Friday, August 6, 2010

Train of Death

CNN has a video on "World's Untold Stories: La Bestia" up on its website.  It's worth checking out.  There are three parts to it but each is only a few minutes long.

La Bestia tells the story of Jessica Ochoa, a young girl from El Salvador (If the video doesn't work try here).  Jessica was seriously injured in Mexico in February 2009 while attempting to make it to the United States.  (Parts II and III)

There are several interesting stories depicted in the clips.  One of the things that stood out for me is the fact that the young people traveling north frequently said that they were heading to the US so that they could send money home to help their parents, typically to buy them a house or to cover medical bills.  They weren't coming to live the American Dream.

I'm sure that is part of their motivation, but it should just remind everyone that it's not all the pull of the U.S. that is forcing people to embark upon a journey north that they know might lead them to be robbed, beaten, raped, or killed, but conditions in their home country.  How to square this with how happy the people in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are is beyond me.  

The danger depicted in the video is also a reason why some of the NGOs I met with in El Salvador were trying to convince people to reconsider making the trip to El Norte.

The story reminds me of De Nadie.  I've shown this film at the university (80 minutes) and it's pretty powerful for students.  However, the Bestia clips might work better for 50 and 75 minute classes.

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