Saturday, October 27, 2007

Daily notes continue. Friday morning:

Friday Oct 19th

06am: Still jet-leg, wake up before the alarm clock. Discover that battery charger for video camera is not working, which means both batteries are flat. Stress! We are supposed to be picked up by Marisela 9:40am to come with her to a breakfast meeting with one of the mothers. The mother is going to a conference in Spain on Femicides. We find a Radioshack, and we are outside the store 10 min before it opens. Cold morning air, we are freezing. Marcela buys two shawls, identical except one brown and one black. Radioshack has a battery charger, we are getting late for our appointment. The guy in the store starts charging the battery while we rush back to the hotel to get the rest of our stuff. The hotel shuttle takes us back to the border with a stop at the store to get the battery….

10:00 Late, but we are in Juarez. Marisela cannot stop just across the border so they are driving in circles. While we wait for them, I take some photos. A man approaches us, interested in why we take photos. Turns out he is a teacher at a high school in Juarez. We talk a little bit about the current situation. He is concerned that the good things that also happen in Juarez are getting drowned in the tragedies. You have to believe in change and also see how corruption and injustice is not only happening in Juarez but all over the world. We exchange contact info and Marisela is there.

11:00 Our next stop is in a typical northern Mexican café, where we will meet Julia. Her daughter was killed 13 years ago. Marisela is meeting her to go over the details for her upcoming trip to Madrid, where she is going to talk about the situation in Juarez in a conference on femicides. The restaurant has a bar in the center, where I see many men sitting drinking coffee, reading the newspaper. There are mirrors on all the walls and the tables are set in booths. Marisela orders typical Mexican coffee with hot milk for us. Julia comes and while we wait for the food, Marisela and Julia go over the details. This is not the first time Juila is going overseas. When the Hollywood movie “Bordertown” was filmed, Marisela and her organization were contacted by the film director. He wanted to interview her and mothers of victims to try to capture the essence of the situation. When the movie was finished there was a pre-screening in Juarez to ensure no one was offended or felt the situation presented wrongly. They all concluded though, that the movie only presented a surface of the reality and didn’t capture what really was going on. Some of the mothers, Marisela and her family were invited to the opening of the movie in Berlin(?) They all totally connected to Banderas, who they found to be very honest, warm and caring. He walked down the “red carpet” with one mother on each side and never left their side throughout the evening. Through someone in the film team they also learned he had not charged anything to do the movie (Marcela and I concluded it would have been much better if he had, and given the money as support to the mothers…)

They are still waiting for a reply to a request Marisela gave Jenifer Lopez. The request was for money to help the children of the victims through school….

Julia tells her story to us. The killer of her daughter was the daughter’s husband. Although the evidence was clear, it took 10 years fight to get him condemned. He was sentenced to 9 years of jail. With good behavior he can be out after 4 years, which is in one year. The husband was involved in drug trafficking. His family has continued to threaten Julia and the 6 children the daughter left behind. The children have been beaten up, Julia’s husband has had to close down the store he had due to repeated threats also with guns, all from members of this family. The police do nothing. Julia and her family have applied for an asylum in Canada, through Amnesty International.


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