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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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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