Posts Tagged ‘video’
Anyone with even a passing interest in Latin American art and culture will have heard of Diego Rivera, the Mexican painter and muralist. Rivera, who is credited with being one of the founders of the Mexican muralist art movement, was also an active communist and the husband of the equally famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo and Cuernavaca here in Mexico, as well as in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. Mexico City’s Palacio Pacional, or National Palace, is home to some of the paintings that Rivera did under government commission, and those works are currently the focus of a restoration project by the federal government.
Diligent specialists are touching up missing color with watercolor paints, and using a weak alcohol solution to wash away dust and grime that the murals have collected.The restoration program is expected to be completed in September.
See the video for more.
– Deborah Bonello in Mexico City for the Los Angeles Times.
Video: Specialists restore Diego Rivera’s murals in Mexico City’s Palacio Nacional. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times.
Mexico’s “Museum of Drugs,” buried up on the seventh floor of the Defence Ministry, isn’t open to the public. The installation was designed as an educational tool for military personnel who have been tasked with fighting Mexico’s narco-trafficantes and organized crime networks. It explains the methods that drug traffickers use to get their product around and out of the country, as well as the strategies that the army employs to try and stop them.
In El Alberto, a small village over 1000km from the border between Mexico and the US, tourists can pay to experience what it’s like being an illegal migrant. MexicoReporter.com accompanied the Guardian’s Jo Tuckman to film the video for her piece on the fake border crossing, where participants try to enter “America”.
Julio Cesar, a 19-year-old metalworker, crawled on his knees for five hours to reach the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Surrounded by four of his friends, who had to physically support him in the final meters as he scaled the steps of the huge church, Cesar was fulfilling a promise.
“I asked the Virgin to look after my children,” he said, his young face burned red by the sun on this December day. His prayers were answered, he said, and this was his act of thanks to her.
Cesar was one of an estimated 7 million Mexican Catholics who made the annual pilgrimage to the basilica in Mexico City this week. Today is expected to bring the largest numbers of people to the spot that tradition holds is where the Virgin de Guadalupe, Mexico’s most revered saint, first appeared.
Bertin Nava, a salesman, and his girlfriend Mayra Sanchez, a hairdresser, both from the working class Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City, walked hand in hand towards the church. Each of them had a small statue of the Virgin tucked under an arm.
“This is a family tradition. My father started coming when I was small and started the custom of coming every year, walking from the house to here,” said Nava.
He and Mayra had been walking for six hours. Nearby, Ricardo Lozano walked for two and a half days from Atlixco, in the central state of Puebla. He arrived Thursday. He had a thick blanket rolled and tied to his back, and walked gingerly on feet rubbed raw by his boots.
But he was in high spirits.
“I have a strong faith and wanted to make the journey to the Virgin,” he said.
Two churches actually stand on Tepeyac hill in the north of Mexico City, known as La Villa de Guadalupe – the old and the new basilicas. Both were besieged by visitors Thursday, many of them with heavy, wooden-framed effigies of the Virgin tied to their backs.
The show of faith was a formidable sight.
Image: Julio Cesar, a 19-year-old metalworker, crawled on his knees for five hours yesterday to reach the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times. Go to Flickr to see more photos of the annual pilgrimage.
When thieves brandishing handguns broke into Ignacio Villanueva’s bulldog breeding kennels on the outskirts of Mexico City, it wasn’t the safe they were after but Cinderella, Titiana, Adelita and a handful of other dogs and puppies.
A gang of robbers who forced their way into the home of Jesus Guerrero’s business partner went straight for Kissi, Mexico’s number one Yorkshire Terrier. And Suleika Lara had to give up Valentina, her pure bred Yorkshire Terrier puppy, at gunpoint when she was on her way to see her vet in the middle-class Mexico City neighborhood of Del Valle.
Reports of dog theft are increasing around Mexico City, which is already struggling with dire crime levels and high kidnapping rates of people.
There have been 50 dog thefts so far this year reported to Mexico’s Canine Federation (la Federación Canófila Mexicana).
“They’re snatching dogs out of cars like they would a handbag,” said Villanueva, whose kennels were robbed in early October. The thieves took 13 of his bulldogs after tying up his employees at gunpoint.
“I felt like they’d robbed me of 12 years of my life.”
Pure-bred dogs such as bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier puppies sell for more than $2,000 when accompanied by the right documents, and they can go for around a quarter of that price without documentation.
“Bulldogs are a pretty expensive race in comparison with other dogs,” said Villanueva.
“They stole them to make some easy money.”
When Villanueva got no response from the police after reporting the theft, he decided to take matters into his own hands, offering a reward of more than 200,000 pesos (more than $15,000) for information leading to the dogs’ whereabouts. An anonymous phone call sent him to a house where the dogs were, and Villanueva headed there with his partner, Viviana.
