Mexico City’s east side is known to be the roughest, most dangerous part of town. Life can be unforgiving in the slums, especially in one of the most populated cities in the world.
It became even more so after then-President Felipe Calderon declared a “War on Drugs” in 2006. The strategy unleashed an unprecedented spiral of violence, causing the deaths of more than 100.000 Mexicans.
But a veteran photojournalist found a way to portray a different picture for the young people growing up in the Iztapalapa district. Armed with a camera and drawing from his own troubled childhood, Jesus Villaseca made a commitment to teach photojournalism to the students of the East Lighthouse School.
Some of Jesus former students have become award winning photographers, working for established outlets like the newspaper El Universal and the tabloid La Prensa. He is also the founder of the agency Latitudes Press, which provides graphic coverage of everything happening on the streets of Mexico City. “We’re at war here, a cultural war against criminal organizations”.
Armed only with his camera, Jesus Villaseca is this week’s Game Changer on Americas Now.