“And I thought that we are so screwed in this country that the only option left to us in the end is thanking the thieves.” This quote from Alberto Ramos in, The Drive-by Victim, ironically shows how chaotic the criminal justice system is in South America; more specifically in the highly populated cities.
Bus 174 tells the story of Sandro Rosa do Nascimento, a man from Rio de Janerio. In his early life, he witnessed his mother’s murder and was forced to a life on the streets. As a deserted youth, he ended up in jail and eventually found a family at Candelaria; an old historic church in Rio de Janerio. There Sandro created friendships and was able to survive. However, on July 23, 1993, the Brazilian police shot on Sandro and his friends, allegedly killing eight and wounding more. He cites that this massacre was his reason for taking hostages on Bus 174.
From previous movies and readings, South American countries are becoming urbanized and governments do not have enough resources to safely protect its citizens. Thieves can continually rob and live well enough to continue and forgo searching for a real job. The police force is undermanned and underfunded. Bus 174 documents jail life in Rio, showing an overcrowded cell with inmates who are undernourished. One man stated that he was from another country and had been in jail eight months past his release date; he exclaimed, “I’d rather be dead than in this jail.” Leaders in the government are hoping to establish “modernity” through out South America. President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement which opened up better trade relations between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Several local Mexicans view this transition to modernity negatively because of Mexico’s unique history with out the nuances other advanced countries benefited from. However modernization is a necessity for progress, otherwise actions like Sandros will continue to occur. Through T.V. coverage, Sandros was able to bring light to his situation. Through movies like Bus 174, more people have been immersed in the problems South America is facing today.
I believe they are moving in the right direction. Mexico’s subway is now one of the longest urban railways in the world. Citizens are able to commute to their place of work more efficiently, and fewer workers will have to travel through the city. In 2014 Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup, which will boost the economy tremendously. Two years after, Rio de Janiero will host the Olympics. These events will force the government to clean up the streets of the cities, improve hotels, and increase funding to the police force, which will in turn improve the quality of life in South America.