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October 14 & 17, 2010: from Miami - Cuba - Arizona - Tripoli, Lebanon - Berlin - La Paz, Bolivia

The brother of Bolivian murder victim Gladys Apaza holds up photos of her and her boyfriend, and alleged killer. Photo/Ruxandra Guidi

The Dean of Gitmo reporters dishes the dirt on the weirdness of covering a court like no other.

Then, the Cuban state diet. Everybody gets fed. Just not enough, as an American journalist finds out when he goes native.

Bolivia's new revolution: tough new laws on violence against women, in a society where it's practically part of the culture.

A small matter of the missing: a new book documents the quest to identify the Balkans' war dead with DNA.

And we revisit the story of Arizona ranchers talking shoot-to-kill after one of their own is murdered on the trail of Mexican drug smugglers.

All that, plus a view from Lebanon, and some melancholy musical memory.

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The trials of covering Guantanamo

A plea deal is in being worked out in the case of Canadian Omar Khadr, who was set to go on trial next wee in Guantanamo.  

He's been held by the Americans for eight years, mostly in the prison they call "Camp Justice" in Cuba.

Guantanamo is something of a trial for journalists too, as Carol Rosenberg will tell you.

She's been called the "Dean of Gitmo correspondents."

She first went there for the Miami Herald in 2002, before the prisoners even arrived.  Put in 150 days that year alone, then quit counting.

And she has her own story to tell in this week's guest essay.

Carol's essay...

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Carol Rosenberg is a correspondent with the Miami Herald, and has been covering the Guatanamo hearings longer than any other journalist on the beat. 


The Cuban state diet

Patrick Symmes recently lost a little weight, but gained a lot of insight into how Cuba works.

He went there to live for a month on the same rations most Cubans have to live on: about $15 American worth of food. 

Put another way: most of us would be licking the crumbs from the cookie jar after 30 days of that.

Patrick's story appears in this month's edition of Harper's Magazine, and he joined Rick from New York to talk about the experience.

Rick's conversation with Patrick...

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See video from Patrick's trip to Cuba


Uneasy on the range

More than 1000 miles of fence spans the U.S. border with Mexico, in a patchwork attempt to keep out illegal immigrants.  

Earlier this year, Arizona passed the toughest immigration laws of any state in the U.S., though many are temporarily suspended by a court order.

Just this past week, a Judge cleared the way for a civil rights lawsuit to challenge the new legislation.

But Arizona ranchers are still smack in the middle of the main pipeline for illegals heading north. 

And last spring, trespassing took a deadly when a rancher was murdered. Now his neighbours sleep uneasy, as CBC correspondent Jennifer Westaway first told us in May.

Jennifer's dispatch....

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And an update to that story: the most controversial measures in Arizona's new immigration bill remain stayed by a legal challenge.  But there's going to be a hearing on that decision coming up in an Appeals Court in San Francisco, on November first.


Khao Lak, Thailand: Song from the tsunami 

Last week we asked you to email us the music that plays in your memory of a world event that touched you.

First to respond was Mary Heaton of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia with the story of a young girl named Off, who managed the beach hut Mary rented in Thailand.

Mary's View from Thailand...

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If you associate a particular piece of music with some world event or personal adventure, happy or sad, tell us why and we'll see about making it radio. 

You can find more musical memories at our View from Here blog.  

Machismo murder

The mother of Gladys Apaza, Bolivian murder victim (photo/Ruxandra Guidi).

A new law against "femicide" is expected to pass this year in Bolivia, though the prospect of 30-year sentences for men who kill a woman will be no comfort to the late Gladys Apaza.

It's viewed as a revolutionary step by some -- a misstep by others -- in a culture where domestic violence against women is on the rise, as we hear from Dispatches contributor Ruxandra Guidi, in the capital city of La Paz. 

Ruxandra's documentary...

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 The View from Tripoli, Lebanon

Listener Lea Stogdale, usually a resident of Winnipeg but travelling right now, heard our interview with Thanassis Cambanis, author of A Privilege to Die, about Hezbollah and its legions of followers in Lebanon.

She wrote:

This was Friday, October 8, and I had travelled on the local mini buses from Beirut to Tripoli, stopping at Byblos to explore the archeological site there. My non-Arabic-speaking tourist impression of Lebanon is of consumptive contrasts.

