Returning to a place you love can be a joy. But if that place has changed for the worse, the opposite can happen. Canadian reporter Conrad Fox tells us about a visit to his former hometown of Xalapa, Mexico. Fox was hoping to visit old friends and relive some of his fondest memories in the city where his kids were born. Instead, he found militant police forces, unexplained disappearances, violence and everywhere a sense of fear.
Eight-year-old Kevin Alex Gallegos used to do homework with his dad in their Omaha home every night before his dad was deported, and although they are now 2,000 miles away, father and son found a way to do homework together via Skype.
“It’s really hard because you’re so close from the laptop or the phone but yet again so far away,” said Manny Alvarado.
Alex’s mother, Zulema, takes pictures of her son’s textbooks and sends them to her husband Manny via WhatsApp, a free mobile phone app for instant messaging.
“We read books together so whenever I do a mistake, he can look at the book and he can help me fix that problem,” Alex said. “I like doing homework with my dad a lot.”
Manny had been going to a cybercafé in a small Oaxacan town in the south of Mexico, paying 10 pesos per hour to talk to his family. He has recently spent his savings on a tablet so it’s easier for him to connect with his son every weeknight. Although Manny is using technology to stay connected, “it’s just not the same.”
In Mexico, the Internet and mobile technology are giving activists new ways to share information. Tech can help activists expose corruption, organize protests and become citizen reporters. Websites like Méxicoleaks make it possible to whistleblow and share anonymously. The instant messaging service WhatsApp helps people connect. But in Mexico, even texting can be life-threatening. Community organizer Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco used WhatsApp to keep journalists and activists around the world informed about government corruption abuse in his home state of Guerrero. Kara Andrade’s reporting in Mexico was supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. To learn more about her project, click here.
The following photo gallery from earlier this year features Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco. All photos are by Kara Andrade.
In the United States, there’s a widespread notion that Mexicans fleeing cartel violence head north. In reality, most of these people move somewhere else in Mexico, becoming internal refugees in their own country. But the Mexican government has yet to acknowledge the scope of the problem. Reporter Lynda Lopez traveled to Mexico with the team at Refugees International and examines something unimaginable in the U.S., but very common there.
Photo of Paola and her family
Lucha Libre, Mexico’s national past-time of performance wrestling, is a macho sport where contestants wear super hero costumes and try to crush each other in the ring. They’re mostly thought of as men, but that’s starting to change. As Jasmine Garsd reports, women luchadoras are earning their place alongside men in this strange and complex Mexican tradition.
Jasmine Garsd was born in Argentina and hosts NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast. As a journalist she’s worked on the NPR programs Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More. She has covered a wide variety of topics for radio including immigration issues.
From the Mecca of Mexican hip-hop, 27-year-old rapper Carla Reyna, aka Niña Dioz, talks about hip-hop, race, and her new album, “Indestructible.”
Photo Courtesy of Niña Dioz Facebook.
Carla Reyna, better known by her MC name Niña Dioz, emerged from the underground hip-hop scene in Monterrey, Mexico. After years of making a name for herself in Mexico and internationally on the hip-hop festival circuit, she has finally released her first full-length album, “Indestructible,” a collection of Spanglish rhymes and high-energy beats.
Why are U.S Border Patrol agents shooting into Mexico and killing innocent civilians? Latino USA host María Hinojosa speaks with John Carlos Frey, author of investigative report, “Over the Line,” that looks into the increase in fatal shootings of Mexican nationals, by border patrol agents.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of John Carlos Frey.
John Carlos Frey is a freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on the 60 Minutes episode, “The All American Canal;” a three-part series for PBS entitled “Crossing the Line;” and several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, “Angel of the Desert,” and “Operation Streamline.” In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border”. John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey’s documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol.
President Obama’s visit to Mexico came with immigration reform at the center stage in Washington. And with Mexican nationals making up more than half of all undocumented immigrants living in the U.S, where is Mexico in the discussion? María Hinojosa speaks with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
Arturo Sarukhan served as Mexico Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2013. He is currently the Chairman of Global Solutions, a Podesta Company, and a global strategic consulting and risk assessment firm. He served for 20 years in the Mexican Foreign Service, as Chief of Policy Planning at the Foreign Ministry, and he was appointed Mexican Consul-General to New York City. In 2006, he joined the Presidential Campaign of Felipe Calderón as Foreign Policy Advisor and International Spokesperson and was tapped to coordinate his foreign policy Transition Team.
Maria Hinojosa examines a pattern of violence and human rights abuses in Mexico. In the seven years since the Mexican government launched its war against the drug cartels, more than 60,000 people have been killed and an estimated 25,000 have disappeared. Much of the violence comes from police and government forces as well as the cartels — and women are often targets. Does Mexico’s new President, Enrique Peña Nieto have the will to curb the excesses?
María Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with over two dozen awards for her work covering Latino issues and Latin America. She started her career at the first community public radio station owned and operated by Latinos in the U.S. She has developed ground-breaking programs and series for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, and Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, she has extensive experience in journalism and radio training, in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and other countries.
Host Maria Hinojosa talks about her memories of how Los Reyes Magos — the Three Wise Men — are celebrated in Mexico and in New York City’s East Harlem, where she is marching as a Queen in this year’s Three Kings’ Parade down Fifth Avenue.
Click here to download this week’s show.