their children with it first.   

Today, the government's being asked to declare it a tourist attraction despite its grisly history, recalled in this excerpt from a story filed back in the day by Bronwyn Drainie with the CBC Radio program, Sunday Morning.

In the 33 years since that report, the jungle's grown back and the Jonestown buildings have been looted, burnt and shunned by superstitious locals. But one man who witnessed the massacre's grim aftermath believes it should be a tourist attraction.

Dispatches contributor Sarah Grainger is hacking through the bush to see what once was, and what some want it to become.  

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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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Santa, Peru buries death-squad victims

Maribel Barrientos cries during the funeral procession for her two brothers in Peru, killed by death squads 19 years ago. (Photo/Mattia Cabitza) 

Requiem after 19  years
A sombre funeral erupts in heartfelt
applause, when mourners came to honor a group of men killed by death squads in 1992.

It was a time when guerillas were clashing with the government, and civilians were targetted by both sides.

The country's Truth And Reconciliation Commission estimates 70,000 people simply...disappeared.  As mass graves emerge, the dead are finally embraced, as we hear from Mattia Cabitza, from Santa, Peru.

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Twins, a train and art in Brazil

The Brazil-based multi-national Vale Mining is well-known in Canada for vast mineral holdings in four provinces. Not to mention a bitter year-long strike in Sudbury last year. But back in Brazil, it's working on softening its image, one spray can at a time.  

CBC's Connie Watson took a ride into The Brazilian interior, just for the art of it.

Hear Connie's View from Here


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L.A.'s Father Dollar Bill dies at 92

Maurice Chase, gave cash to poor

Father Maurice Chase (a.k.a. Dollar Bill) was a featured personality in Jennifer Westaway's documentary on L.A.'s homeless, Scrapping Over Scraps

CBC's Jennifer Westaway's piece on homelessness in Los Angeles won Amnesty International Canada's audio/video media award for 2006. She looked at how the second-largest city in America is, in the words of the its own mayor, the capital of homelessness in America, and why it includes so many African-Americans

Listen to Scrapping Over Scraps

 Father Maurice Chase was known for handing out dollar bills on Los Angeles' skid row, caring more about the gift of human love than about what his beneficiaries did with the money.

Elaine Woo remembers him in the Los Angeles Times

November 23 2011

Nearly every Sunday morning, Thanksgiving and Christmas for almost three decades, the man they called Father Dollar Bill, Father Dollar or just D.B. for Dollar Bill showed up on a skid row sidewalk. He was a white-haired man in a red sweater and a Notre Dame cap, his pockets jammed with crisp green bills, which he patiently handed out until the money was gone.

The complete article can be viewed at:

Visit latimes.com 

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Kudos for correspondents

Radio-Canada's Jean-Michel Leprince is only the 5th Canadian to receive the prestigious American award for international journalism, the Cabot Prize. Photo/Columbia School of Journalism

As seen on TV; only in Canada

A longtime Canadian journalist has won a prestigious award from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Veteran correspondent Jean-Michel Leprince of our French-language cousins at Radio-Canada is one of four winners of the Cabot Prize for Outstanding Reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean.

It's the oldest international award in journalism, conferred annually since 1939.

Jean-Michel is one of just five Canadian journalists to be honored with it -- and the first from Canadian television.

The judging panel praised his work for showing "scenes and stories of real life that too often do not appear on U.S. TV," and scolded the domestic networks for what it calls their "retreat from the region. 

Jean-Michel Leprince joined Rick from Montreal

The award has been give for the past 72 years, and just four other Canadians have won it. Grant Dexter of the Winnipeg Free Press in 1946, Paul Kidd with Southam News in 1966, John Harbron of the Toronto Telegram in 1970 and Paul Knox for The Globe and Mail in 2000.

  The Dispatches November 17 program


And recent recognition for fighting fear in Mexico

It seems that in the most dangerous city in the world, things can always get worse. Members of a drug cartel in the Mexican border city of Juarez recently killed off a bunch of their rivals, as usual. Then left their pieces all over town.

In Toronto, a city of comparable size, the past four years have seen 277 murders. In Juarez? 8,000.

Just living there is hazard enough. Reporting there borders on a death wish, but it's one defied each day by journalists Rocio Gallegos and Sandra Rodriguez of the newspaper El Diario.

Two of their colleagues have already been killed.

But the reporting of these two women has earned them this year's Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.

We thought you'd want to hear why they risk it. Sandra Rodriguez speaks for them both.

Hear her acceptance speech