Bus 174

Bus 147 was a documentary that told the incredible story of Sandro, a street kid, who hijacked a bus and held hostages for hours resulting in a chaotic, disastrous outcome. The documentary focused on Sandro’s upbringing and shed light on injustices surrounding his life as a street kid. The film brings up many issues surrounding Brazil and its increasing favelas and gang problem. What the film shows is a tragic story of a young man who was shaped by his circumstances and society’s classification of him. Bus 174 unveils Brazil’s social injustices’ and the catastrophic consequences that result from the government’s ignorance of the root of the problem.

Alberto Ramos, in The Drive-By Victim, tells a story of a similar situation as Sandro and Bus 174. A man who takes a taxi home is taken hostage and robed. At the beginning, the reader’s sympathy is only on the poor man who is the victim. However, as the story progresses, the lines blur on who is the “bad guy” and who is the “victim”. The thieves reveal that they are only robbing him because their friend is hurt and they have to come up with three million pesos that night. They say that they are thieves, not killers. Similarly, Sandro was not a killer and only a thief because of what society had sentenced him to as a street kid. The people of the streets had to find a way to feed themselves, even if that way involved crossing moral lines. Bus 174 brought up subjects that questioned the reasons behind Sandro’s actions. He watched his mother get murdered, he was treated as invisible scum by society, he was unable to secure a legal, paying job, and he was a survivor of the Candelária Cathedral massacre. Did he ever have an opportunity to initiate himself into society in an acceptable way? Was his outcome inevitable? Did the thieves in The Drive-By Victim have another alternative to save their friend’s life?

In Alma Guillermoprieto’s The Heart That Bleeds, overpowering images and descriptions of globalization fill the lines. The author writes about the Free trade Agreement with the United States in a negative way. Through this treaty, the government will control everything. The small people will be left behind to fend for themselves. The only thing truly Mexican that is left is the rancheras music. The narrator tells that every day, ordinary citizens do not have much to worry them, they live ordinary lives. These are the people changing Mexico. However, the “lower class” citizens still cling to the old Mexico, to the old music. Rancheras is filled with passion about bad love, loss, and pain. Only these poor, forgotten people can understand these kinds of passions. The majority of Mexico goes on their way, the only annoyance is getting stopped by the traffic lights. The citizens that fill the cock-fighting building were the only people left that could understand this intense passion, the only ones who could sing it correctly.  The result of a government controlled society is the Bus 174 incident. The government takes care of its middle to upper class citizens, but when it comes to the poor and misfortunate, the government exploits them half the time and ignores them the rest of the time. When the people realize they have been left behind they have to go to extreme measures to keep themselves alive. They have no time for morals. Through these stories and Bus 174’s description of Sandro’s life, it becomes clear that the problems of society are not only these people, but the societal laws that shape them into the criminals they do not want to be.