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/ 4 April 2008

Slums locked in violence

Jamaica has abandoned its ghettoes to violent crime and shocking levels of police brutality, leaving communities terrorised and bereft of hope, according to a report. Armed gangs and corrupt police units have turned inner cities into arenas of mayhem and impunity, Amnesty International says in a report published last week.

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/ 18 February 2008

The ‘Sandalistas’ who never left

It was the 1980s and Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution was captivating hearts and minds around the world. The olive-uniformed guerrillas had overthrown the hated Somoza dictatorship and were trying to build a more equal society by empowering women, giving peasants land and teaching the illiterate to read.

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/ 5 February 2008

Sex work or no work

What Natasha does on the bed in the dingy room with flaking orange paint so shames her she cannot bring herself to use the word. She calls it "so and so" and sells it here from midday to midnight, six days a week. On a very good day she makes £45. With each 30-minute session earning £2,50 that works out at 18 different men, many drunk, some violent. She tries to forget the very good days.

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/ 3 December 2007

Diary of a Dutch rebel

"I’m tired, tired of Farc, tired of the people, tired of communal life. Tired of never having anything for myself. It would be worth it if we knew why we were fighting. But the truth is I don’t believe in this any more." So wrote Tanja Nijmeijer, a 29-year-old, middle-class Dutch woman who is among a handful of Europeans who joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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/ 15 October 2007

Cocaine galore!

Centuries of troubles have bobbed on the waves off the Mosquito Coast: Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquest, pirates, slave ships. For the fishing villages scattered across these remote central American shores there was seldom reason to welcome visits from the outside world.

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/ 1 October 2007

Felix’s destruction goes on

It is no longer a rainforest but a tree cemetery. As far as the eye can see there are uprooted, bare and broken trunks. The canopy, a roof of foliage so lush you could walk over it, is gone. The few remaining bits of green are no bigger than broccoli. This is the aftermath of Hurricane Felix along Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast. A smell of decay shrouds the landscape.

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/ 11 September 2007

Spirit of Che rises again

When the haggard and broken figure was laid out on the slab and displayed to the world it was not just Che Guevara who had died. The dream of socialist revolution in South America was over. His image and name would continue to inspire millions but on the continent he wanted to transform he was a political failure, a defeated guerrilla on the wrong side of history.