Bus 174

As previously discussed in the issue of violence and crime in Latin American communities in Cidades De Deus, the conditions of the impoverish youth brought forth a large amount of negative actions in response. In the documentary Bus 174, the problems surrounding the mistreatment of Latin America’s street kids by the middle to upper class people comes to the forefront of the public eye when a young man holds a bus full of people hostage. The police force at the time also comes under scrutiny with their inability to properly control and handle the situation presented to them.
Sandro, the gun-wielding maniac as portrayed by the public, gains the sympathy of the audience as the documentary investigates his background. When wealthier citizens would ignore him as a street child, they did not realize his psychological damage brought forth by witnessing his mother’s murder. When the police would arrest him as a teenager for theft, they did not realize that he only stole because he could not attain a job because of the discrimination against the street kids.
In comparison, also blurring the lines of who is truly the victim of Latin America’s society, Alberto Ramos describes a situation in his essay, The Drive-By Victim. The initial response of the reader is that the man being held hostage by the thieves is the true victim. However, after hearing their story detailing a friend in dire need of medical assistance, the audience is forced to question which of the two is the victim. In Latin America, people like Sandro continue to exist despite the government’s attempts to erase their presence.
According to Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexicans realized that the value of a Mexican citizen has decreased with the introduction of American influences within their boundaries in The Heart that Bleeds. For an impoverished individual living in the slums of their city with thousands of other people, who are also considered to be worthless, life was not considered to have any value itself. Sandro himself understood this concept, as he told the passengers on Bus 174 that he had “nothing to live for” when the girls explained to him that he will be shot and killed by the waiting SWAT force outside. The only thing that Sandro himself fought for was the public admittance that he and his people were mistreated by the police force and the middle to upper class people who continued to ignore the big, fat elephant in the room: how they would rather ignore the cries for help by the impoverished than acknowledge them. Yelling out the window continuously, Sandro made references to the Candelaria Cathedral Massacre that had taken away several of his “family.”
As of today, very little has been done for the awareness of the impoverished class of people in Latin American communities. Street kids continue to annoy commuters with their impromptu performances at stoplights in order to earn change for food. The police force is still an amateur group of individuals that does not understand the importance of proper protocol, and the government officials continue to maintain a public image that damages the invisible people of the streets.