Documentarian Puts Spotlight on Mexican Kidnappings

By Pam Robinson

Jun 18, 2009 2:51pm

   ABC News On Campus reporter Xorje Olivares blogs:    It took more than 40 years for Ricardo Ainslie to return to his hometown of Mexico City, this time armed with a video camera. Ainslie, an educational psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has spent the past decade analyzing communities in conflict by combining ethnography with psychoanalysis.  “I’ve always been interested in qualitative research,” Ainslie said. “After I got tenure (at UT) I started looking at communities with tension.” In 1999, Ainslie documented the racial and social disparities in a small West Texas town stemming from an argument about whether dancing should be allowed. He then traveled to Jasper, Texas to see how the community was coping with the brutal murder of an African-American man at the hands of white supremacists. But it wasn’t until 2004 that Ainslie returned to Mexico City to work on his next project, "Looking North," a film that dealt with the influx of immigration. “People in America don’t know that 1 in 9 Mexicans has come to the United States,” Ainslie said. “People don’t want to leave Mexico, but the circumstances have forced them to come north.” Some of those circumstances include the war on drugs that is ravaging through several parts of Mexico resulting in countless murders and kidnappings, many stemming from the battle between rival cartels.  While in Mexico City, Ainslie began to notice these drastic changes and eventually used them as the basis for a new documentary entitled "Ya Basta! (Enough!) Kidnapped in Mexico." In the 2007 film, Ainslie focuses on the violence and wave of kidnappings that he believes started about 1994. But it has only been recently that the numbers have skyrocketed, causing many to take notice. According to the Mexican newspaper El Universal, 5,612 people were executed last year, double the number in 2007. Last year, more than 1,607 of these came from Ciudad Juarez alone. Ainslie also believes that more than 750 kidnappings occur each year, with nearly all of them going unsolved. He said only about one in 10 cases are even actually reported. Allegations of police corruption are nothing new in Mexico, but drug rings  have cost many officers their lives. “They’re either being killed off because they’re a part of it, or because they don’t want to be,” Ainslie said. “Either way, you’re screwed.” Ainslie recently decided to spend a weekend in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city that borders El Paso, Texas. As he began to recount his trip and show the photos he took, the realities of war set in. Pictures of bullet-riddled vehicles and bodies lying in pools of blood frequented the screen of his laptop. During his stay, 38 more were killed.  ”In Mexico, you’re very aware that you’re in the middle of a war,” Ainslie said. Until recently,  not much news about the drug violence was reported in the United States. But with  violence escalating along the border, many are fearful that it will eventually spill over into U.S. territory. Ainslie, however, believes that the products in question, not the violence itself, are what we should be concerned about. “What are you talking about? It’s already here,” Ainslie said, regarding the presence of the drug situation in the U.S. “There’s a whole distribution network that already exists. The fear is, are (the cartels) going to be killing each other here as they are there?”

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus