Entertainment

A Desperate Mother Makes A Heartbreaking Decision In ‘Paper Boats’ To Spare Her Children From Immigration Policy Realities

While the country is rightly outraged at the current administration’s family separation policies that place children in concentration camps, “Paper Boats” offers the alternative storyline. Directed by Yago Muñoz, “Paper Boats” is a story about three young siblings who grew up in New York City, forced to move to México with their grumpy abuelo to avoid being placed in the foster system as their mother, Alma, faces deportation. Carolina, José, and Tomás, learn to navigate going from the city jungle of New York to the middle of nowhere desert in México with their abuelo who doesn’t understand English.

The first scenes of the trailer are as idyllic as it gets.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The cityscape of New York at night lingers as we hear a young girl’s whisper, “Let’s go wake up mommy.” Three children, one in a princess costume, rush to wake up their young mother, Alba, by trampling all over her in bed. Laughter. She chases after them as they run to the park for ice cream. Then, we hear Alba’s voice, “Will I get deported?”

The first scenes feel familial–a Latino family comfortable in their New York City lives.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

“Paper Boats” seems to scream the possibility of familial feeling in highly contrasted situations. Alba stands staring at a subway as it zooms past her, as industrious as New York is known to be. We hear Alba bargain with her lawyer, “But I didn’t do anything wrong.” He tells her, “Alba, you crossed the border illegally ten years ago. It’s time to think of your children.” She needs to find a guardian that she trusts to care for the children, because the government can legally take away her children, American citizens, given that she committed the crime of crossing the border.

In seeming total contrast with Alba and the New York subway system is Alba’s father, Jorge, staring out over the vast Mexican desert.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

Jorge and Alba’s relationship is strained over border policies. She crossed to give her kids a better life, but it meant that she couldn’t return to México for her own mother’s funeral. Jorge still doesn’t understand why she left, and why she didn’t come back. Jorge’s grown comfortable with his isolated ranchero lifestyle, fishing by trade, and enjoying the solitude of the desert by night. 

Suddenly, Jorge must care for his three grandchildren, whom he’s never met, and he’s grisly about it.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

He doesn’t seem to take the responsibilities too seriously and even arrives at the airport late. These darkened silhouettes of strangers meeting for the first time invariably illuminates as the familial bonds are formed. It takes a while though.

“No te entiendo!” he shouts at los niños their first night with him. 

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The kids try to explain that they don’t eat fish and that the youngest has dietary restrictions. The three jóvenes and their abuelo end up staring blankly at each other–one side not understanding why they won’t eat, and the other not understanding why they aren’t being fed.

At first, the viewer is concerned that Jorge just tosses three young kids in the back of a pickup truck, but then it becomes delightful.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

We watch the children’s lives with a protective mother in the streets of New York transform into campo kids, wearing cowboy hats and even peeing out the back of a pickup truck. Imagine any of our mothers letting us do that. No puedo.

A new understanding of family is born, and we enjoy it fleetingly.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

As the novelty of the desert and their upended lives weans, the children miss their mother. The adult audience understands that the immigration system is complicated, winding, and unjust, but “Paper Boats” is telling the story through the lens of a child. There’s no anger at the system, or even the sound of Trump narrating in the background, “When Mexico sends their people, they’re not you, or you.” There’s just grief.

The brave children pack their bags and wander into the desert, following the railroad to find their mother.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The trailer trails off as we see Jorge go after the children the next morning. But, like paper boats, the journey home is often undertaken by the current of the journey itself.

READ: A Border Vigilante Hunts Down Immigrants In The Intense Trailer For ‘Desierto’

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Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

Culture

Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

VV Nincic / Flickr

Covid-19 has ended a lot of stuff for a lot of people. The most obvious change has been to international travel, especially for Americans. As the virus has spread widely across the U.S. countries have put a halt to allowing American tourist within their border, but not Mexico.

Covid-19 has severly depreciated the American passport.

Once capable of unlocking so many countries, the U.S. passport is no longer helping Americans travel abroad. Instead, the American passport has now become a hindrance for global travelers. Most countries have placed restrictions on American tourists making the U.S. passport one of the weakest.

The countries banning the U.S. are doing so because of the state of the virus in the country.

There have been more than 7 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 200,000 deaths from the virus. The U.S. remains the worst hit country and the global epicenter of the deadly virus. Many blame the lack of a national strategy to properly close down, test citizens, and contact trace those who have been exposed as the reason the virus has been so devastating in the U.S.

The various travel bans have kept families apart.

Other nations went into mush stricter lockdowns that the U.S. and got a handle of the virus. European countries have gotten the virus under control after months and the U.S. continues to see a large number of new cases daily.

One of the countries allowing Americans to visit is Mexico.

Mexico is heavily reliant on the money made from the tourism industry. According to official statistics, the tourism industry is the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Major tourist destinations like Cabo and Cancún saw dramatic dips in tourism leading to national and local figures to sound the alarm. According to The Washington Post, the questions was posed about when to allow the tourists from the U.S. back, not should they.

Los Cabos is one of the hardest-hit tourist destinations.

The tourist destination saw a severe decline in tourists during one of the busiest times of the year. According to The Washington Post, the resort city has lost 80 percent of its revenue because of Covid-19. The virus has brought financial devastation to people across the world and the cities they live in aren’t immune to failing themselves.

“It’s life or death for us,” Rodrigo Esponda, the head of the Los Cabos tourism board, told The Washington Post. “There’s nothing else here. No industrial production. No farming or commercial fishing. It’s tourism or nothing.”

Yet, Los Cabos should be a warning sign to the rest of Mexico.

Cases in Baja California, the state where Los Cabos is located, saw new Covid case numbers triple from 50 a day to 150. The increase in infections is to be expected as the state rolled out the welcome mat for Americans coming to visit the resort town.

“There are some residents who say, ‘Why put my family’s life in danger by inviting more visitors, restarting more flights?’” Luis Humberto Araiza López, tourism minister of Baja California Sur, told The Washington Post. “It’s a delicate line between trying to support public health and economic growth.”

Despite this, there are some countries that Americans can travel to.

The countries Americans can travel to without Covid restrictions are Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Zambia. As the world continues to open up, Americans who travel abroad are waiting for the U.S. government to get the virus under control. Until then, the U.S. passport is not the same it used to be.

READ: The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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