Vivos (2020) - full transcript

Vivos is a documentary feature film by artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, portraying the human impact of Mexico's ongoing crisis of enforced disappearances. On the night of September 26, 2014,...

I once dreamt about my son,
but he wasn’t dead.

He was alive.

He was sitting inside a house.
And that’s it.

Almost four years without
knowing anything about him.

Without knowing how he is,

how he’s being treated,

if he’s sleeping

or not sleeping,

whether he eats or not.

It’s such a huge despair.

The father of my children
left us.

My son was four, my little girl three,
and my oldest daughter seven.

He went to work in the U.S.
for a few months

and then he forgot about us.

So I was thinking about
going there to work as well.

It was very difficult for me,
because I didn’t speak English.

I worked for six months to pay off
the debt for crossing the border.

I had to pay 2,000 dollars.

In September it started
getting cold.

So I got a job at Burger King.

I worked more than
15 hours a day,

seven days a week,
and never took a day off.

I slept three or four
hours every night.

And that is what I did
for four years,

sending money to my children,
so that they wouldn’t miss anything.

When I got back,
everything was calm.

I explained to them why I had left,
and they understood.

I’d sit down with them
and tell them how I worked.

I know they suffered
because I wasn’t here,

but I told them it was
so we could have a house.

Because if I didn’t work,
who was going to build them a house?

He said, “I have to be
somebody in life because...

“you have looked after us.

“You’ve worked hard for us.

“So I’ll become a teacher,

“so that when you’re old
I can look after you,

“like you looked after me.”

Since my son Mauricio
disappeared in 2014,

our life has become
very difficult.

We no longer feel joy.

Before this happened, I used to
go to the orchard in the afternoon,

I would clean and cut weeds,
and only get back home at night.

But I was happy because
I knew that my children were studying,

and that they would become
someone in the future.

But since this happened in 2014,

four years have passed
and we no longer feel the same.

I always think of my son
when I walk or work alone.

He likes working in the field.

I have been teaching him
things in the field.

How to cut coffee, how to move the dirt,
how to take care of the goats.

But he told me he would
rather do other things.

He told me,
“I will keep on studying.”

And I said, “Make an effort,
otherwise you’ll stay here as a peasant.”

His clothes are here, his tools,
his books and notebooks as well.

What shall I do?
He’s not here with us.

He left all his things when he left.
He didn’t have any money.

I don’t know
which world he is in.

We asked him if school was difficult,
because people said it was hard.

Then we asked him if he really
wanted to go, and he said yes.

Now it’s almost four years
since it happened.

We don’t know anything about him,
not a single word.

We ask if anyone knows anything.

We want him to return alive.

Our priest says he’s alive,
and we believe that.

I’ve always worked the field.
Plain work.

Time went by
and the kids grew up.

Now they’re mostly grown-ups.

Most of them have
their own families.

It makes me happy that they have
remained close through all these things.

We live in this house.
We all live in this house.

We all work to get ahead.
We grow corn, hibiscus...

We all help out at home.

Everything we do,
we do to make ends meet.

He was always good with words.
And he wanted to be a teacher.

Now there is not much hope that he will
get back to 100%, like we are.

At the hospital in Iguala,
the diagnosis they gave us was terrible.

They said that Aldo was in a vegetative
state, that he was brain-dead.

We never agreed with that, because
we could see Aldo alive, breathing.

He was moving.

We said that it was not possible
that Aldo was brain-dead.

None of us in the family
ever agreed with that diagnosis.

We can’t be sure that
he will be like this forever.

There might be
some good reactions

once he’s here, with his family.

It will also make us happier,

being near him,
spending time with him.

It will make us happy to have him here

so that his other siblings
can see him as well.

I rarely go there.

I don’t...

I don’t want to see him often
in this state.

I feel bad.

The way he used to be...

I couldn’t accept that he was like this,
because he was very smart.

Now, he is like this.

Sometimes I don’t sleep at night.

I think and think and think,

and can’t sleep,
sometimes until dawn comes.

I asked the doctor
to give me something to sleep.

He gave me sleeping pills.

If I don’t take the pills,
I can’t sleep at all.

We left our house
four years ago.

We went to live with my mother
in her house.

We haven’t lived here
for four years.

My wife got sick.
Well, they have all suffered.

We are missing two.

When we come here,
we feel like they’re here.

I look at the pictures.

