The Double Life of Ernesto Gomez Gomez

A Film by Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan

Narrated by Piri Thomas

Luna Productions.
3411 Irving St., San Francisco 94122, USA.
Tel.: (415) 661 46 66,
Fax: (415) 661 45 55.

Format: 56 minute video
Spanish and English

He is a teenager at the moment the film begins, yet already he has lived two lives. He has two different names, two distinct identities, and even two separate families. Is he Ernesto Gomez Gomez? Or is he Giullermo Morales? His 'double life' is not metaphor or mental illness. It is a real question at the center of his life. This documentary is about the year that he goes on a journey from the north of Mexico to the prisons of California to find the answers he needs and by the end of the film, he has learned the truth. In fact, the answer is clear. He is both. Guillermo is the 15 year old U.S. citizen. He is a tall, handsome, Puerto Rican, straight-A student. He recently moved to San Francisco to live near the prison where his mother has been incarcerated most of his life. Every week he goes to visit her, trying to get to know the mother he never knew. Ernesto is the Mexican 15 year old, the eldest child in the Gomez Gomez family. He had been happy, athletic, and a good student. But when he was 10 years old, his Mexican parents told him he was adopted, he wasn't really their son. Ernesto was not even his real name. His name was a secret. He had been sent to them to be hidden - for his own protection. It is difficult for any child to learn that he or she has been adopted. When Ernesto learned he was adopted, his reality was shattered. Who were his birth parents? Why had he been sent to Mexiko? At 10 years old, Ernesto was too afraid to even ask. He could respond only with confusion and hurt. Slowly, his Mexican parents tried to explain the secret truth of his own past. His biological parents were Puerto Rican militants - members of the FALN - an underground group of pro-independence Puerto Ricans who were responsible for a series of bombings in the 70's. He was an infant when they sent him to Mexico to be raised in safety and anonymity, sacrificing their family-life with him for the cause they believed in. This painful choice proved to be an act of foresight. His biological father, William Morales, was wounded in an explosion, imprisoned, but then escaped. To this day he is wanted by the FBI. The boy's biological mother, Dylcia Pagán, was captured and is serving a 55 year sentence in a US Federal penitentiary. Her crime: 'seditious conspiracy', fighting for Puerto Rico to become it's own sovereign nation. She is a political prisoner in the USA. She is, if you will, a Puerto Ricon Nelson Mandela. All this was to be Ernesto's secret. -For his own safety,- he was told. He wasn't to talk about this to anyone, not even his three brothers. And he didn't. So as the next five years passed Ernesto became more and more confused, more and more angry, until he decided to go on a journey to find relief from the questions that haunted him about his secret Puerto Rican legacy. In 1995, at age 15, he decided that he had to leave Mexico and the only family he had ever known to try to find the family he had never known. As he describes it, Ernesto was a Mexican teenager. He died. And Guillermo was born, the reincarnation of Ernesto but with different parents