“I have a gun at home, for self-defense. I took it with me,” he said.
Luckily, he didn’t have to use it. The police offered their help when they discovered there was a reward on offer, and Villanueva got his dogs back (see the video). But not everyone’s story has had such a happy ending.
Kissi, Jesus Guerrero’s prize-winning pooch, was just 20 months old when she was stolen earlier this month after thieves broke into the house of Guerrero’s business partner.
“They knew exactly what they were looking for,” he said.
There were five other dogs in the house at the time, he explains, but none of them were touched.
Rossy Bernabé, director of the Committee for the Dignified Treatment of Animals (Comite Por Un Trato Digno Para Los Animales in Spanish) says that her organization now receives at least three reports of stolen dogs per month.
“Now it’s not only pure race breeds, now it’s adopted dogs, non-pure race dogs,” said Bernabé.
Family mutts are also targeted with the intention, she says, of demanding a ransom for their safe return.
Fernando Paredes, a veterinarian, paid 1,000 pesos (about $80) for the safe return of his Chihuahua Goya, according to a report in El Universal newspaper.
“In many cases, the dogs are part of the family. There are families who don’t have children so our animals, our pets, they’re not substitutes for children but they’re the same thing,” explained Bernabé.
The attitude of the police does nothing to discourage the theft of dogs, said Amaranta Guerrero, who owns an animal sanctuary. In April, two young boys tried to snatch her French poodle Claudio when they were taking a walk in the park. Luckily, Claudio put up a struggle and escaped, but Guerrero said that when she reported it to the police, they weren’t interested.
“The thieves know that they can do what they like and no one is going to punish them. They’re never going to be punished for stealing dogs,” said Guerrero.
Suleika Lara said that when her Yorkshire Terrier puppy Valentina was snatched by two gun-wielding men on the street, there were two police officers a short distance away who didn’t seem to notice anything happening.
“The thieves got away. I went to report the crime, but they said it was absurd that I was trying to report the theft of a dog.”
The police could argue that they already have their hands so full looking for kidnapped people in Mexico City that they don’t have time to worry about stolen dogs.
So it looks like owners like Jesus Guerrero will just have to suffer in silence.
He said: “It’s a sadness that I carry in my soul – she’s not a dog, she’s a part of my life.”
This article was written for La Plaza, the Latin America blog of the Los Angeles Times.
The sound of street-sellers peddling their wares is a constant in Mexico City, and none more so than the seller of tamales – a traditional, Mexican corncake.
I managed to catch one of my local tamale-sellers on camera.
You hear it from a block away: an amplified, singsong call with an uncanny power to slice through the urban din. The tone is cheap and tinny — as kitschy as a sound can be.
And it’s my favorite in Mexico City.
Listen now, as it nears, the nasal-toned male voice stretching out syllables and pauses, again and again, into a verse so familiar it could be the unofficial anthem of this vast city, a kind of culinary call to prayer.
“Ri-costa-ma-les oaxa-que-ños!” blares a loudspeaker on the vendor’s tamale cart. “Tamales oaxaqueños!” “Tamales calien-ti-tos!”
As we hinted at earlier in the week, guerrilla-knitter Magda Sayeg of KnittaPlease.com hit the streets of Mexico City to take on her biggest challenge yet. It was her task to cover an entire bus with knitting, as is her style, and we caught up with her just as she was completing her task.
Organ grinders get in on the tagging action
Mexico City’s Zocalo isn’t immune to Sayeg’s touch
You can read more about KnittaPlease in the Art issue of Inside Mexico, which you can download here.
Images by Deborah Bonello.
Edited November 20th, 2008, 1:18pm local time. Link to Inside Mexico added.
The Gutierrez Renteria family arrived early at the Panteon Frances (the French Cemetery) in Mexico City on Saturday morning. They had a lot to do to honor their dead loved ones in recognition of Dia De Los Muertos.
Rafael Bucio was waiting for his mother on the corner of the streets Madero and Quintana Roo in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico Monday night as the city reveled in its Independence Day celebrations.
Behind him, his wife Gloria Alvarez stood in the street with their three-month old child in her arms and their seven-year old daughter Jannyfer nearby. The three of them watched the fireworks going off, looking up into the cool night sky, whilst their father waited for their grandmother.
They didn’t know that their lives were about to change forever.
“Lots of ambulances and patrol cars started to pass by going to the center – to the cathedral,” explained Bucio Wednesday afternoon from a hospital bed, broken bones in his arm and leg held together by pins. Blood seeped through the bandages onto the white cotton sheet covering the bed.
He was moving closer to his wife, away from the street corner, when he heard a thump.
“There was a patrol car parked in the street blocking the cars – a transport patrol – and I heard something hit the patrol car. So I turned round to see and something rolled…when it stopped I realized that it was a grenade.
