CROSSES IN THE DESERT – Catalina May – IND – Chile

subtitled video | 26 min


Crosses in the desert by Las Raras Podcast

Las Raras is a Spanish-language non-fiction storytelling podcast that features people who resist norms, who work for social change and challenge the status quo.
It’s produced by the Chilean journalist Catalina May, Host and Content Director, and the Chilean sound engineer Martín Cruz, its Sound Director.

To date, Las Raras has published 25 episodes across 4 seasons. The 20-30 minute episodes include first-person testimonials, field reporting, soundscapes, sound archives, sound design and original music to make it a unique documentary-style podcast in Latin America.

Las Raras has collaborated with important podcasts like NPR’s Radio Ambulante, PRI’s The World, and Carne Cruda from Spain. It has been recognized with various awards and grants, including funding from the IWMF and was chosen among thousands of applicants to be part of the inaugural Google Podcasts creator program cohort.

In Crosses in the desert Las Raras accompanies a retired man who puts wooden crosses in the exact places where dead migrant bodies have been found in the Sonoran desert in Arizona.
During this story we can hear the voices of the migrants who get lost in the desert and call 911 asking for help.
We gained access to this archives thanks to the U.S. Freedom of Information act.
This is the second story in a miniseries on the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border.

Produced by

Cataline May

Las Raras podcast – It’s produced by the Chilean journalist Catalina May, Host and Content Director, and the Chilean sound engineer Martín Cruz, its Sound Director.


6 thoughts on “CROSSES IN THE DESERT – Catalina May – IND – Chile


    This documentary leads me into the harsh, hot and unfriendly Sonoran desert.
    From the very opening with Alvaro making crosses, to the very end I get strong and precise pictures and I walk alongside Alvaro, the program maker and the volunteers.
    The narration and the interviews are distinctive and the soundscape is clear.
    The emergency calls from the migrants are very painful to listen to as they should be.
    The vulnerable and desperate voices of the men and women struggling their way through the desert cuts like a sharp knife into my stomach.
    Thank you for a strong documentary on migration, humanity good and evil.

  2. Thanks, Catalina for this impressive reportage. Important work you are doing and i am happy to get aware that the radio feature and/or podcast scene in latin america is so alive- seems it it is still not well known in europe -maybe beside of spain, but that could change. ( como mis hijas viven en Chile, les voy a recomendar “las raras”:)

  3. I also want to thank you, Catalina, for this extraodinarily interesting episode of the podcast serie. I must admit that i was shocked by the numbers of the people that are determined to cross the desert with the vision of better life, but also with knowing that they might die. It must be really difficult choice.
    I admire the work that you’ve done on this podcast, the detailed picture of this nightmare was so terryfiyng to me. The combination of the sounds of this cruel part of nature with the non-agressive meditative music, authentic emergency calls from the migrants and with the storytelling of Alvaro was so immersive to me, that i almost felt the pain and struggle of wandering this huge cemetery.
    In Czech Republic the topic of migrants is also very discussed, but not from this point of view.

    Thanks for showing, that migrants are humans with dreams and stories

    Marek Podlaha, Palacký University, Czech Republic

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