A multi-billion dollar American development is poised to engulf a small coastal community in Mexico with a mega hotel/condo complex.
But local people are banding together to save their way of life and the delicate ecosystem on which they all depend.
Rosario Salvatierra is a stocky and energetic fourth generation fisherman in Todos Santos, a small, idiosyncratic desert town on the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur. For generations several hundred fishermen have launched their boats into the sea directly from Punta Lobos, the beach just outside of town. But all that is about to change. As Rosario walks along the beach he is confronted by a massive sea wall and a concrete platform that stretches for hundreds of meters from the breakwater back towards the mountains. Thousands of mangroves that once protected the beach have been bulldozed, an arroyo backfilled, dunes flattened and a boutique hotel and massive tourist complex is being constructed on the site along with the first of a projected 4,472 homes, the residents of which will triple the population of the town.
It is all part of an American mega development, called Tres Santos, that threatens to transform and overwhelm the town of Todos Santos. The fishermen themselves are being pushed off the beach and the development would drain the already diminished aquifer, taking drinking water from a town where many residents already do not have access.
What are the rights of small, under-represented communities in the face of global business interests and unsustainable development and what can they do to stand up for those rights and their way of life?
For the last year Rosario, who is one of the leaders of the Punta Lobos Fishermen’s Cooperative, has been asking these questions and has been pushing the fishermen and the town to stand up for their rights. He is being supported by his 29 year-old daughter Maria Salvatierra and John Moreno, a young, charismatic Mexican lawyer.
The narrative arc of our film follows the efforts of the Salvatierra family as they struggle to educate and organize their community against the developers and the burgeoning awareness among the fishermen and the townspeople regarding the enormity of what is at stake. We also follow the patient efforts of attorney John Moreno to inform the fishermen of their legal rights and eventually as he takes on the municipal and then federal governments on their behalf. As Moreno slowly begins to succeed in his efforts to thwart the developers, they begin to target him in increasingly threatening and desperate ways. The developers, in collusion with local politicians, also attempt to divide the town, the fishermen and families and we watch as they work to stay united. As Rosario points out early on “we are taking on giants”.