It went off, catapulting Bucio back two meters and onto the ground.
When he came to, he could see his wife unconscious on the street in front of him, and Jannyfer on her knees, her face covered in blood, screaming for him to help her.
“I saw my wife and I thought that she was already dead but no – she was still alive. She died here, in the emergency room.”
Gloria Alvarez was one of seven lives that were claimed by the two explosions in the city – evidence of which was still obvious to my colleague and I when we arrived there Wednesday to report on the bombs’ aftermath.
The main plaza, where the first bomb had exploded, was sealed off to the public. Heavily armed soldiers guarded the perimeter. Beyond them, men in white boiler suits picked their way around shoes, socks and more unrecognizable debris and mess left by the grenade blast that went off when Governor Leonel Godoy gave the traditional cry of independence “Viva Mexico!” on Monday evening.
The majority of people on the plaza that night didn’t even realize that there had been an explosion – the noise of music and fireworks hid the bang that sent projectiles flying into the feet and legs of people crowded.
Eerily, television pictures from that night show how the music kept playing and the fireworks kept firing whilst paramedics picked their way around the dead and injured just a few meters away from revelers.
Bucio, who was hit by the second explosion a few blocks away, didn’t know that the first grenade had gone off minutes before. He said the fireworks got confused with the bangs from the bombs.
On Wednesday, the street corner where his wife had been fatally wounded and he seriously injured had been cordoned off by plastic tape. There was what looked like old, red tar on the street, starting about a meter out from the kerb. It was dried blood – when it was fresh it had been spilled in the road and then run down the little hill towards the gutter.
On the pavement were more bloodstains. In one of the small patches of sticky, red gunk was a long lock of dark, curly hair – one end stuck hard in the red glue and the other moving around in the wind.
Bucio thinks that the person who threw the second grenade was aiming for the police, but that it bounced off the patrol car and into the crowd. Two people died from that blast – Bucio’s wife and another person, as yet unidentified, who fell down next to her.
In the wall of the curtain shop in front of which the grenade went off, shrapnel marks were visible in the stone – where pieces of the grenade had flown off and dug in.
Who is responsible for the attack? The favourite culprit is Mexico’s big bag narcotraffickers, who you can’t have helped but notice are the focus of a crackdown by President Felipe Calderon who has dispatched 40,000 soldiers and 5,00 federal police to try to secure vast swathes of the country.
But setting off two bombs in a public place seems an odd thing to do for illicit networks that rely on the cooperative silence of significant parts of the civilian population to survive. It would seem they are shooting themselves in the foot by targeting innocent civilians – no matter how desperate they are to deal a heavy blow to Calderon, who is from the state of Michoacan – one of Mexico’s most drug-ridden.
The drug-cartels have access to cash and weaponry that could create an attack far more sophisticated than a simple grenade. The whole set-up from Monday night – during which a man dressed in black moved through the crowd saying “Perdoname, perdoname (forgive me, forgive me),” before throwing the first grenade – seems far too amateur and unprofessional.
Then again – maybe that could be part of their strategy, making the attack look like a fudged, low-budget affair.
It could just have been a couple of whackos, or perhaps even a whole new network in Mexico that we yet know nothing about.
Sadly, as is so often the case in this country, all one can really do is speculate. At the time of writing, the authorities had made three arrests in connection with Monday’s bombing.
Due to the pressure that Calderon is under to provide a head for the attacks – pressure which builds each day that his administration proves itself so useless in improving the level of security in the country posed not only by the drug cartels but soaring crime and kidnapping levels – the reliability of these arrests is highly dubious.
The Huamantlada pits man against beast in potentially disastrous circumstances. The annual event, which takes place in the otherwise sleepy town of Huamantla in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, saw 24 bulls let loose in the town’s narrow, uneven streets to be confronted by locals and visitors alike – many of which had been drinking since early in the morning on what was a scorching hot day.
My loyal readers may remember the Huamantlada from last year – the film we made has proved one of our most watched and the coverage was one of the earliest missions of MexicoReporter.com – then known as NewCorrespondent.com. Well, this year I was back – for the Los Angeles Times this time around – and I wanted to apply my new video training to the event which had proved entertaining 12 months ago, although a little hard to watch. One man had died and there were 24 injuries during the 2007 event.
Everything was for sale as Ulises and I made our way through the throng of men, women, children and babies come to watch the show: tacos, tequila glasses, hats for the sun, balloons, toy torros, headbands with horns attached, cigarettes, sweets and lollipops, chewing gum, t-shirts, pulque (Mexican moonshine), tamales, corn-on-the-cob, beers made into spicy micheladas (condimented with chile, Tabasco sauce, Worcester sauce and other ingredients that can work their way through the walls of one’s stomach), caramelized peanuts, chopped fruit, ice-cream, ink-stamps of bulls for children’s faces, bright squishy toy balls and even mouth organs.
