Interview: Jorge Ramos discusses behind the scenes of FARC documentary 'Infiltrados'
'Infiltrados' (Infiltrated) is the first documentary produced by the new Documentales Univision (Univision Documentaries), a new unit of Univision News from the most important Hispanic network in the United States. With this special, which broadcast September 21, a new era opened in investigative television for Univision.
Juan Rendon, director of Documentales Univision, wrote and directed 'Infiltrados' and journalist Jorge Ramos took a very active role in the project. Ramos spoke exclusively with AOL Latino to discuss everything behind 'Infiltrados.'
AOL Latino: How are you involved in the documentary?
Jorge Ramos: I got involved since I first found out about the creation of this new Documentales Univision unit. With the new Univision News chiefs, we're doing new things that are far from just covering the news. Now we're dedicated to making the news, and the best way to do that is by delving into one of the most difficult and dangerous subjects, in this case infiltrating the guerrillas of the FARC. Once writer and director Juan Rendon showed me the interviews with the infiltrators of the FARC encampments, I immediately volunteered to narrate the documentary and promote it worldwide.
AOL Latino: How did you protect your sources and journalists involved in the investigation?
Jorge Ramos: In this documentary, four undercover agents agreed to speak with us. These people don't speak to anyone, but they agreed to talk under the condition that we not identify them or show their faces, as well as distorting their voices to protect them. Another huge triumph were the unedited images obtained from inside the FARC. Never before had they been seen eating, sleeping, walking, marching, how they assemble their camps, and how they're armed. The interviews and images obtained through the infiltrators are a journalistic triumph.
AOL Latino: Why did the infiltrators decide to speak to Univision?
Jorge Ramos: I've spent several years ending my news broadcast by saying, 'Thank you for trusting Univision,' and I think people trust us when we do good and valid journalistic work. These are people who trust that what they are saying will be respected when it's put on the air. We've broadcast for many years and people believe us. It is ultimately a question of credibility. We've spent many years reporting what we see and assuring that we can confirm what we say.
AOL Latino: How come Spanish-language television in the United States hadn't done a project like this when there are issues and talent to spare?
Jorge Ramos: We are in a world that is absolutely globalized and interconnected through the Internet and social networks, and it's at this time, as technology develops, that it would be absurd not to use all the information and talent available on the Internet, social networks and new journalists. I'm fascinated by the concepts of new journalists. They are incredibly talented, and [they know and dominate several specialties]; to put it another way, they write, direct, investigate, film, edit and report for various media simultaneously. Why now? Because of the changes, the technology, because we don't want to fall behind.
AOL Latino: Will the next documentary be an investigation initialized from zero by the Univision team?
Jorge Ramos: We're going to take it as it comes. We prefer to start them, but if groups of journalists or investigators are moving forward on other subjects and we think they're important we'll revisit. We have no problem with that. There's a new level of cooperation among Hispanics and there are great journalists; if we could cooperate with them, that would be great.
AOL Latino: Will you also deal with Mexico and its themes of conflict?
Jorge Ramos: Our specialty is covering Latin America, Hispanics and immigrants. Then we began covering Latin America with this issue that affects us all, which is violence and drug trafficking. Sixty percent of all cocaine produced by the FARC reaches the United States and, without a doubt, in the next documentaries, we're concentrating on Mexico, violence and the border. These are issues that continue.
AOL Latino: Do you have a subject and date for the next documentary?
Jorge Ramos: We're working on the next subject but I can't give you a date or what it's about. It should be ready in the next few months. I won't be in the next one, but there are a great many things in it that I could be involved in.
AOL Latino: Do you think there is anything missing from this project?
Jorge Ramos: We always want more, but we couldn't have done more. The only thing that was missing was if these infiltrators had recorded their presence for years and that would've been impossible because they would be killed. I think journalistically we took it to the limit and that is very satisfying. We reached that limit. Going beyond that limit would've meant enormously dangerous implications for those involved.
Did you see 'Infiltrados'? What did you think?
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