Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Tempest

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Tempest

Article excerpt

FILM

Tempest

"We know you haven't done anything, but someone has to pay," Miriam Carbajal recalls hearing from a court-appointed attorney before being put in jail. What started as a normal day at work turns into a five-month nightmare for Carbajal, one of the central characters in Tempest, an emotionally charged Mexican documentary by Salvadoran-born cinematographer Tatiana Huezo. Carbajal is told she is a pagador-someone who pays for the offenses of others so the government can show results in its struggle against organized crime. Charged with human traffick-ing, she is forced away from her son and her job at the Cancun airport to a gang-run prison in Matamoros. There she endures beatings and demands for payments to ensure her protection, until she is abruptly acquitted and released without explanation.

The documentary then shifts focus to a second Mexican woman: Adela Alvarado, whose daughter Mónica was kidnapped 10 years earlier by unknown assailants. …

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