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April 19 & April 22, 2012 - from Mexico - Cuba - Yemen - Peru - Cairo, Egypt

From our correspondents around the world...


Selioua Muhammad, 25, sits inside her rooftop shelter in Sheik Othman, Yemen. Muhammad fled her home in June 2011 and has lived at this school since then. (Photo: Lindsay Mackenzie)

The drug cartels have stolen Mexico's dignity. Journalist Luis Najera wants his back.

The new entrepreneurial Cuba. Forget what you thought it was. The Fixer's gonna show you what it is.

Then, the school everyone goes to but no one attends. Children of the Bombardment learn hard lessons in Yemen.

Plus, the View from Peru, of an extraordinary Easter re-enactment.

And, in times of war, this much is true. Everybody lies. That said, we consider the source of reporting from Syria.

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Luis Najera, the 2011/2012 recipient of the Scotiabank/CJFE Journalism Fellowship at Massey College in the University of Toronto (photo: courtesy CJFE).

Fighting for dignity in Mexico

It wasn't the dawn lineups at the food bank, or dead-end jobs cleaning toilets in Vancouver that wounded veteran Mexican journalist Luis Najera the most. 

Those were small things to someone who'd fled his country one step ahead of the murderous cartels and corrupt officials out for blood because of his reporting on the country's drug war.

It wasn't even the time he took the kids to a restaurant knowing he couldn't afford to feed his wife and himself, and when they went home to eat, a thief had stolen the only thing of value in their sparse apartment: the food.

No, what wounds Luis Najera most is the thing the drug war stole from him and his country. Rick spoke to him in the courtyard of Massey College at the University of Toronto: a world away from the crime-ridden streets of Juarez, where he used to work.

With his wife, a human resources specialist, and his three kids, he turned to Canada for the security lacking at home, even though it plunged them into into poverty.

In a few years, Luis would rise up, helped by the journalism fellowship that brought him here.

Luis Najera is a Mexican journalist. In a few days he'll finish up a journalism fellowship at Massey College in the University of Toronto, awarded by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Scotiabank.

He's now been accepted into the post-graduate program at the Munk School of Global Affairs at U. of T. in the fall. In the meantime, he's scrambling to try and raise the money to pay for it.

Cuban film maker Rolando Almirante working on a set in Old Havana. His movie documenting the roots of son music is but one of the many projects he's been able to launch with the new economic freedoms being allowed by the country's Communist regime. (Photo: Connie Watson)

Connie's Cuban fixer

When correspondents arrive in foreign countries they have to hit the ground running, and do it with the help of savvy local hires we call "fixers".

They give us the lay of the land and help us find the people and events that tell the story of the place.

But for the CBC's Latin America correspondent Connie Watson, her fixer turned out to be the story of a new kind of Cuba, even as he guided her through the Pope's recent tour of the country.

Listen to Connie's dispatch

A lesson in insecurity

The Romans called it "Arabia Felix".  Happy Arabia.

But Yemen, as it's known today, is anything but. Buffeted by rebellion and its own Arab Spring, political instability is on vivid display now that miltants have seized an entire province and sent its residents packing.

Today many live with the legacy of unrest that's driven them from their homes to refuge in distant schools where Canadian journalist Lindsay Mackenzie says the only lessons they learn, are the hard ones.

Listen to Lindsay's documentary

In the annual Easter pageant in Churubamba, Peru, the man playing Jesus has been subjected to real lashings like this one for the past 19 years. (Photo: Lori Chodos)

The View from Peru: a brutal Easter re-enactment

A quick look in on South America now, where it's better to play the Centurion than the Saviour during Easter in the Andes, as Lori Chodos discovered:

Listen to Lori's View from Here

According to the opposition activists who distributed it, this photo of building in Homs, Syria, shows damage inflicted by the government army. Many news outlets rely on photos like this when they are unable to report from inside Syria themselves (Photo: REUTERS, supplied by a third party)

Reporting on Syria: consider the source

There's something we here at Dispatches see that you don't always see at home.

It's the caution news agencies attach to some of the pictures you see from the Syrian uprising. This one for example, from Reuters earlier this week: "Video posted to a social media website" it says, "appears to show shelling in Homs as the Syrian army continues to attack rebels during the country's...truce. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT OF THIS VIDEO."

Meaning, it came from somebody we don't know hoping to influence world opinion.

With journalists having a hard time getting into Syria, activists own this story and the question is, how reliable are they?

Were the pictures staged? Selectively edited? There are reports now that some are. They're activists after all, not journalists, and they have their own agenda, which is starting to show.

Jess Hill is a Middle East correspondent who says "its becoming harder to know who and what to believe." She writes about it in the latest edition of the online newsmagazine, the Global Mail, and she joined Rick from Cairo.

Listen to Rick's conversation with Jess

And in Cairo this week, about two hundred Syrian activists gathered to denounce the Free Syrian Army for what one described as "stealing our revolution" -- turning the early non-violent protest into an armed conflict.

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This program is the work Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, and Steve McNally. With technical producers Nima Shams and Tim Lorimer. Senior producer Alan Guettel, and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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