Environmental, economic, and military injustice in Latin America
Juan Mejia Botero was born on July 11, 1977 in Bogotá, Colombia. He came to the United States in 1994 to attend the United World College of the American West where he got his International Baccalaureate diploma. In 2000 he received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology & Sociology from Swarthmore College. As part of his thesis work he co-directed and co-edited the documentary film: Merging Voices: The Youth of El Salvador Speak. During the following year as a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient he traveled, lived and worked as a grassroots video facilitator in several countries in Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Chile). In August 2004 he culminated the University of Texas’ masters program in Latin American Studies with an emphasis on race, development and communications. His thesis work included a written piece: Critical Grassroots Media: Towards a Visual Anthropology of Liberation, and a documentary film: A Taves de Estos Ojos (Through These Eyes). After spending the following year continuing his work with the Asociación de Afrocolombianos Desplazados (AFRODES) in Colombia, he entered the masters program in Social Documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2005. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2007 and is currently in Colombia working on a feature documentary titled The Battle for Land, that deals more deeply with the true and often-hidden causes and consequences of the forced displacement of Afrocolombians. The film, due to be completed in November 2010, has just won a completion grant from the ministry of culture in Colombia through the Fondo de Cine.