Cartel Land tells the story of vigilante groups fighting the Mexican drug cartels. The film focuses on Tim Foley, the leader of the Arizona Border Recon, and Dr. Jose Mireles, a Michoacan-based physician who leads the Autodefensas. They both lead citizen uprisings against the drug cartels in their regions. When your government cannot provide basic safety from murderous organised criminals, is it acceptable to take the law into your own hands to protect your family, your land, and your country? That is the question at the heart of Cartel Land, a powerfully visceral journey of two modern-day vigilante movements. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as "El Doctor", shepherds a citizen uprising against the Knights Templar, the violent drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona's Altar Valley—a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley—Tim "Nailer" Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to halt Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across the US border.This documentary is about the struggle of civilians during conflict, who take the matters in their own hands when their government fails to protect basic human rights. It also raises queries of accountability for human rights violations by non-state actors, i.e.. of both the cartels and the autodefensas.
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The Human Rights Film Series is a student-led Human Rights Law centre initiative. It shows engaging and provocative films which bring challenging human rights issues to life. The context of each film is briefly introduced by a relevant expert followed by discussion. Screenings are organised by a student committee and are free and open to all staff and students.
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