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Latino Daily News

Saturday October 20, 2012

Discovery en Español’s Programs Explore Hate Crimes, the Reality of Homeless Families

Discovery en Español’s Programs Explore Hate Crimes, the Reality of Homeless Families

Photo: "Desamparados" (Discovery en Español)

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Discovery en Español presents “Caras del odio” and “Desamparados”, two new original productions that expose two realities that have a devastating effect in the Hispanic community: hate crimes and the high incidence of homeless families. “Caras del odio” premieres Sunday, October 28 at 9 PM E/P, and “Desamparados” will air on Sunday, November 4 at 9 PM E/P.

For many, the immigration debate going on in the country has aggravated the divide and the intolerance level in some sectors and communities in the United States. The documentary “Caras del odio” investigates this controversial topic, its causes, effects and its long-term ramifications, through two emblematic cases: the death of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez after a fight with a group of high school teenagers from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania in 2008; and the case of Juan Varela, a United States citizen and fifth-generation Hispanic, murdered in 2010 by his neighbor Gary Kelley after an argument over Arizona Law SB1070 against illegal immigration.

The production describes the circumstances surrounding both incidents as well as the legal aspects of the trials determining the guilty verdict of the perpetrators. “Caras del odio” includes never-before-seen interviews and statements from family members, eyewitnesses and law officials, who all contribute their different points of views and opinions to both sides of the conflict; among them: Crystal Dillman, Luis Ramirez’s girlfriend; Frederick Fanelli, defense attorney for Brandon Piekarsky (one of the accused); and Eileen Burke, witness to the fight that ended the life of Luis Ramirez.

The case of Juan Varela includes testimonials by his widow Maria Varela; Darren Udd, the detective in charge of the investigation and ex County Attorney for Maricopa County, Rick Romley.

The original production “Desamparados”, that will air November 4 at 9 PM E/P, follows the daily lives and the state of several Hispanic families that have seen how their lives have changed drastically after they lost their homes and jobs, and today live in shelters, parks and even their cars.

In the past decades, statistics have shown that the majority of homeless people were single men, with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, today the majority of this vulnerable population is made up of families.

One of these is Jennifer Marrero’s, from Orlando, Florida, who has been unemployed for almost a year, and found herself living in her car with her three children after she lost her home. Jennifer managed to stay at a modest hotel with the help of the program, “Families in Transition”, but her money is running out.

Another case included in the documentary is that of the family of Elizabeth Morales Cardenas, made up of three children, two grandparents, Elizabeth and her husband. They live in Modesto, California and have been living in a rented home after suffering from a long and painful repossession of their home by the bank. Elizabeth’s husband is about to cash in his last unemployment check and that will only be enough for a month of living expenses.