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Aguililla. The Effects of War on Drugs in the Transnational Migratory Circle| 16mins
Director: Manuel Ortiz Escámez | Producer: Anna Lee Mraz Bartra
Focus Years: 2015 | Country: Mexico
Subject Tags: americas, conflict, crime, human rights, mexico, migration, politics
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Mexico, D.F. Nov. 2015. The War on Drugs created by former president Felipe Calderon in 2006 unleashed a wave of violence in Mexico, unlike any other in its history since the Mexican Revolution: over 150,000 dead, hundreds of thousands disappeared, and countless displaced persons. The effects of this war are not merely contained in statistics: they spill over into the fabric of society, especially in vulnerable villages as well as in the migrants and their families. A case in point is the migrant link between Aguililla, Michoacán, Mexico, and Redwood City, California. Redwood City, a suburb of San Francisco that lies south of the Bay, is part of San Mateo County in California. Its population is 76,000, more than 30,000 of them believed to be Mexican migrants, most of whom come from Aguililla. That is why Redwood City is also known as "Little Michoacán" (Pequeño Michoacán) or "Little Aguililla" (Pequeño Aguila) or Aguililla 2. Aguililla is one of 113 municipalities in the state of Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico. The states of Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Zacatecas, are the states with the highest incidence of migration to the U.S. Michoacán is the site of 11 of the 500 most marginalized municipalities in the nation. Aguililla is one of them, with a "very high level of marginalization." As such, the funds sent from "Aguililla 2” play a vital role in the local economy. Aguililla lies within the so-called "Tierra Caliente” (Hot Land) area where the various groups of drug-traffickers that operate there in complicity with the local, state, and federal governments as well as the police, make moving around freely very difficult. Some of these groups are extremely violent, such as the Knights Templar, whose main activities are drug production and trafficking, kidnapping and extortion of small businesses and migrants, and clandestine mining. According to anthropologist Roger Rouse, the transnational migratory circle between these two towns began in the 1940s. Many of the economic, cultural, and educational activities that take place in Aguililla, Michoacán, such as the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, are dependent on the influx of dollars sent from Redwood City. However, the extreme violence that the War on Drugs brought to Aguililla starting in 2006 has caused a break in that migrant connection, with the following consequences: a deep economic and cultural crisis in Aguililla, Michoacán, as well as a strong sense of alienation on the part of the Redwood City migrants from Aguililla.
Aguililla. The Effects of War on Drugs in the Transnational Migratory Circle | 16mins

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