IMMIGRATION: Mexican government complicity to the lethal violence of organised crime and America's brutal bureaucracy towards asylum seekers are both condemned in Marcela Arteaga's poetic and piercing The Guardian of Memory.
Nick Holdsworth
Journalist, writer, author, filmmaker and film and TV industry expert – Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
Published date: April 27, 2019


In a story that delves deeply into the shocking state-sponsored violence in towns just south of the US border across the Rio Grande from Texas, Arteaga teases out the disturbing facts beyond the headlines from the frontlines of Donald Trump’s populist MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement and its fantasy of a wall paid for by Mexico to keep desperate refugees out of the fabled land of milk and honey.

It is a credit to the dignity of a film that weaves images of abandoned belongings with the unbearably painful stories of those who have thrown themselves on the scant and hardly tender mercies of American immigration and asylum policies, that Trump’s name is not mentioned once, nor his callous policies alluded to.

«Seeking asylum is not a fad or a luxury, it is a human being’s last ticket for life – and to keep fighting»

The carefully arranged discarded family photos, clothing, suitcases and children’s toys are used to choreograph a story of searing loss.

Arteaga pivots her story around a pioneering Mexican-American lawyer, Carlos Spector, who has dedicated his life to representing those fleeing murder, extortion and the ‘disappearance’ of sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other family members, arguing that they are entitled to political asylum in the US.

The Guardian of Memory Director: Marcela Arteaga

«Seeking asylum is not a fad or a luxury, it is a human being’s last ticket for life – and to keep fighting,» says one of Spector’s clients, a Mexican town councillor who fled the systematic murder of his fellow local representatives.

Spector, who with his wife Sandra established a foundation, Mexicans in Exile, to support Mexican seeking political asylum in the US and to fight for justice for them north of the border, asserts that complicity between the two countries supports corruption and allows for violence to flourish unhindered in Mexico and for the human rights of asylum seekers to be trampled on in the US.

Mexican drug cartels are sub-contractors of an …


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