The sound of hammering could be heard all around as the men from the town constructed the make-shift bleachers / stall seating that lined both sides of the streets that would transform into temporary (torture) pens for the bulls later that afternoon. Most of the seats were just thick planks of wood lain along wooden scaffolding. Sol beer branded boards ran along their front – protecting the families behind them from the frenzied street activity to come.
The incessant chatter of friends and family mixed with the hammering, along with the drunken chanting and laughter of the inebriated. The woman at the taco stand, fruit-sellers, a boy selling tequila glasses and a boy who proffered toy torros were all happy to be filmed, and there was lots of environmental action to catch on tape before midday, when the bulls were released.
Francisco Hernandez Villera was hanging out in the street with his friends, bending his knees and practicing postures with an old and faded pink cape that had no doubt seen more glorious days than today would prove to be. Slight of build and 24 years old, this was his eighth year at the Huamantlada, but luckily he had yet to acquire the scares to prove it. It’s a big adrenalin rush, he told us, because of the audience more than anything.
“They apply a lot of pressure,” he said.
Come eleven, the stalls were filling up and we needed to bag a seat. It proved difficult – most of them were already full. We ended up on the third row back on the north side of the street Juarez, flanked top and bottom by a group of girls and then boys respectively hell bent on having a good time. I was annoyed with our positioning, and wanted to be closer to the action. Ulises chatted with Laura Pimentel, a young teacher who befriended us and – who despite being a vegetarian for moral reasons came to watch the show for fun with her mates. She said many of them had been coming to the feria since they were children. But I was distracted, looking around for a better place to be.
A firework sounded and a rowdy roar came up from the crowd. It was close to kick-off. From where we were, I could see up and down the street at least 200 yards each way, and the people still in the street drinking and laughing suddenly parted like the red sea as men tried to jump into the stalls out of the path of the 500 kilo black bull who ran through the masses. The enormous animal shone magnificently in the sun and looked utterly confused.
And so the games began.
Contrary to last year, when I have to admit I spent the first 15 minutes hyperventilating, I adjusted pretty soon to the risk factor and the knowledge that everyone standing around in the street was only five seconds away from a violent and painful death. My sympathies were a hundred per cent with the animal, who was surrounded by humans mad with booze and testosterone. I cringed internally as I watched a man kneel down, arms outstretched, in front of the confused animal as the crowd egged him on. The bull would only have to step forward a meter and toss its horns to change this man’s life forever.
I was annoyed with my limited angles for shooting – where we were positioned allowed me very little movement because of the groups of people above and below us.
I was pondering a move down into the street when the bull tore past once again, men scattering every which way in front of him. Once of them tumbled to the ground but the bull – too distraught to focus – passed him by. Girls screamed hysterically. The whole thing gave me the creeps in a way it hadn’t last year.
I looked towards the opening in the wall that separated the stalls from the street – maybe I could slip through there and just run out of the way when things got hairy? But the entrance was blocked by drunken men, smoking and watching for the bull to tear by again at which point they piled through the gap out of harm’s way. I didn’t fancy the challenge, nor my expensive new LATimes camera’s chances of getting safely out of the way in time.
So I stayed put – this story simply wasn’t one worth risking my life and my gear for.
After tormenting the bulls for a couple of hours, they were roped in and dragged, pushed and beaten into the metal crates from which they had emerged. Pimentel, our friend in the stalls, told us that they would be taken away to be killed. Once a bull has been in the ring with a human, he can learn how to charge and fight – these bulls had already had too much experience now to be ‘safe’ to torrear (bullfight). The name matador – that given to professional bullfighters – suddenly made sense. It means, literally, ‘killer.
The results of the shooting you’ll see in a day or so once the film is done in editing.
It occurred to me that many of you may as yet have not seen the last few minutes of the life of journalist Brad Will – he taped his own shooting. It is strong stuff: be warned. This is a link to the video on YouTube.
Los Angeles Times: Supporters of journalist Carmen Aristegui say the cancellation of her radio program poses a threat to the country’s move toward greater democracy.
Witness, the human rights organization co-founded by Peter Gabriel, launched an online community portal last week encouraging people around the world –activities, journalists, students, organizations and the public – to witness and document human rights violations using video.
The online tool is capitalizing on the huge importance of the internet as an information channel and as an enabler for reportage. (more…)
Groups demanding justice for the murder of U.S journalist Brad Will, who was shot dead in Oaxaca, Mexico on this day last year, are opposing the $1.4 billion security proposal put forward by President George Bush this week as part of an initiative to help the country fight its illegal drugs trafficking problem.
Supporters demanding answers for the killing of the dead journalist argue that the money will go towards funding more human rights violations perpetrated by a corrupt state security system, which they claim were involved in the shooting.