"EL NORTE": Zaide Silvia Gutierrez in a scene from Gregory Nava's 1983 movie.
"EL NORTE": Zaide Silvia Gutierrez in a scene from Gregory Nava's 1983 movie.

“The flood of Hispanic immigrants into American communities for work helped provide cover for traffickers looking to expand into new markets. Shelby has long been Alabama’s fastest-growing county, and the number of Hispanics grew 126 percent from 2000 to 2007.”

Hispanic“? You gotta love that all-inclusive word.

The quoted passage at the beginning of this post is taken from an alarmist piece that ran in the Associated Press recently, detailing a quintuple homicide in Alabama that authorities have been investigating since August 2008. Officials are pointing fingers at the Gulf Cartel.

As most of you already know, President Obama was recently in town to talk drugs and the border. With so much on his plate already, illegal immigration and the problems along the Mexico/U.S. border are just pieces of the puzzle millions are looking at him to solve. Good luck, my dude.

Over the weekend, following Obama’s visit here, I saw a film that shed light, in some form, on the immigrants’ journey through Mexico. The 1989 ‘masterpiece’ “Tres Veces Mojado,” starring one of Universal Music’s most popular groups, the corrido, Norteño kings Los Tigres Del Norte.

Los Tigres, originally from the state of Sinaloa, is a band that consists of brothers and cousins who got their musical start in the San Francisco Bay Area. They had a nice film career in the 80’s through now, getting their Run-DMC and Kid ‘n Play on.

“Tres Veces” tells the story of Salvadoran immigration to Mexico and then to the U.S., with disaterous and telling consequences. It stars Los Tigres in all their toupee and bouffant finery. Here’s a scene from the movie with co-star Carmen Cardenal, Tigres Jorge Hernàndez and Hernán Hernández rocking the bajosexto:

RISKING IT ALL: Brother and Sister ready to make the dangerous trip to San Diego from Guatemala.
RISKING IT ALL: Brother and Sister ready to make the dangerous trip to San Diego from Guatemala.

Another movie this reminded me of is the stellar 1983 Gregory Nava (he of “Selena” fame) movie about Guatemalan refugees making their way north, “El Norte.” You can take a look, here

It’s a telling flick that recently got the art house gold standard treatment with a 25th anniversary release through the Criterion collection. LA Times’ Hector Tobar, also Guatemalan, wrote an excellent essay about the film and its cultural impact.

While it takes more than movies to solve complex social problems, it’s interesting that even before all the conservative shoutings of the last few years, people were trying to present the topic in sensitive and non-exploitative ways. Still, it begs the question, how long has the U.S. been focused on illegal immigration?

A pretty long time according to this.



Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s