Bus 174- Week 9

          The film, Bus 174 focuses on the issue of street kids and particularly one street kid that involved himself in a hostage situation on Bus 174. The issue of street kids in Latin American cities is a social problem that has significant effects on future generations of children. There are many reasons these children revert to living on the street. Either they have no one to care for them, something happens to their family caregivers, or they do not get along with their families. For these children the only viable option is to turn to the streets to live and beg for money and food. The children have no other options, and become a liability to the future of the cities they occupy. The treatment of these children is obscure, instead of trying to reform these street kids to better the future of these countries like Brazil, the government and policy beat and kill these children. The children represent a meek existence that further prevents them from being rehabilitated into society. They are desperate for a social existence and their invisibility is what hinders them. This invisibility is thrust upon them from the social stigma society places on their existence. It is a harsh reality to be faced with, and one that children shouldn’t have to embrace. The invisibility they feel is unbearable and leads to behaviors that are an attempt to cope with the desperation they feel. These children revert to drug use, through the film we see street kids mention the use of marijuana and cocaine especially. They also use glue sniffing as a means to get high, this proves to be a inexpensive means to escape from the realities they face. The repercussion of the lives street children have not only effects them, but the rest of society as well. The street children must beg and steal in order to survive, and this has negative effects for surrounding people. It creates a very dangerous type of city, where there is a constant threat of robbery that must invoke fear amongst civilians. The “Drive-By Victim” in Citizens of Fear: Urban Violence in Latin America is an example of the kind of fear that occurs in these Latin American cities and the types of violence that occur. The man is simply trying to take a taxi home, however the driver turns out to be part of the hold-up along with two other men. They take the code to his savings account, and make him give his address to invoke further fear that if he talks to police they will come hurt his family. The  interesting part of the story is the reaction the man has after being let go. He says, “And I thought that we were so screwed in this country that the only option left to us in the end is thanking the thieves” (Ramos 4). This statement shows that the crime and violence that takes place occurs and is so bad that the only thing the victims can do is thank the thieves for not taking their lives. The way Latin American cities are viewed today has not always been the way the operated historically. “Latin Americans have historically imagined the city in positive ways, that is, they have recognized it as a locus of a particular type of civilization that endows its members with a more comprehensive existence” (Szuchman 24). Through the existence that street kids have in society, it is evident that Latin American cities do not hold the same type of positivism that they previously had. “The weight and power of municipal authorities have been weakened significantly in cities where crime and overcrowding have made human life a cheap-and disposable- commodity” (Szuchman 24).