La virgen de los sicaros

         Our Lady of the Assassins is an unrelenting look into the violent culture that is plaguing the city of Medellin. The film is following a man named Vallejo who appears to be grief stricken after the loss of his last remaining sibling passes away. He utters that he has nothing left in this world to love and makes it clear that he has come to Medellin to die. Not in the sense that he is sick, but rather that he has done what he wanted to do and is ready to find the place he can call home until he passes away. He moves back to Medellin because this is where he grew up as a child. Unfortunately, Vallejo does not return to the same Medellin that he remembers. He spends many of the first few days meandering around the same streets he used to as a child, finding that the civility and law-and-order he remembers has been all but forgotten. Not long after he arrives, Vallejo is no more than five feet away from a car jacking that occurs at a red light, resulting in the driver being shot and killed. This horrifying scene seems somewhat unimaginable to an outside viewer. All the while Vallejo stands silent and expressionless in amazement at the senseless violence that is unfolding in front of him.
             This seems to be another film pointing out the social problems haunting large sections of Colombia. Such rampant violence being committed by the youth of a society is a disaster that will only continue to spiral out of control. This type of despair and poverty is what leads many of these children into this life. They all work together and teach each other the tricks of the trade which makes the problem compound exponentially over a very short period of time. If an entire generation is behaving in a certain manner, in this case violently and criminally, the next generation is doomed to learn from these behaviors and mimmic them even from a young age. In a way their has always been a struggle of the lower class to succeed through whatever means possible. Hilton’s article (p31-33) talks about the countless insurrections and uprising of both the left and right wings, and about the coffee workers movements and quest for survival spanning across decades of Colombian history. In today’s culture guns are much more common place and are easy to acquire in underdeveloped and under privileged areas. Leading many children into a life of crime because of it being one of the only ways out and a possible means to some sort of sustainable wealth that was otherwise unattainable. This seems to be exactly what has happened in the town of Medellin and countless other Latin American city’s.
             Upon Fernando’s arrival back to Medellin he was greeted with the gift of a young man named Alexis who is a street hustler and assassin. Their situations brought them together and Vallejo decided quickly to let Alexis live with him in his deceased sisters’ apartment. Although they seemed to have starkly contrasting attitudes and ideas towards life, Fernando begins to change his views to match Alexis’ and quickly begins a relationship with Alexis. The comment by the boastful young boy that he impregnated his girlfriend so that there will be someone to avenge his inevitable death is a perfect example of how the youth of a city can be so lost. In situations like this the individuals are living day by day and not even planning on their being a future at all for them. The drug trade is synonymous with violence for one main reason that Vargas captures well in his article stating that much of the violence stems from “Lack of legitimate institutions to resolve conflicts”. Going on to say that a “symbiosis developed between export capital derived from drug trafficking and money laundering carried out through the purchase of agricultural lands. This process not only led to a further concentration of land ownership but also created political consequences, including an increase in armed conflicts. (p110-111)” This will always lead to social divides and inevitably lead to a significant increase in crime rates directly reflecting the problem of poverty. As soon as Valejo’s relationship begins with Alexis it is snatched away by his murder. Only finding out later that Wilmar, Valejo’s new partner, is the gang member who killed Alexis. Continuing the brutality and eye for an eye mentality, Wilmar is killed leaving no end to the violence regardless of who or where you were. This leaves Valejo heart broken and even more distraught than when he arrived in his hometown. A sad ending as he shuts the curtains to his room leaving it up to the viewer to decide if he took his own life or not because of his sadness.
              This cycle of violence is shown over and over again and is clearly crying out for help to stop the senseless acts committed everyday. Showing a case like this from Alejo’s perspective speaks perfectly to how many view that film. They are almost in awe at the violence that is taking place right in front of them, much like Valejo is shocked at how much his home town has changed. At the moment the crime rates are just going to continue to climb until this problem is dealt with head on and in a new way. In such a high area of crime there were ironically countless churches on every corner. This seemed to be a counter balance to keep those who are living correctly on the right path and giving them hope that good still does prevail.