Doriam is right there
in the middle.

Jorge Luis as well.

We then start to think about them,
and that hurts.

It makes us feel bad.

The house is dirty now,
because we don’t come to clean.

It just stays the same.

Before it was clean,
not like this.

Before it was all clean.
I don’t feel like cleaning it.

What should I clean it for
if we don’t live here?

Everything has changed because
my children are not here anymore.

I try to stay strong.

To keep going.
Otherwise we will all end up like that.

No one would
encourage the other.

Ayotzinapa is a political school.

The school always
opposes politicians,

those who line their pockets,

and those who screw people over.

This school is part of Mexico.

Teacher training schools in rural areas
were created for low-income people.

We’re neither vandals
nor criminals.

We fight for the people.
We are with the people.

And it was because we stand up
for our rights and demand justice,

that they gave the order
to kill us.

The government
is afraid of Ayotzinapa.

Because we won’t be silent.

We are human rights defenders.

My son would say to me,

“I want to be somebody.
I want people to notice me.

“I want you to be proud of me.

“To be somebody, to be...

“To be a teacher.

“I want that...

“when I walk with my grandma,
people will say ‘there comes a teacher’.”

Our only legacy is
what we can give our children.

I dropped out of high school.

If I had had the opportunity
to have a good job,

and to bring money home,

perhaps Christian would
be here with us.

Or he could have gone
to another school.

That day, we didn’t
know anything at all.

But that Friday night,
around one o’clock,

my phone rang.

It was a call from over there.

I answered,

but I could only hear a sound as if
they were breaking bottles, like glass.

It sounded terrifying,
and I was wondering at the moment,

“What is going on?”

I thought it could be my brother-in-law’s
nephew who had been drinking.

But I couldn’t be sure.
I told my husband,

“My phone rang and
it sounds terrible.”

We answered
but they didn’t say anything.

I was saying,
“Hello, hello, hello?!”

And then they hung up.

I thought,
“What is going on?”

He texted me, “You know what?

“The police are shooting at us,
things are getting very ugly.”

And then...

“I hope I will survive this, because
I think I might lose my life here.”

And I wrote, “How can you say that?
Losing your life?!

“I need you to get out of there!

“Think of yourself,
think of your baby daughter!”

“No, I can’t. I can’t leave.
My friends are here.

“I can’t just leave.”

“Well, then, be very careful.
And please keep me updated.”

That was at around
nine that night.

By ten, when the
family gathering was over,

I took our baby daughter upstairs.
She just wouldn’t stop crying,

and I couldn’t...
I couldn’t make her stop.

She was in such a terrible mood.

And I was trying to text him again,
but he wasn’t replying anymore.

I called, but he didn’t pick up.

I was terribly worried
that night.

In the last text he sent me,

he asked me to
look after our daughter.

I fell asleep for a little bit.

Then the church bells rang,
so I went to pray.

I came back home, I washed
my tortilla dough and went to the mill.

But we were not aware
of anything at all.

Nothing, nothing
but that phone call.

Around four in the afternoon,

a friend of my son came.

He asked me,
“Mrs. Socorro, has Iván called you?”

I said, “No, why?”

He said, “Nothing,
I’m just asking.”

But I felt something in my heart.

I said, “No, please tell me.
Do you know something?”

He said, “No,
I don’t know anything.”

I said, “No, tell me.
Don’t leave me wondering.”

He said, “I’m going to tell you,
but don’t be scared.”

I said, “No, but why?”

“My mom was selling
stuff in Ayutla,

“and she heard something
on the news.

“They were saying that
something bad happened in Iguala.

“She told me that some students
from Ayotzinapa were killed.”

The next day, Saturday the 27th,

I kept calling his phone,
but it kept sending me to voicemail.

So I started to check
on social media.

I sat down,
looked at the picture, analyzing it,

looking at his clothes,
his jeans, his tennis shoes.

And I said, “It can’t be...

“It can’t be!
It can’t be Julio César!”

In that photo, he had one
of his hands on his abdomen,

and he had marks, like scars,
like little circles,

and that was the hand
he had there.

When I told my mom,

“It’s Julio César.
It’s Julio!”

She said, “No, honey, relax.
It’s not Julio.

“We’ll find a way
to get in touch with him,

“to find out
where Julio is.”

And I said,
“No, it’s Julio! It’s Julio César!

“He had those marks here.

“How could they
do that to him?”

Honestly, the first day when they told us,
we had no money at all.

Nothing, absolutely nothing,
not even five cents, we had nothing.

So my dad and my mom
tried to find money

so they could go
all the way there.

In those days of anguish
we couldn’t eat at all,

we couldn’t sleep at all,

only wondering where they were,
if they were all right,

if they ate, drank water,
if something had happened to them.

We knew nothing,
absolutely nothing.

Three days later, they announced
the names of those murdered,

but nothing about the others.

At first, they said
it was 52 students,

then they said no, it was 43.

And 43 it remained.

They stated they were
only 43 boys.

And one of them was my brother,
one of my brothers.

He always wanted
to be a teacher.

He used to tell his high school
teachers and his friends,

“I’m going to become a teacher.

“I’ll teach your children.

“And I’m going to slap them around
so they’ll learn.”

One of his friends says
that he would tell her,

“I don’t want a sad classroom.

“I’m going to have fun
with my students.”

My phone was out of credit,

so I went down to my sister’s house
because they had a phone.

Then I went back up
to wait for my husband.

I told him to take a taxi home
as fast as he could. I didn’t tell him

when he was at work.

I told him when he got home.

We went to the taxi stop,

to ask how much they’d charge us
to take us as soon as possible

to Coyuca, where his sister
was waiting for us.

People asked me
what I was going to do,

and I said, “I’m going to the school,
to ask what happened to my son.

“Perhaps he’s there.”

There, I told them,
“I’m here to see my son.”

“What’s your son’s name?”
a young man asked.

“Benjamín Ascencio Bautista.”

He looked for him in his notebook
and said,

“He’s missing along
with other classmates,

“but don’t worry, we’re looking for them.
We’ll find them.”

I went to the basketball court.
There was a crowd of people there.

Women were crying.

And I asked,
“What happened to the boys?”

A woman from Tixtla told me,
“The police took them. They got them.”

We went to that investigation
with our eyes wide open,

seeing all the possibilities.

In the way
they had investigated the case

there was an interest
of detaining a lot of people

to show that
something was being done.


there’s always this tendency
to investigate at low ranks

and not go higher beyond that,

only the material people involved.

And this is a case
that must be investigated

through all the different levels
of hierarchy that are involved.

In this operation,
who was involved?

It was directly operated by,
directly performed by

civilians, armed civilians,
but also by local police.

But it was protected,

the whole operation
was under surveillance

and under the protection of
larger bodies of police.

Like state police, federal police,
and even the Mexican army.

The cellphones of the students
were active way after

the hour that the government
says that the students were

burned in the dump,

which we said that

this was scientifically
and physically impossible,

with evidence, scientific evidence,
that this could not have happened.

And besides, you had activity
from the cellphones after that time, so...

in the whole

‘historic truth’ that they had said that
was what happened,

we were convinced that what happened

wasn’t what they were telling people
and the victims.

The group of experts
that came in 2015

worked with the government pretty well
for about six months,

but then it started to challenge

the government’s version
of what had happened.

This so-called ‘historic truth.’

They proved that a bone fragment
from one of the students

that was supposedly found
on a certain day

had actually been planted

by the prosecutor in the case
the day before,

in a plastic bag,
‘to be found.’

They proved that the military
and the federal police

were involved in this operation.

Once the group of experts
began to get closer and closer to

both demolishing
the government version

and demanding access to evidence
that would actually

help them unravel this case,

the government decided
to close the door on them

and said, “Your time is up.
And get out.”

Unfortunately, since our mandate
was not renewed

we weren’t able to investigate more
to determine what happened

and break that
circle of impunity.

I don’t think that the authorities
really know what happened.

I think they want to
close the case

so they can, as sometimes authorities
and states say, ‘move on.’

Which is absolutely

a mistake.

Human rights violations don’t go away
unless you address them properly.

First, making the victims participate
in the truth-telling process

and in the investigations.

You can’t impose
a truth upon victims.

Because they will
never accept it.

We’re peasants.
We have land, we have farms.

As a community, we have everything
we need to work the soil.

My son is part of the community.

I miss him as my son
and my helper in the field.

Some people here grow sugarcane
or coffee, or milpas.

We help each other when we have crops.
It makes work easier.

But the land is too large
without my son.

We need people who have studied,
who can speak Spanish, educated people.

There are not many of us.
He is our only son,

and we never imagined
this would happen.

If the people who took him
want to be good,

may their hearts be so big
that they will return our son.

We love our children
just as they love their own children.

I think now that the corn field
has begun to sprout,

the one I just fertilized,

we can go through it again
with the machete,

maybe even spray it again,

so it’ll be ready.

What did they do?

What happened?

That’s what we’re asking.

The Argentinians went to the trash dump,
picked everything up,

and sent it to Innsbruck to get studied.
Everything, every little part.

It turned out that it wasn’t the truth,
this story they had fabricated.

The ‘historic truth.’

There were burned remains
from previous years.

They found some
human molars there,

but they were not from the boys.

It’s all just lies that
they were taken there.

That night, it rained,
and rained, and rained.

Day and night!

It doesn’t make any sense.
How could it be lit up?

It was raining!

Firewood and fire, a bonfire,
an immense bonfire to incinerate the 43.

No, it’s impossible.

The first thing they told us was
that they were dead.

But they couldn’t fool us,
because there was no sign

that it was them in any
of the mass graves in Iguala.

Then they made up the story
about the fire,

which was also a lie.
They couldn’t deceive us.

We are farmers.

About the fire,

we know how much
a fire can burn.

It couldn’t have been just a small fire,
it had to be big.

It couldn’t even burn down a chicken,
let alone so many people.

It’s impossible!
And also the rain,

it was raining the whole night.

We understand that
there are bad people.

But when bad people kill someone,
they ditch them.

The government doesn’t.

They take them away, and if they
do something to them, they hide them.

That’s why we can’t find them.

We don’t know what
they have done to our children.

Because if it hadn’t been the government
who took our children,

we would have already found them,
one way or another.

You put some palm leaves on top and
you don’t have to light it up again.

The fire will get going
by one or two p.m.

The damned government
destroyed our lives.

They must tell us what happened.

We demand from the government to tell us
where my son is, where his friends are.

Sometimes a day goes by,
another day, they pile up.

Now they’ve turned into years.

The truth is that we don’t know
what to do anymore.

It’s not that I’m afraid.

I’ve left fear behind me.
What I have now is anger.

There’s anger inside me.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to experience

the most spectacular sport
in the history of Mexico,

called Lucha Libre!

42% of American continental
production of heroin

comes from that region

and has to go through Iguala
to be hidden in buses

and taken to the U.S. border.

The conclusion many of us have,
why they were attacked that night was,

when they were taking buses,

they mistakenly took
the wrong bus

in which some heroin packages,
very, very valuable,

and these packages can be worth
one, two, three million dollars,

one of these packages
was concealed in this bus.

So when the cartel
tried to take it back

they attacked the students.

What could possibly provoke

those kinds of orders
and this kind of political risk?

What could possibly be worse

than the federal government
saying that the police in this city

collaborate with the drug cartels
to incinerate students?

That the drug traffickers aren’t
the gang members,

they aren’t like the typical image
of the narco,

with the cowboy boots
and the cowboy hat,

what have you. No.

It’s the municipal police
from three different cities,

it’s the state police,
it’s the federal police

and it’s the entire structure

of the justice system of the Mexican
federal government protecting them.

That’s how we live
in the countryside, in the provinces.

We’re farmers.

We’re workers.
We work the land.

But we’re not harvesting
what the government says.

They cover up the criminals because
it’s drugs that they’re involved with.

And that’s where
you make the most profit.

They don’t support agriculture,
or us sowing the land,

because that’s worthless to them.

The profit for them is in drugs,
from which they benefit the most.

There’s a lot of money in that,
whereas corn has no value.

How much can one
really get from corn?

As we say, we cannot be calm.

Our minds can’t.

One starts thinking.

I remember when I used to come here
and work together with my boy.

He would help me over there.

When I come, I think of him.
I feel so awful.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t come.
It takes some time before I come back.

And I still remember well.
It’s sad, what we’re going through.

The young people who disappeared,
those 43 students,

come from very poor and marginalized
indigenous peasant communities.

Over time, the relatives
of the 43 have, unfortunately,

understood that a forced disappearance
is a very long road,

and that they need
to join other groups

along that road,
to build bridges and relationships.

The ‘historic truth’
was also in the media, on TV,

showing images, discussing how
the students had been handled.

So our society was also
manipulated and lied to.

The manipulation of the truth
caused a lot of pain and hurt,

making it worse
for the families.

It also deepened public
mistrust of the state.

Not only because the authorities
had been involved in the deed,

but because they kept hurting them
with this ‘historic truth.’

So of course

the relationship between the families
and the government is tainted.

I think it affects the way
we live in society, because...

not only is trust
in the state broken,

but also the way
we engage with each other,

because all relationships
are marked by fear.

Open the doors.
Why are you closing them?

People need you,
they must be open.

That’s why all citizens are angry,
because we come to have you support us,

and you don’t want to help us.
You closed the doors already.

Good afternoon, friends.

We are here
at the Attorney General’s Office.

It’s already been 47 months
that we are fighting.

It was a coordinated act,
in which three students were killed

and 43 others disappeared.

How can they tell us that our children
were taken by organized crime,

when both reports from the experts
suggest very clearly

that it was the army
who handled it?

We are here asking the Attorney
General’s Office to accept our demands.

So we’re saying it out loud now
to reach their ears:

We will not give up
until we find our children.

That is what we demand
as parents.

I want to thank you all:

The students who are here with us,
and the media.

Thank you all for being here.

Because they took them alive!

Alive we want them back!

It’s impossible to explain
the case of the 43

without questioning why
the authorities intervened,

either to commit
crimes themselves

or to allow other authorities or
criminal groups to commit them.

The police and the army

are not subjected
to standards of democratic control.

We call it accountability,
to better explain it to the world.

The police and the army
are not accountable,

especially for the way they use force.

Democracy is not possible,
there is no democratic rule of law

if there are no records, no paperwork,
no assessment, no supervision,

and no accountability
for the use of force.

The army and police use force across
the whole country every day,

without a proper
documentation system.

And this implies that
anything can happen.

There is no evidence that
the most important ministers

are directly involved
with the heroin trade.

But if they are not involved,
at least they don’t stop it.

They don’t want to stop it.

And they don’t,

they don’t make sure that
their subordinates stop it.

There is a chain of people

from Guerrero to the border
who are involved with it.

And this is all sorts of
officials and officers.

And they are doing it.
No one goes to jail for this.

No one is processed.

There are no judicial processes
against these people.

We said, “It’s not possible that
Aldo’s brain is dead.”

We wanted Aldo
to be the same again.

So we started to
look around for help.

The only ones we were able to contact
were doctors from Cuba.

We asked our lawyers
to support us on this,

including getting the Cuban doctors
to come see him in the hospital.

They examined him,

and they reassured us that
there is still a lot we can do for Aldo,

that Aldo should be at home,
in a familiar environment.

We decided to build a house here
in order to protect Aldo.

The doctors said

it wasn’t advisable for him
to be in the hospital for a long time,

because he could get a viral infection.
There are many diseases there.

That’s what we must
watch out for.

That’s why we decided
to build the house here.

I feel like it will be
a miracle from God,

if my son wakes up.

We all believe that
he will wake up.

We all believe that he wants to wake up.
But slowly, not right away,

but in the future,
perhaps in eight years.

It could have been me.

Well, it was very difficult.

We weren’t going
to do anything bad.

We weren’t going
to do anything bad,

and I trust that those responsible
will pay for it.

Do you remember what
the rights of children are?


What are they?
Raise your hands.

The right to have clothes.

The right to have shoes.

The right to have a family.

Teacher, teacher...

Teacher, teacher...

The right to dress ourselves,
that’s correct.

The right to nutrition.

The right to nutrition,
as well, to eat.

These are some
of the rights of children.

But remember that
we also have obligations.

What are the obligations
of children?

At home...

Make the beds.

Sweep the floor.

Help our mothers.

Where are they?
Where are they?

Where are our children?

This day is one
of fight and protest!

This is not a day of celebration,
it’s one of fight and protest!

This is not a day of celebration.

Every year, more mothers join
on a day on which

the miracle of life
should be celebrated,

the wonderful gift
of being a mother.

However, we are gathered here
in our pain.

Because they took them alive!

Alive we want them back!

Because they took them alive!

Alive we want them back!

Now, now, it becomes essential...

We demonstrated,

and a lot of people joined,
and I thank them all.

But even so, they still don’t
take us into account,

as if they didn’t see us.

I don’t know what else
we can do.

We fasted for the 43,
we did sit-ins,

we were at the Office
of the Attorney General

for a sit-in of 27 days.

We were at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

we chained ourselves outside
the Ministry of Interior.

But even so,

it’s as if they didn’t see us.

Once, when he came home for a vacation
from the teaching school,

he said, “Mom.”
I asked, “What?”

He asked, “Have you
been crying?”

I wondered and asked, “Why?”

He said, “Because I felt it,
that you were crying.”

That’s why sometimes I restrain
my sad feelings,

because I feel like
he can feel what I feel.

This is why I try not to feel sad,
and to send him good energy,

because one day he will return.

I haven’t been able
to make money

to pay the bills.

Sometimes I want to work,
but if I do, I won’t be at ease.

I won’t be at ease

because other parents
are fighting,

yelling out on the street,

“They took them alive,
and alive we want them back.”

What if I go out to work and
my son comes back?

I wouldn’t be able to face him.

He’d ask why
I didn’t keep fighting.

I feel a bit better
when I participate in activities.

Because when I go out, I don’t
think about him all the time.

Of course I remember my son
because he’s never far from my mind.

But when I’m out,
I feel a little better.

When I’m home,

it’s like somebody is locking me up
and not letting me out.

That’s why I’ve been participating.

My children say,
“If you don’t feel well, don’t go.”

But I can’t stay here.

I have to go, because
if I stay at home I feel worse.

It feels good to keep on fighting,
with more strength.

These days when we get together,
all the parents of the 43, we’re united.

We give each other
the courage to keep on fighting.

We won’t accept that the government
doesn’t return our children to us.

They have to hand
the 43 students back to us.

That’s why I feel well, happy.
But also pissed off,

because of the damned
government’s actions.

Eternal Father, Mother,
who are here today,

I give to you
because I know you’re present all day.

Because you’re there every day.

The days you take care
of all your children.

Especially in this house,
we beg you day after day.

In their house,
I show you this shadow.

You will destroy
all pain and poverty.

That’s why this is done,
to destroy evils from the root.

Hence the offering I place at your
hands and feet, Lord Jesus Christ.

This is what I offer
so they go away,

so they take and drink
the offerings here.

May this make them forget.

That’s why I give you

from my hands, my Father, on this
Friday afternoon, as the sun sets.

Here you have to drink
what I give to you.

You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You, eternal Father.

You who watches over all your children,
Lord Jesus Christ.

My Father, eternal Father.
Mother light,

you’re with me now, where I deliver
my words, where I place my offering.

May not too much time
pass, eternal Father.

That’s right, my Father.
That’s right, my Mother.

Here you have
what we give to you.

This offering, eternal Father.

That’s how the custom goes,

created by men and women
a long time ago.

They implemented it,
and that’s why I give you this now.

In adversity and in sadness,

men and women practiced it.

This cures the sick.

These are the customs that
we keep until this day.

That’s why I offer this
to you this afternoon.

What loneliness I’m feeling
because I can’t see you anymore.

I ask myself where you are, Mom.
I still dream about you being different.

Where could you be?

I know you don’t forget
about your children who love you.

Because God is
by your side, Mom.

Oh, how sad I am
without seeing you.

This day is very important.

The objective of hanging the cross
is to have more rain.

Since there are people
who have cattle,

this way they can have
enough water for their animals.

It’s a tradition of the family and my son
Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre.

It’s also a part of our struggle,
joining the celebration,

to support our family,
by carrying out the tradition.

This is the reason
for the Holy Cross Feast.

Peeled shrimp you want,
peeled shrimp I give you.

Peeled shrimp you prefer,
with sauce and lime.

Peeled shrimp you want,
peeled shrimp I give you.

Peeled shrimp you prefer,
with sauce and lime.

This bedroom is for those
who will live here.

Oh yes, for Aldo’s nurses.
They’re going to take this room.

They must be close to him.

The living room won’t end up there?
Or will it?

We’re going to change everything.
We’re going to move everything.

About the furniture,
up until now...

That day the supervisor came,
I told him

that the level needs
to be adjusted.

He’s sleeping deeply.

Right now?

She said,
“You are leaving with Aldo from here.”

It’s a house, not a clinic.

Well, a clinic house, but where
only one patient will be treated,

not many.

It’s for one patient.

It is going to be his clinic
and his house, where he’ll live.

In the sky and in the sea.
In the sky and in the sea.

My astuteness distinguishes me.
My astuteness distinguishes me.

In order to win.
In order to win.

Today I am in the SEMISA.
Today I am in the SEMISA.

I’m with those who believe
that policies against drugs

produce more violence
than drugs themselves,

and that policies against drugs
produce more harm than drugs themselves.

Mexico has signed everything
the U.S. has drawn up,

in terms of
international agreements

to go after drugs
and organized crime.

That has put us
in a particularly dire position

because we haven’t diminished
the power of organized crime

and instead we have fragmented
criminal groups in this country.

Whoever says that
increased military intervention

is an adequate response to diminish
violence in Mexico is lying.

There’s no evidence supporting this.

the Center of Investigations
and Economic Teachings

has published a study showing that

where there’s military intervention,

there is an increase
in homicidal violence.

But the poverty in Mexico,
the effects of the drug war in Mexico,

that simply doesn’t...

come into the calculations

of the United States policy
towards this country

when their focus is
on the drug war.

And the drug war has provided
the Mexican military, the Mexican police,

with sophisticated weaponry,

with helicopters,

with training and with intelligence.
And it continues to do so.

So the United States is just as much
a part of this problem

as the organized criminals
and the Mexican government itself.

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They took them alive!

Alive we want them back!

There are thousands of
family members that are missing,

thousands of families that don’t know
where their loved ones are,

that came from Chihuahua,
from Juárez,

from Guadalajara,
from the entire country,

from Mexico City,
from all the different states.

I thought, “There are
so many injustices,

“but it’d be good if
all of us here came together,

“and demanded that the
government returns them all alive.

“Everyone together,

“because on our own,
we’re not listened to.”

We the parents want to tell you
that we will not surrender.

It’s very painful to remember

the night of September 26, 2014,

when our children were attacked,

in a coordinated manner.

The government was aware of this

because the Mexican army was overseeing
the C4 surveillance center.

The students had been monitored

since they left
the school of Ayotzinapa.

In the beginning, I thought that

if he were missing, there would be
hope to see him again,

like the other parents
who are now fighting.

They don’t lose hope
of their children returning, alive.

Sometimes I’d prefer
to be waiting like that.

They have the hope
of hugging them again.

We’re just wondering
what happened,

are they alive or not?

If your son had already
been killed,

you’ve seen him dead.

He’s right there.

His remains are there.

If it’s him,

at least you can bring him flowers,
light him a candle.

That’s our people’s tradition.

You can say,
“He’s right here.”

But when you just
don’t know anything...

Don’t look at Mexico
as being unique or alone

in the production of horror.

It’s producing it, and it’s producing it
right here and right now.

But look at the United States.
Look at the war against Iraq.

Wasn’t it all lies?
Wasn’t it fake evidence?

Didn’t it produce
false documents?

How many hundreds of thousands
of people did they kill?

How much human suffering
did they produce

through lies, and through
the oil trade?

So don’t look at Mexico
through some kind of exotic lens.

The United States
is doing the same thing

on a scale that is overwhelming.

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That’s something that I think is
the counterbalance to impunity in Mexico:

It’s the courage
of civil society.

The courage of the families,

to march and demand
and meet with government officials

and bang on doors and hold up signs
and not give up.

The courage of the
human rights lawyers

to go to court
time and time again

fighting for this case,
and other cases.

This is maybe the only positive outcome
of this kind of terrible time

that Mexicans
are living right now.

He is here, alive.

I always remember him
and have him on my mind,

dancing, reading...

Taking the broom from my hands,

washing the dishes,
going to school.

That’s how I remember my son.

For me, my son is alive.

And I’m going to find him,
together with his friends.

I promised him that
I will fight for justice.

If he were in my place,
he would have done the same,

seek the truth and justice,

to find out
what happened to him.

Now I’m sitting here,
doing this interview.

I’m in these shoes in which,
if it were up to me,

I wouldn’t want to be.

I’d like to be in Mexico City,

for a weekend, with my daughter
and her father,

enjoying all the wonderful things
we had planned for her,

for ourselves.

But now I’m here.

I wouldn’t like anyone
to be sitting here,

doing an interview about something
so ugly and so painful.


What was your father’s name?
Remind me.

Julio César Mondragón Fontes.


Julio César Mondragón...

No, slowly, not like...

Because I don’t understand you.

Julio César Mondragón Fontes.

And you?


What is your name?


Your name is not Julio!