Mexico City, Mexico
By Edgard Garrido
Days before last Christmas, city authorities initiated a program of voluntary disarmament for citizens encouraging them to swap their pistols, revolvers, guns and the occasional 60mm mortar round for bicycles, tablets or cash. Thousands flocked to the swapping stations set up in different neighborhoods by the police and military.
Some weapons were destroyed on site but I wondered where the rest of the collected weapons would land. So, I decided to issue a formal request to the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) asking if I could access their storage facilities to take pictures.
Mexico City, Mexico
By Edgard Garrido
The truth is that there are lots of viewpoints, myths, interests, ignorance and bigotry when it comes to bullfighting. It’s undeniable – beyond being against or for it – that bullfights are a historical and cultural event, and a reality that I couldn’t ignore as a photographer in Mexico. During a month this past Mexican summer I photographed bullfights, ones that in the end were not particularly bloody for the toreros but certainly were for the bulls and, I have to admit, for my emotions as well.
Stepping into the world of toreros was easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because the people are friendly, and difficult because it was, and still is, an unfamiliar world to me.
By Edgard Garrido
What really happens when a man, or a woman, or even a child, abandons their home motivated by the idea of a better life? How do they imagine it? What do they wish for, what are they missing?
There is violence, overcrowded neighborhoods and gigantic infrastructure on the outskirts of Mexico City but there are also hundreds of thousands of people who walk day and night; different people every day and every night for weeks and months next to the train tracks, trying to jump on a train car filled with merchandise as the train passes. Fear is engraved in their faces and makes their feet heavy. Solitude, hunger, the cold and above all a painful uncertainty, are carried with them. They left behind their homes in a land without miracles and few joys, like the last of the deserts.
“Even Obama cares about us! The last time a gay leader was assassinated in Uganda, Obama asked [President] Pepe [Lobo] to protect us and investigate the crimes against us in Honduras,” says Bessy, a 31 year-old transsexual who does volunteer social work with the homosexual community during the day. For the last 11 years, Bessy has also been working nights as a prostitute on the streets.
Honduran government sources have documented the assassination of 34 gays, transvestites, and transsexuals in the past 18 months. Some of them were killed with great sadism and cruelty. Three days before Christmas, murderers tied Lady Oscar to a chair and set fire to her. A week earlier the body of Luis Hernandez was found in a ditch, her face beaten until it was unrecognizable.
Carlos, a migrant and three-time deportee, commented to me, “I’ve been there and back, too. I’m a migrant and I want a better future.” Carlos’ brother is one of the 16 Hondurans whose bodies were repatriated on September 1st after being found among the 72 immigrants executed by a drug cartel in Tamaulipas, Mexico, as they neared the border with the U.S.
I couldn’t help thinking of a recent magazine article about 800 expatriate soccer players in Europe and how, according to the author, their story might open doors for other foreign “workers” in this globalized world. It struck me that while many of those athletes were born in the slums of Latin America just like most of the 72 dead migrants, the difference was that their talent made it good business for them to cross borders.
November 6, 2009, TegucigalpaForty-odd days ago there were forty-odd days still to go, days of uncertainty…Today we survive inside the Brazilian Embassy while the dialogue to reinstate deposed President Manuel Zelaya is dying. The afternoon ends and the footsteps of Lineu Pupo de Paula – Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) – jogging on the roof echo as the anxious heartbeats of Hondurans awaiting a solution.
Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) Lineu Pupo de Paula runs on the terrace inside Brazil’s embassy in Tegucigalpa October 11, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – For two weeks, I have slept with my finger on the shutter button, just meters from where Honduras’ President Manuel Zelaya, ousted in a coup, waits in refuge and hopes for a return to power.
As a Reuters photographer in Honduras, I was one of the few reporters who managed to slip into Brazil’s embassy when Zelaya crept back into the country and sought refuge here, almost three months after troops toppled him and sent him into exile.
Urgent news flash! Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned to the country after 82 days in exile. I kiss my wife and son. “Bye, see you soon.” I rush out without a shower and without socks. The first information places Zelaya in the U.N. building in Tegucigalpa. It must be true.Fifteen minutes later 50 supporters are cheering victory for Zelaya outside the building. His closest allies appear making gestures of triumph. Zelaya has returned, but it soon becomes obvious that he isn’t exactly there. The lie is a strategy to confuse the de facto state security that had blocked his previous attempts to return. Suddenly one demonstrator screams, “To the Brazilian embassy!” And I follow.
Supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya gather after learning of his return, outside the embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Hundreds of his followers pack so tightly in the doorway that they seem about to asphyxiate themselves. The door opens and I push with all my might to within two steps of the entrance but the mob is too much. The door closes and I am being smothered until a local colleague pulls me free. A minute later I try again and manage to enter completely, gasping. I race inside as if I was returning home.Today, as I write this, it is that same embassy that I have been calling “home” ever since.Right now it is midnight, the best time to concentrate and write about my experiences – complex, joyful, exhausting, arduous, but above all inspiring.I keep running and running without looking back. I climb a staircase to reach a room that has since become my living quarters. I am told that Zelaya is in the next room, where he remains to this day. People that enter and exit his room confirm his presence, but I need to see him. A door opens and there he is! I take two photos and make my first dispatch.
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya greets supporters inside the Brazilian embassy after his arrival in Tegucigalpa September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido