Sunday, May 23, 2021

Human Rights Watch Film Festival Spotlight: Bajo Fuego

Bajo Fuego
Directed by Sjoerd van Grootheest and Irene Vélez-Torres
Screening Information

It is much simpler to identify problems that to actually conceive of solutions. The United States has seen this with the current state of systemic racism and how law enforcement has evolved in a way that disproportionately targets people of color. Outside of this country, other issues are prominent with equally unresolved complexities. In Colombia, widespread drug usage led to a proclamation by President Juan Manuel Santos that peace would be created by the eradication of the substances which had led to long-raging conflicts. Yet the missing piece is the large population of farmers for whom the coca crop represented their entire livelihoods.

This film’s title translates to “under siege,” and documents the continually tumultuous situations in which these families of farmers have found themselves through no fault of their own, threatened by war and now by other armed groups seeking to make sense of an uncertain new society, one that has found no place for those who have been told they can no longer do what they have done for generations. In addition to a searing and affecting portrait of individuals who have been affected by this, this film offers an indictment of sweeping promises that fail to take into account the shortcomings of future guarantees that will cause irreparable harm until a permanent solution can be conceived and fully implemented.


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