The UK and Guatemala

Dan Damon introduces analysis and wit from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition: Paul Moss on how the rioting in England showed up the fragility of its public order, while Linda Pressly sees the gruesome effects of Mexican cartel wars spilling over into Guatemalan territory.

When the public face the powers that be

Paul Moss covered street protests in North Africa earlier this year; then last week he was assigned to report on clashes between police and rioters in Britain.

Of course, in the Arab world most of the demonstrators were out to demand freedom and democracy; the motivations of those looting and fighting in the UK were considerably cloudier.

But there were strange parallels in how things played out on these very different stages.

While he's sure there's no moral equivalence at all between the two scenarios, Paul couldn't help reflecting on the similarities and the differences between those crowds in the streets.

Murder in a frontier zone

From the 1960s to the 1990s, Guatemala endured a civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The country still has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

But now there's a new and deadly threat coming from across the border - Mexican cartels muscling in on the drug and people-trafficking trades, using mass murder to mark out territory.

Linda Pressly has been to the site of a recent massacre in the northern region of Peten, close to the border with Mexico, and met the soldiers whose job it is to try to protect fearful villagers.

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10 minutes

Last on

Thu 18 Aug 2011 03:50 GMT

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