By Pablo J. Sáinz
For U.S. filmmaker Charlie Minn, Ciudad Juarez is much more than a violent border town. For him, the city is a place where thousands of families live and raise their children, where kids come out to play in the streets and to ride their bikes, where many hardworking people earn a living at an honest job.
“Juarez became the epicenter and symbol of the violence,” said the director. “But it is much more than that.”
Minn gives his vision of the new Juarez in a documentary titled “The New Juarez,” which opens at Regal Rancho del Rey Stadium 16 in Chula Vista on Friday Feb. 1, for at least one week.
The panorama in Juarez began to change recently. At the end of 2010, at the peak of the drug violence, there were at least 10 murders a day. By mid-2012, that number fell to one a day.
“The Sinaloa cartel won the war meaning there are less people to kill,” said Minn, who currently lives in New York. “The Juarez and the La Linea cartels have been virtually wiped out by Chapo. Also, the federal police and army have been diminished in the city, these two groups were brought in by former President Felipe Calderon when he made his declaration of war on the cartels went into full effect.”
Chula Vista a one of just a few cities across the United States where the independent film has been screened. It is 81 minutes long, with English and Spanish subtitles.
This is the last film in a trilogy that Minn has dedicated to Juarez, a city that he has learned to love since he lived in the nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico, a few years ago.
The documentary interviews drug-violence victims, the mayor, and police chief, among other protagonists of the violent drama that the city has lived in the past decades.
“The Mexican people have been cheated,” Minn said. “I want to give the victims who never asked for this war a voice. How does one get around over 100,000 murdered Mexicans?”
Partial proceeds will be donated to victims in Juarez from the film.
Minn said that violence in Mexico will not stop until Americans stop using drugs, and until the U.S. government takes responsibility and stops implementing failed policies.
“People in our country need to pressure the White House as this is a shared problem between both US and Mexican governments,” he said. “Our failed policies on the war on drugs, NAFTA, Plan Merida, along with weapons and cash flowing into Mexico for illegal drugs, has caused so many Mexicans to be murdered. The U.S.A is murdering Mexico. Mexicans die, as Americans get high, and that’s no lie.”
“The New Juarez” opens on Friday, Feb. 1, for at least a week, at Regal Rancho del Rey Stadium 16, located at 1025 Tierra Del Rey, Chula Vista. More info: (619) 216-7601 or www.thenewjuarez.com.