Bookmark and Share

September 10 & 13: from San Jose, Costa Rica - Brunei - Sierras de Rocha, Uruguay - New York - Olwein, Iowa - Tegucigalpa, Honduras - New Delhi

The country where every school kid gets a laptop. You knew it would happen someday. You may be surprised as to where.

Up against the coup in Honduras. With the elected president in exile, his supporters battle for human rights.

How India lost a satellite but gained a land claim. On the moon.

Obama's Afghan problem. It looks different from Ground Zero.

Roland Jarvis and human heads in the trees. How methamphetamine got a hold on the American heartland.

And from Brunei, the gummy paste with the yummy taste. If you can get past the look of it. The tree that's making a snack comeback.

Listen to Part One

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Listen to Part Two
Download Flash Player to view this content.

Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).

 No Guns. No War. No Army

Rick spent some of his summer in Costa Rica. Here are his thoughts to begin our new season of Dispatches:

I went to Costa Rica as a tourist this time.

Unlike Manuel Zelaya, the President of Honduras, who was rousted from his bed by hooded soldiers and dropped off on a Costa Rican runway in his PJs.

More on the aftermath of that coup later in the program from our contributor Jennifer Moore.

But Costa Rica often finds itself playing a cameo in the affairs of its more volatile neighbours.

The first time I went had nothing to do with the Republic's own charms and everything to do with sneaking over its border to witness the invasion of Panama. The Americans were busy ousting former ally Manuel Noriega, who was too powerful and too close to the strategic Panama Canal.

Operation Just Cause, they called it. Within days you could buy the T-shirt.

In Costa Rica they sell one of their own that neatly underscores its unique place in the region.

"Costa Rica, it says, "No guns. No war. No army."

It's a big selling point, being the only country in Central America without a military. Eco-tourism is another.

Come for the ziplines. Stay for the monkeys.

So imagine my surprise, bobbing in the surf one day, when a couple of military helicopters come clattering overhead low and fast, doors open and skimming the jungle canopy.

Was this the Americans coming to the aid of the democratically-elected and dishonorably deposed Honduran President? They had an airbase right in Honduras, after all.

Alas for Mr Zelaya, not a chance.

They'd come looking for a lost American tourist, missing in one of Costa Rica's magnificent national parks.

His congressman back in Chicago made a couple of calls. Next thing you know, two choppers with 15 medics and crew are scanning the bush for the infra-red outline of a missing American.

And good luck to them. But that, Mr. Zelaya, is what it takes to get American airpower out of the hangar in Honduras.

Just something I noticed on my out-of-country vacation.

Latin America and Laptops

Kids with laptops
Students of Rural School 26 in Uruguay help raise the flag before class. (Photo/Alejandra Perdomo)
Now, if I asked you which country in the world is likely to be the first to issue a laptop to every child in school, would you automatically think of Uruguay?

It may be a small country of just three-and-a-half million people. But it has big ambitions for its elementary school students.

And by Christmas, all 340-thousand of them will be online, from the biggest schools to the tiniest schoolhouses, which is where the CBC's Trevor Dunn went.

Destination Moon

    Now, India's entry into the exclusive club of "Space Nations" has come to a rude ending.

Less than a year after sending a satellite on a two-year orbit of the moon, the screens suddenly went dark recently.

The voyage of the Chandrayaan-1 is over and a $100-million dollar satellite is lost.

But India is still spinning the mission as "a complete success" because -- among other things -- it planted the flag on the moon.

Journalist Pallava Bagla has been tracking his country's space program for many years and joined Rick from New Delhi to tease the politics from the science.

Pallava Bagla is the Science Editor for New Delhi Television and the author of "Destination Moon - India's Quest for Moon, Stars and Beyond."

Eight Years On: America and Afghanistan

    Eight years ago this week the nature of what it means to be American was forever altered.

Eight years since the planes hit the Twin Towers and U.S. troops were sent to hunt al-Queda in Afghanistan.

But American enthusiasm for that campaign is waning as we hear from CBC Correspondent David Common at his new post in the United States.

Honduras and Human Rights

    Leaders of the coup in Honduras are refusing to let the President back in the country despite growing international pressure to reinstate him.

Several countries have levelled diplomatic sanctions.

Including the United States, which cut off $30-million in aid and says it won't recognize the results of the next election.

But the new regime still doesn't accept the so-called San Jose Accords, endorsed by Canada among others, which would let President Manuel Zelaya back in the country with limited authority until elections in November.

He was forced from the country at gunpoint in June, prompting demonstrations and arrests that have the country's human rights movement demanding a more robust international response, as we hear now from Jennifer Moore in the capital.

Jennifer's Dispatch...


Maybe you've seen empty blister packs of cold medicines lying in piles on the ground.

Sudafed and medications like it are a key ingredient in methamphetamine, and a clue there's likely an illegal lab nearby.

But meth, or crank as it's also known, is not just another addictive street drug.

It's worse. Because it makes people crazy.

It means you feed your infant son a five-cent piece because you think it's baby food, and he winds up in surgery having it removed from his throat.

Meth "is uniquely suited to middle-America" according to journalist Nick Reding, who documents its rise in his new book entitled "Methland: The Death And Life Of An American Small Town."

A Side Order of History

    A dish made out of desperation is making a comeback in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Oil-rich Brunei is so rich, its citizens live a tax-free life of free schooling and medical care.

But a gooey tree paste known as ambuyat is finding its way back into food fashion, and Nancy Greenleese is in for a bite of history.

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall and Alison Masemann, with technical producer Victor Johnston and senior producer Alan Guettel.
  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.