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'8 Murders a Day' tells of violence in Mexico

January 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Charlie Minn is a filmmaker on a mission to let people know about multiple murders in Mexico. It's a daily tragedy in a dangerous place.

He made a graphic movie about it, and he's in Los Angeles trying to promote it. The media here, he says, has largely ignored him, but he sold me with one staggering statistic.

In 2010, there were 3,111 murders in Juarez, Mexico. That's a record number for a city that averages "8 Murders a Day," which became the name of Minn's documentary.

"In 2010, Juarez had more murders than the 9/11 attacks. I would guarantee you, George, that 98 percent of the people in our country do not know that," said Minn.

And in 2011, things got even worse.

"The country's under a state of emergency. It's bleeding. 2011 was the worst year in Mexico history - over 12,000 murders due to the cartel war," said Minn.

Minn said that 45,000 Mexicans have died since President Felipe Calderon declared wars on the drug cartels.

Sixty percent of the people who live in Juarez do so in extreme poverty. But Minn claims it is extreme corruption that's turned the drug wars into one big overdose of murder.

"The corruption runs deep on every level. The police are committing murder. The army's committing murder. We have a bullet-ridden free-for-all," said Minn.

Calderon has said 90 percent of the people killed in Mexico's drug wars are criminals being killed by other criminals.

"'Ninety percent of the people killed are criminals.' It's completely false. It's a lie. Only five percent of the crimes are even investigated," said research librarian Molly Molloy, who was quoted in the documentary.

Minn worked as a broadcaster for a decade, but says, due to his candor, he was fired more times than Al Capone's gun.

Now he's firing back, trying to get people to take notice of what he calls "the great human rights disaster in the world today."

"I'm not Oliver Stone. I don't have three Oscars in my resume. I just have to keep fighting, but that's my nature. I live life with guts, with fairness and toughness," said Minn.

"8 Murders a Day" opens Friday at the Regal Edwards Theatre in South Gate. It's in English and Spanish with subtitles in both languages as needed.