This blogpost was writen by Pía Rio Blanco from La Sandía Digital and Indira Cornelio from WITNESS. You can learn more about the Emergency Exits project on this website

“We decided not to focus on the pain, on the victimization of the people. They speak all about their dreams, courage, strength and the joy of having a new beginning” Pía Río Blanco – Zona Docs Blog.

“Emergency Exits” is a series of collaborative podcasts that contributes to the construction of a culture of respect that promotes the rights of migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico. The project seeks to deconfine the voices of refugees and asylum seekers in Mexico who were silenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to strengthen their right to communication and combat xenophobia. It is an initiative of La Sandía Digital and WACC, supported by WITNESS, and with the participation of Daniela Rea from Periodistas de a pie as the narrator.

Deconfine the voices of refugees and asylum seekers in Mexico

On October 13, 2018, we witnessed the start of “migrant caravans” of people who organized in Central American countries to cross international borders as a response to the multiple rights violations faced in Mexico.

These violations are aided by fake news, as well as discriminatory statements from the commercial media and also from people in government positions. The organization Alma Migrante denounced the former municipal president of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastélum, for issuing a message of “zero tolerance” towards migrants during an interview on November 16, 2018, after which a judge demanded respect for the rights and security of said population.

“During the pandemic and this new normality, xenophobic narratives of politicians and the most conservative sectors of the population continue to be reproduced… Refugees are spoken of in a passive voice. They are not active protagonists within narratives.”-Narrative report prepared by La Sandía Digital as part of the Emergency Exits project

In Mexico, the stories and messages in favor of people in migration situations have had a growing echo. With the support of media alliances covering the borders, regional media have been able to identify and debunk fake news that fuels rejection and racism within the country. More outlets are also recording the valuable displays of affection, support and welcome to the people entering Mexico.

Each journey counts and enriches us

The stories that make up this podcast series were developed between October 2020 and April 2021 during script workshops organized in two shelters in Mexico City: CAFEMIN and Casa Mambré. The protagonists met here to exchange stories and spin the paths that led them to seek a better future in Mexico where they enrich society with their knowledge and dreams.

The stories recorded during the meetings were later edited by La Sandía Digital with the participation of Daniela Rea as narrator. These recordings became a prologue and six episodes in which fifteen men, women and adolescents from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela share why they had to flee from their countries of origin and how they were received in Mexico.

The episodes are available on the project website as well as on the platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcast, Soundcloud. You can also follow project updates on Facebook and Instagram. Within the page you will find a compilation of resources for people interested in multimedia production for the promotion of the rights of migrants and asylum seekers.

We invite you to listen to these stories and let their courage inspire you.

Episodes

Prologue: Daniela Rea, reporter and member of the Network Periodistas de apie, tells how this podcast was created with the intention of deconfining the voices of exiled people who are part of Mexican society. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 1 “Brave Mothers”: Hear Karla and Laura, two single moms who fled Honduras and El Salvador to protect their teenage children from gang violence. Their path crossed in Mexico City with Dayana’s, a Venezuelan who is looking for a better future for her little daughter. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 2 “Far from the maras”: Bryan, Naydeli and Jefferson, three Honduran teenagers who forged a strong friendship during their stay at Casa Mambré, tell you about their love for music and art, and also their desire to get as far away as possible from the gangs. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 3 “Change of Plans”: Jaime, Ariel and Marvin, three Central American adults, who lived happily in their countries of origin before being confronted with violence, bring us closer to what exile means: having to flee with one day’s notice with almost no baggage, radically changing your life. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 4 “Unaccompanied”: Susana and David arrived in Mexico from Guatemala and El Salvador without family or adults. The immigration authorities categorize them as “unaccompanied minors”, but they are accompanied by friendship and the desires to study and to build more just societies. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 5 “Between Sisters”: Raquel and María had to flee after losing their homes and sources of income due to hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020. These two young sisters will tell you how migrating together to Mexico with the goal of reaching the United States strengthened their family bond and helped them overcome obstacles along the way. Link to listen to this episode

Episode # 6 “The encounter”: Andrés and Julieta met as teenagers when they were doing theater in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and now they live in Mexico. For the last episode of “Emergency Exits”, they recorded a different story from the others. Together they recreated a phone call in which they share their experiences: her process to seek refuge in Mexico and his dilemma between migrating and staying in the land where he built his life and family. Link to listen to this episode

Resources

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