Community Space

Maria Victoria Maldonado Memorial 01/31/16


Message from DeeDee Halleck:

Victoria Maldonado was my partner in this Waves of Change project—presenting examples of community media from around the world.  We started in 2007 and we had hopes of doing a video series and an internet map of examples of  community expressions--projects that give voice to the needs, passions struggles and creativity of groups around the world. We were never able to raise the funding needed for such a large vision, but this is our web site which contains a map, a library of images and articles and over 500 blog posts about community media. Presentations about this project have been made in numerous conferences and classes, promoting the research about and appreciation of the many courageous and important projects of community media around the world.

In 2010, Victoria traveled to the Our Media Conference in Medllin, Colombia. There she interviewed several key figures in the field, including teachers at the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil in Belen de Andaquies, the founder of the Montes de Maria Colectivo de Comunicacion, John Downing, professor and author of Radica Media and many others. She also interviewed Alfonso Gumucio Dagron later in the Deep Dish office. These short interviews are important historical documents of Latin American community media. The Waves website has over 5000 visits a month. 

Victoria and her partner, Mario Murillo, documented the important "Minga"-- the march of indigenous peoples in Colombia from Cauca to Calle and Bogota. Scenes from this march and the Our Media interviews are available on this blog. Search for the names in the search box on the home page.

Karen Ranucci, filmmaker and founder of the Latin American Video Archive has written about Victoria:

I had the privilege of meeting Victoria in the late 80’s when I was running the Latin America Video Archives. She came with her first dramatic production, Café Norte y Sur, a seemingly semi-autobiographical story of a young Latin American indigenous woman who works in a cafe in a rundown building on the Lower East side which is a cultural hub for Latin American immigrants. She is caught between worlds as she struggles with holding on to her indigenous roots while being assimilated into life in urban NY.

Victoria went on to make a number of documentaries - sister to sister using the occasion of the Hemisheric women's solidarity to show the effects of the US blockade of cuba on the daily life of the Cuban people. Then heading down to Nicaragua with her beloved Mario to document the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch. But unlike other journalists who reported on the "natural" disaster, Victoria and Mario made the connection of how rather than putting resources into securing the population before, during and after the storm, how on the day of the storm the government chose to make a $60 million payment to foreign banks and would not warn people of the impending storm and further horribly ignored the cries of those stranded by not sending out rescue teams until days later when it was already too late for the 11,000 people who died. 

In El Salvador Not For Sale - they documented the extreme poverty of those considered expendable and placed that poverty in the historical context of the US military support of dictators who eliminated anyone who dared to stand up to this oppression and the neo-liberal policies of letting foreign companies do whatever they wanted in raping the country.. They showed why the grassroots were forced to take up arms and how after years of struggle, the guerillas forced the government to the negotiating table won the right to form a political party and participate in elections. But they didn't stop there. They followed the story to show that promised reforms were never implemented and documented workers taking to the streets again to continue their struggle for a decent life.