Los Comandos and Towards the North

About This Episode


Los Comandos by Joshua Bennett and Juliana Schatz-Preston

In El Salvador, extreme gang and police violence produce the country with the highest murder rate in the world. The emergency medical unit, Los Comandos de Salvamento, is one of the few institutions that is willing to take a stand against this reign of terror, and is a place of refuge and community for the young people who are disproportionately targeted. Terror has eliminated freedom of movement for these young people.

Mimi, a 16-year-old high school student is growing up in this war zone surrounded by violent gangs and heavily armored police. Her family and community struggle to survive in a situation that is often referred to as the ‘new civil war’. But Mimi find refuge in a group of volunteer paramedics called the Comandos de Salvamento.

Yet after one of her fellow Comandos is gunned down, Mimi faces one of the most difficult choices of her life: Should she stay and continue to risk her life to help others, or flee El Salvador and head north in hopes of a brighter future?

Towards the North by Jessica Chermayeff and Joshua Bennett

At a tiny refugee shelter in Tapachula, Mexico thousand of families every year begin their journey northward through Mexico. The extreme gang violence of Central America has forced millions to abandon their homes and search for a better life in the U.S. and Canada.

One such family is Nelly and her daughter Joseline, who have their eyes set on the opportunities in the United States. Towards the North showcases their daily struggles of being asylum seekers on the run: making the best of each day, meeting new friends and living in a constant state of fear.

As the small family covers the length of Mexico, they face immigration officials and take selfies along the way. But what awaits them in Tijuana at the U.S. border may suddenly darken their reality.

Los Comandos and Towards the North are films from Show of Force's Humanity on the Move initiative.

Follow the journey with this interactive map: