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View Diary: How Mexico Handles Illegal Immigrants (165 comments)

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  •  there is a great movie (5+ / 0-)

    called Sin Nombre that follows two Central Americans as they travel through Mexico on their way to the US.  Definitely worth a look.

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

    by gravlax on Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 04:58:17 PM PDT

    •  Not really representative of Mexico (3+ / 0-)

      as a nation. But a great movie.

      •  thanks for the clarification YucatanMan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, YucatanMan

        It's always hard to know how much of the real world is reflected in a movie

        "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

        by gravlax on Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 06:32:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my experience, the poorest Mexican in the most (9+ / 0-)

          humble hut would rather invite you in to eat the last of the family's food than be seen as unkind.

          The movie is about brutality - how immigrants wishing to pass through Mexico are abused as they ride trains along the way.

          While that is true: there are gangs who prey on immigrants; it is not reflective of the nation as a whole.

          Here's a little story:

          After Hurricane Isadoro (Isadore in the USA), I helped with food distribution in remote, rural area of Yucatan. My god.  What noble people.  They put Americans to shame with their dignity and warmth.

          We came upon the site of a former thatched palm hut: the house is gone - blown away.  The chickens and family dog are dead - drowned in the torrential rains.

          The children are alive but without a single change of clothes - blown away. The father is hacking at branches and beginning to rebuild the hut. Mom is stooped over a comal and then over three stones upon which they boil some greens they've gathered from the flattened jungle vegetation. Their clothes, shoes, belongings, beans, salt, cooking oil, meat is all gone - blown away or destroyed.  They have, literally, nothing but their lives, a machete and a cooking pot.  

          It is a scene of utter desperation, but no one is crying.

          The children are giggling and playing. Mom and dad idly chat as each goes about their work.

          We drive up in a Dodge 4X4.  Dad and mom stop working and look our way. As we open the doors, dad calls out, "Hola! Buenos dias! Como esta ustedes?"

          They have nothing. And he is asking me, well-clothed with shoes, in a huge truck, "Good day! How are you guys?"  (What? No weeping, screaming, gnashing of teeth, complaining?) Here we are, obviously wealthy beyond dreams in comparison just for our work boots alone and HE is asking ME, "How are you doing?"

          We walk over to talk. "Tenemos dispensas para ustedes." (We have supplies for you.)  The children look over.

          Mom looks curious but wary. They've always lived off the land. Here someone is bringing them something after a massive hurricane that beat the peninsula into submission for a period of 24 hours as it made a lazy circle over the Yucatan.

          We go to the truck. Dad comes with and the children come to mom without being told. Under the tarp are cartons of "dispensas" - emergency food rations.  Each carton contains salt, lard, beans, rice, cooking oil, plastic bowls and a plastic pail. Because of their distance from town and their total lack of transportation, we break the rules and give them two cartons. And we tell dad that more will be available in the pueblo on Wednesday. Just go to city hall and they will be handed out.

          (It is over 12 kilometers to the pueblo. They will have to walk without shoes. He had a bicycle but it disappeared during the storm. They will have to carry the heavy cartons back home from city hall, walking 12 more kilometers.)

          When we set them down on a rock near the fire, mom begins to thank us, "Gracias! Gracias a ustedes. Gracias. Muchas gracias."  It's just a cardboard box of the simplest food, but she is overjoyed. It's like I've given her a diamond ring and she's a new princess. What a smile!

          We chat a bit longer.  "How did you ride out the storm," my companion asks?

          "Well, we put the children in that 55 gallon drum over there."

          They inverted the drum over the two kids. Then mom and dad wrapped their arms around the oil drum and held on for dear life.

          For 24 hours of wind, flying projectiles, sand that burns your skin, leaves that cut like a knife. They just sat in their hut as it fell apart and vanished into the wind. And held on.

          It wasn't until then that I noticed their wounds. Little cuts, scrapes, gashes covered every part of exposed skin on the adults. But the kids were injury-free. Not a scratch.

          After a bit more conversation and double-confirming no one needed medical care, we were off to find the next family on the jungle track of a road.

          Riding in the truck, I bawled my heart out and I'm an old calloused SOB. Never seen anything like it in my entire life. Put the kids in an oil drum and held on for dear life. Christ almighty, how did they do it for 24 hours?  

          (I was behind 2 ft thick stone and reinforced concrete walls through the hurricane and I thought that was bad - just the sound from the wind and rain and projectiles.)

          And at the next spot, much of the same.
          And the next one.
          And the next one.
          And the next one.....

          And for two more weeks, and the next one, and the next one...

          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

          Fuck anyone who wants to abuse people like that.
          t-baggers can go to hell.

          •  thanks for that YucatanMan (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, YucatanMan

            heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time

            I'm kinda speechless

            "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

            by gravlax on Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 08:31:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I wish (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, YucatanMan, la urracca

            I could give you a big hug because this e-hug is just ridiculous:


            It is people like these who will survive what the next century will put us all through, not just because they are warm and friendly and gracious; but because they have so often had nothing they can make everything they need from it.

            Your strength, their strength, is what will survive.

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