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April 28 & May 1: from Coban, Guatemala - Zimbabwe - Benghazi, Libya - Kolkata, India - Belize.

A sort of normalcy in evidence at a Benghazi market.  In "Free Libya" people are taking steps to create a new society that breaks from Gadhafi's, hoping it survives his effort to restore his rule.  Photo/Derek Stofel

In the new Free Libya, police are no longer under orders to abuse the public. The other big change is that people have hope for the future.

From India, the story of a private investigator who busts counterfeiters by day and busts out Bollywood dance moves by night. You can tell a lot about a country by its gumshoes.

Zimbabwe's contribution to the glossary of dictatorship? It's called "Smart Genocide." Less killing, more torture -- and dirty diamonds are the prize.

Guatemala calls off its state of seige against a brutal drug cartel invading from Mexico. Guess what?  A lot of people fear their own army more than the cartel.

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Radio "Free Libya" now broadcasts in the liberated east of the country. Its editors say they will criticize the Transitional Government's mistakes as they try to build a democratic society. Photo/Derek Stofel

Libya's Uprising expectations

   Despite the bombs falling on Libya, government minders like to funnel  foreign correspondents towards staged demonstrations in Tripoli in support of the leader.  

But in rebel-held Benghazi, well to the east, they're trying to craft a future in a Libya without Moammar Gadaffi. 

And change is coming fast, as we hear from the CBC's Derek Stoffel in the city's marketplace -- where hopes are high.

Listen to Derek's dispatch


Joe Bageant, poet and redneck revolutionary in Hopkin's Village, Belize. Photo/JoeBageant.com

Remembering Joe Bageant

An original voice on the journalistic landscape has gone silent.  American writer Joe Bageant died of cancer recently.

The Virginian gave his gruff take on the world a few times on this program and your email let us know you liked it.

A few years ago, he did us a piece from "Kibby's Cool Spot," a bar in Hopkin's Village, Belize -- then sent it from a laptop in the local surf shop.

Joe Bageant didn't seem to stand much on ceremony, especially in the early days of the U.S. election year of 2008.   

Joe's 2008 Dispatch from Belize

And the post-election follow-up

Joe Bageant's latest book is being issued posthumously.  It's called, with typcial reserve, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir.   It's published by Scribe.  He was 64.


Rajesh Ji, a private eye by day and Bollywood dancer by night. Stranger than fiction, but true. Photo/The Bengali Detective

The Bengali Detective

In the Indian city of Kolkata, there's this paunchy private eye with a lust for life, and an ailing wife.

Rajesh Ji may not be the world's greatest detective, but in a society where many distrust the police,  gumshoes are in growing demand.

Now in some respects, the job there is pretty much like it is anywhere. Suspicious wives who want him to tail a philandering husband, as we hear in this excerpt.

Here's a clip from the film

Rajesh P.I. also deals with issues that tell us a lot about India. He raids businesses trading in knockoffs of name brand goods. And when he's not doing that, he's herding his hapless employees into his other favorite past time: Bollywood dancing

Sounds like the makings of a jaunty little film. And director Phil Cox has made one -- called, The Bengali Detective, playing the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto this week. 


 Phil, joins us from our studio in London.


Guatemalan soldiers on patrol in the north near the border with Mexico looking for operations set up by Mexican drug cartels. Photo/Lorne Matalon

When a brutal drug cartel is better than the military

Guatemala's claiming success in its offensive against a brutal Mexican drug cartel which infiltrated its northern highlands.  

For two months this year, the army laid siege to the province where the gang's been muscling in on trafficking routes, once controlled by Guatemalan cartels.

The offensive's now been called down, but the military presence remains -- and so do questions about its effectiveness, as we hear from Canadian journalist Lorne Matalon, in the town at the centre of it all.

Listen to Lorne's documentary report now

You can view Lorne's photo gallery from Guatemala here. 


Robert Mugabe "liberated" Zimbabwe then perfected something called "smart genocide". Photo/AP

Mugabe's style: smart genocide

Peter Godwin writes about the decline in his homeland of Zimbabwe in his new book, The Fear: The Last Days Of Robert Mugabe. 

Zimbabwe has been celebrating the anniversary of its independence recently.  Thirty-one years since President Mugabe helped lead an armed revolt against white rule. 

But today, many view him as the oppressor.

Political opponents are again being attacked in the streets. Amnesty International says arbitrary detention and torture cast a shadow on anniversary celebrations.

There's been ringing condemnation from Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.  It all conicides with a standoff in parliament, where they'd negotiated a dysfunctional government of national unity between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and Morgan Tsvengarai's Movement for Democratic Change.

But Mugabe's brutality is fueled by fear, and by diamonds, according to Peter Godwin. 

And that's what the Zimbabwean journalist has written in his new book. 

Listen to Peter's interview from New York City

The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe is published by Little, Brown and Company. The author will be in Toronto to launch his book at Campbell House Museum on May 4th, 6 pm.  More detail on the above link.  

Mugabe incidentally, has been outside of Zimbabwe in one of the few countries that will still admit him. He was in Singapore this week for the fifth time since December, when he flew in for undisclosed medical treatment. 

Senzeni Na? - "What have we done?,  performed by Vusi Mahlasela and the Harmonius Serenade Choir.   Have a listen to this haunting lament

Coming up next week...

A word about a story we'll bring you next week from Rwanda, 17 years after the genocide of Tutsis and Hutus.

Officially, it's all in the past and everyone gets along now. But at the National University we hear whispers of dissent. More next week from Dispatches contributor David kattenburg.

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


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