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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Film based on families who fled to El Paso running from drug cartels, wins international award

 Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus  KGET Border Report

'Guardian of Memory' is a testament to the resiliency of those who lost loved ones and property but refuse to give up, El Paso lawyer says

A film about the resilience of families who fled to the United States during the Mexican drug cartel wars of a decade ago has won the equivalent of the Oscar award in Mexico.

“Guardian of Memory” on Sept. 27 received the 2020 “Ariel” for Best Documentary from the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences (AMACC). Writer/director Marcela Arteaga made the film based on asylum seekers from El Porvenir, a Mexican town just south of Fort Hancock, Texas, and other nearby communities.

Many of these migrants were middle-class families and merchants who suffered the murder of younger family members or became targets of extortion, threats and persecution when drug traffickers – mostly members of the Sinaloa cartel — moved into their town.

“While all Mexican asylum seekers suffer violence that expel them from Mexico, (the director) was able to delve into how they survived the emotional trauma and their resilience to keep their families together and continue to fight” for asylum, said El Paso attorney Carlos Spector.

Many of the subjects in the documentary are Spector’s clients, while others are part of an organization called Mexicans in Exile, which he helped organize. The El Paso lawyer also has a speaking part in the movie.

The film throws powerful facts and imagery at the viewer. A line of clothes set on fire represents the “disappeared ones,” as do hundreds of empty cups, dolls and teddy bears set in the middle of the desert. Then, there’s the staggering statistic that a once vibrant town of 17,000 people was reduced to 1,000 inhabitants in less than a decade.

“Corruption in Mexico used to take place in police agencies and within the government. Now, it’s been subcontracted to the cartels,” Spector says in the film. “There is no more organized crime […] This is authorized crime. The government and the business community have allowed, through impunity, for criminals to control the town.”

Other voices reflect on the absurdity of killings and kidnappings taking place after the Mexican government deployed thousands of soldiers to keep the peace in the region.

“It makes no sense that the violent ones feel the urge to start killing people while 3,000 soldiers are guarding the valley,” one of the voices says.

“They were looking for all of us – the police and organized crime together,” says another voice.

Spector said he feels happy that the struggle of the people portrayed in the film is getting international attention. “It brings a lot of satisfaction to me that they have been recognized,” he said. “The title has to do with them wanting to leave a footprint of their struggle. The film is a testament to their families and to their community that this was, is and will continue to be a reality along the border.”

At least 12 of those families – who came to the United States from 2009 to 2016 – have been approved for asylum. Their stories were so powerful that they won their cases in an El Paso Sector notorious for rejecting more than 90% of such claims, Spector said.

Now, these new U.S. residents are using their organization to welcome and guide others displaced by cartel activity in their communities, he said.

The El Paso lawyer said he was particularly motivated to take the families’ cases because his mother, a native of Mexico, is from Guadalupe, one of the towns near El Porvenir also beset by drug violence. “The fact that I was able to help my mother’s hometown shows that you don’t have to destroy the system or overthrown the government to bring about justice. The lesson of ‘Guardian of Memory’ is that If you can save your hometown, you’ve done enough,” he said.

For more information on the film, visit


  1. The world needs to see this Documentary, people need to understand what has happened and is still happening in Mexico. It is a crime against humanity.

    1. What I want to see Is These mexicans FIGHT BACK to get their
      Mexico back from these Terroists

      Coming here dosent say much about the yellow spine they have
      Once here Demand Calif Az New Mexico Goverment
      To help address and fight back to What ever So people can understand To STOP THIS CRAP IN MEXICO
      no one should have to leave a beloved home state because of this mess
      Fight For Your Mexico
      Get it back from these Tyrannts

      So if they run from gun fire
      how are they gonna be any better i the USA Army ??

    2. My Mexican friends who stay in Mexico. They want their country back. Amlo is another Corrupt President he is the the Guzman family

  2. Wasn't El Paso THE SAFIEST CITY and The JUAREZ another side?

    1. That is correct. El Paso is very safe unless you look for trouble or a racist dumbfuck from another city causes trouble.

    2. yes, El Paso is ranked in the top ten safest cities in the U.S

    3. Borders do make a difference despite what the leftists would have you believe.

    4. 9:47 you mean borders or walls?
      Yet your stupid. I'm from El Paso and a border wall is not what makes El Paso safe from anything.
      It might keep undocummented immigrants from easily slipping thru into the U.S. but it does nothing to keep the violence in the city down. Even the violence from across the border.

  3. El paso has gotten bad in the last couple of years. There was a SWAT standoff down the street on Friday. I was upset because I had to go around two blocks. Otherwise it wouldn't have peaked my interest. But, yeah juarez took it to another level and it's amazing how it's basically the same people living on both sides but they act very differently depending on where they are at. The corrupt and inept law enforcement and public servants in Juarez lay a foundation for complete and utter lawlessness.

  4. Both my parents are from El Porvenir.Before Calderon's war on drugs El Porvenir was a great place to visit and Party but once Chapo tried to invade all the violence and extortions started. Obviously Chapo and CDS aren't for the people. This is coming for people that know and aren't cartel cheerleaders.

  5. 12:48 El Paso is still much safer, but FECAL had no way to affect it, his ginirals and soldiers could have had local passports but no refugee status.
    Ojinaga mayor Baeza may have got FECAL to get his military out of the area for meddling with HIS POLESIAS by talking to his cousin, governor jose reyes baeza in chihuahua, the military even had to arrest innocent brothers at arms and torture them to confess to their own Pelotón de la Muerte murdering, those innocent military are still in military prisons after 12 or 11 years, governor baeza has had his bank accounts frozen by UIF for his own corruptions and role in the Estafa Maestra, chihuahua has no peace because of public state corruption, federal and military too, not because of linias or AA or BS.

  6. CDS in El Paso? Makes no sense

    1. El Paso is full of stashouses for many cartels. Not just Juarez cartel. This does not mean the drugs cross the border through Juarez. It just means El Pasoans warehouse drugs for whoever pays them.
      Not everybody though.


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