NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – An advocacy group in southern New Mexico is expressing frustration over the upcoming blockbuster film Oppenheimer, which is set to premiere this weekend. Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Co-Founder Tina Cordova said the Christopher Nolan film ignores the atomic bomb’s negative impact on New Mexicans.
It’s been 78 years since the U.S. government tested the atomic bomb in southern New Mexico at the Trinity site in Socorro County. Oppenheimer, a film about the man known as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb,” recounts the development and testing of the bomb.
While this week’s upcoming release has generated lots of hype, it has also stirred up negative reviews from some New Mexicans.
“We are an inconvenient truth, and no one has ever told the truth about what happened here. The sacrifice and suffering of the people of New Mexico is unconscionable and shame on them,” said Cordova.
Cordova said, for years, she has been working to raise awareness about the health impacts southern New Mexicans have experienced as a result of radiation from the Trinity tests in July of 1945.
“I am the fourth generation of my family to have cancer since 1945. I had two great-grandfathers living in Tularosa at the time of the test. They both died within 10 years from cancer at a time where we had never heard the word ‘cancer’ in our community,” Cordova said.
While the Nolan film focuses on the science behind the nuclear bomb, Cordova said the film leaves out a huge part of New Mexican history.
“When they came here to film this movie, they essentially did the same thing as the Manhattan Project itself. They’ve invaded our lands and our lives, they’ll make hundreds of millions of dollars off this, and it’s total exploitation,” Cordova said.
In addition to seeking recognition for affected New Mexicans, the downwinders are also seeking medical compensation from the government.
“[When the government] starts to pay out partial restitution and offers us health care coverage, that is when the people of New Mexico will start to find healing that they have been searching for 78 years,” said Cordova.
Cordova said she will be part of a panel discussion this Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. after a screening of the film at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.