Elio Gelmini and Ross Turnbull

1999, 12:00 minutes, colour, Spanish / English subtitles


On June 10, 1998 as the world celebrated the opening of the century's last soccer World Cup, Mexican federal army & police troops attacked a number of Zapatista villages in El Bosque, a municipality in the war-torn province of Chiapas. Several people were killed and the troops detained almost 60 campesinos.

Three days later, June 13, Mexico commenced its first match of the World Cup, playing South Korea. On the same day in Union Progreso, the El Bosque village that had sustained the worst assault on June 10, the bodies of eight men were returned by intermediaries. It is unknown if the eight had been killed during the attack and their bodies removed by the troops, or if they had been among those detained.
Asesinados juxtaposes these two events - the World Cup game and the return of the bodies to Union Progreso and subtly attempts to question actions taken in the name of national aspiration. Ironic, disturbing and succinct, the tape is a powerful reminder of the basis of the conflict in Chiapas: the systemic suppression of the human rights of its indigenous inhabitants.

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Critical Writing

It's All Rights Ma I'm Only Watching
by Jonathan Culp. POV, Spring 2000, no. 39.