Voces on PBS: El Poeta

About This Episode

Both heartbreaking and inspiring, El Poeta tells the story of renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who ignited mass protests and an ongoing international movement after the brutal killing of his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco — collateral damage in a drug war that has left more than 100,000 dead or missing since 2006.

After his son’s death in 2011, Sicilia called on the Mexican people to protest, bringing more than 100,000 people to the capital demanding that the government address the devastating impact of the militarized drug war. The movement launched caravans throughout Mexico and then crossed the border to the United States, urging American citizens and lawmakers to acknowledge that America’s appetite for drugs (the U.S. makes up 90 percent of the market for Mexican drugs) and loose gun laws have fueled the ongoing war.

Filmed over three years, El Poeta follows Sicilia's journey from Mexico’s most embattled cities, including Juarez, Chihuahua and Durango, to the U.S. The news story of drugs, murder and corruption is transformed into a deeply personal examination of the impact of loss on the human psyche — as well as the power of protest and the courage of conviction to inspire positive change.