The Mixtecos, indigenous people from Oaxaca, Mexico, live and work in Ventura County, California, US. Mixtecos have been a vital part of the Ventura County’s economic success. Concentrated in labor-intensive agricultural sectors such as row crops. The lack of alternatives in Mexico, forces them to leave their villages and take the long journey to the US. This is a widespread phenomenon affecting families and communities with migration becoming a way of survival. The crossing of these indigenous groups into the United States is risky and not pleasant. For anyone who is willing, it is like selling your life at the border – great if you make it, but many die in the attempt. Once they leave their villages of origin in Oaxaca, Mexico, it normally takes them more than a month to reach the crossing point. They travel several weeks by bus and then some five days walking through the desert day and night. While the crisis in the Mexican countryside continue and are not forged profound changes in political, social and education, continued the flow of migration from rural communities in Mexico, their towns become ghost villages. By all accounts, the Mixtecos appear to have a solid migratory network where the ingenuity to create crossing strategies and solidarity among the group ensure them a better future on the other side of the border; traits that are part of their ancient heritage.
Ricardo Palavecino has been a cinematographer, videographer and photographer for the past 30 years.Ricardo’s desire to explore the human spirit through a lens was sparked by the famous photograph from 1963 of the Buddhist monk in Saigon who immolated as an act of protest against the government of Ngo Dinh Diem.