Beirut is narcissism 24-7. (Everyone has) new cars; this is where Lamborginis and Hummers actually sell. The souk (market) is now designer-label shops; Tiffany's is a minor store. Average Canadian city clothing is both shabby and conservative in comparison to the brief and slinky atop high-rise stilleto heels.

All (this), often overlooked by enormous posters of Ahmedinajad of Iran.

Tripoli has the same crazy traffic but here scarves and long loose dresses flutter along streets lined with mosques and food stalls. Everywhere the army is present: soldiers with automatic rifles walking along the streets, travelling in the buses, groups (of soldiers) in jeeps (and) tanks... Everywhere, all the time.

 Prior to my evening meal I had sat on the Sadat el Tall square with Riyadh and Amed, two older gentlemen who meet there each evening to smoke and chat. Riyadh explained to me that the large repetitive posters behind us were of the Chief of Police, placed prominently "because the people love him." Also, that the army was voluntary "because Lebanon was a democracy." Not good enough was my Arabic -- none-- or Riyahd's English -- learnt while working in Ghana -- for me to pursue these ironies.

After listening to your interview, I wonder where Lebanon's army, police force and love of conspicuous consumption fit into the intractable real estate-population-dignity-Hezbollah philosophy complex that is Lebanon?

You can find more tales from the roads travelled by our listeners -- and our correspondents -- on our View from Here blog...updated regularly.


Missing lives

Bosnian Muslim Alisa, standing inside the house where her father was killed, with her neighbours in the background (photo/¬©Nick Danziger/ICRC/Nbpictures).

In Bosnia, the bones of the dead still emerge from the mud.

The skeletons of 60 more people were recently found in the banks of  the Drina River.  Most are expected to be civilians.

Identifying the dead is serious business in Bosnia these days. 

Advances in DNA testing have encouraged thousands to provide samples in the hopes of matching a missing relative.

19,000 have been identified so far, though thousands more have not. 

Their stories are now documented in a new book called, Missing Lives, with pictures by Nick Danziger, and text by Canadian Rory MacLean, who joined Rick from Berlin.

Listen to Rick's interview with Rory...

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Missing Lives is published by Dewi Lewis Publishing in the UK, in association with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Your dispatches

Last week we brought you the story of Mike Landry, a Canadian physio-therapist who worries that by helping victims of the Haitian earthquake towards recovery, he's condemned them to suffer further. 

Sarah Bjorknas wrote from Vancouver:

I don't think there is a definitive answer to his big question, which was essentially "did we do more harm than good by saving their lives without ensuring their future care and acceptance in society?"

From my perspective, based in my belief system, I agree with George who told him that every life has value. It also might seem selfish for me, a healthy and able person, to say that everyone has something to contribute or teach us, even in their difficulty, but that's what I believe.

I also think that someone like Mike Landry can have an impact beyond his patients. I can imagine at least one person in Haiti who will hear the story of someone's recovery from a spinal injury and will be inspired by this ability to (heal), that was previously seen as miraculous. So inspired, that they may find a way to pursue an education in medicine or physical therapy. We never know where the seeds go when the wind blows.

Yvonne Zarowny wrote from Qualicum Beach, B.C. 

Thanks for your excellent story on Haiti and the physio's second thoughts. I think they are very valid. I think most "charitable" organizations, although with some good intent, are basically (there) to make the donors feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, too few do the reflection of your guest. Also, too few are them prompted to ask: why did such conditions exist and why do they persist?

Charity is short-term and needed in emergencies. True self-determining development is long term and requires us rethinking our dominant models of development which includes our current dominant economies.

And from Richmond Hill in Ontario, listener Yvonne Philpott, writes directly to him. 

Dear Mike:

Thank you for bringing your serious questions to Dispatches...it is significant that you follow your heart, and give expression to your compassion in the way you do.

...you did what you could. Later they were taken to the place their heart longed for: home, family -- or what was left of it. ...you would like to give them a perfect future.

But that is beyond your scope. It's okay to be just you...Each one of us can only do the best we can. The point, is the actual doing...

 Email your thoughts about the program to dispatches@cbc.ca

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally and intern Gene Law,  with technical producer Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel, and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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