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    The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández

    The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández

    1h 30min
    2007     Documentary     USA
    Original lang: Spanish, English

    First airing on PBS in 2008, this Emmy-Nominated documentary remains one of the most critical, relevant, and widely discussed portraits of the U.S.-Mexico border. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor, Tommy Lee Jones, it chronicles the tragic 1997 killing of an American high school student, Esequiel Hernández, Jr., by a team of U.S. Marines. Fully camouflaged and armed with M16s, the Marines encountered the 18-year-old Hernández while he was tending his family's goats after school and, thinking he was a drug runner, shot him within sight of his home in the town of Redford, Texas near the Rio Grande. His death sparked a historic standoff between the FBI and Texas Rangers -- who wanted to try the Marines for murder -- and the U.S. military, who sought to prevent the prosecution. It also brought about a major policy shift -- the government subsequently halted all domestic military operations. But as the story faded from public view, policy changed again, and active duty military has since been deployed to the border in increasing numbers. Featuring powerful interviews with the Hernández family, FBI, Border Patrol, military leadership, and the Marines responsible for Esequiel's death, this urgent and cautionary tale continues to shed new light on the dangers of treating the U.S.-Mexico border as a war zone.

    Directed byKieran Fitzgerald
    Written byBrendan Fitzgerald, Kieran Fitzgerald, Shane Slattery-Quintanilla, Marc Weiss


    James Blood
    David Castaneda
    Tommy Lee Jones
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