The Caravan of Central American Mothers is in Mexico for the 11th consecutive year, its members looking for their missing loved ones while at the same time attempting to raise awareness of the hardships and abuse suffered by their compatriots while on Mexican soil.
The women — from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua — have been joined on their Mexican journey by social activist Martha Sánchez Soler and Rubén Figueroa, representative of a migrants’ shelter called Hogar La 72 in Tenosique, Tabasco.
During a visit to the Gulf of Mexico state of Tabasco, the caravan visited a penitentiary, looking for information about their missing sons and daughters, and also requested that the state government provide a safe environment for the Central American migrants who travel through the state.
Sánchez, who is also coordinating the Caravan, voiced her complaints during a meeting with Tabasco Government Secretary César Raúl Ojeda, charging that violence against migrants has been on the increase.
“The announcements made by the government, that crime has decreased in this country, aren’t true. It hasn’t decreased in general, let alone the violence against migrants,” she said.
Sánchez added that the decision to prevent migrants from traveling aboard The Beast — a network of freight trains utilized to travel north through Mexico — only made matters worse because the travelers became exposed to more abuse and insecurity.
“There are people drowning in rivers or dying in traffic accidents as they flee; the [government’s] claim that the migrants’ transit through Mexico is safer because they aren’t traveling on The Beast is one of their thousand lies,” accused Sánchez.
The group of mothers also requested that the Mexican government speed up the agreement called the Transnational Mechanism for Migrants’ Access to Justice, which seeks to connect migrants who are victims of crimes, wherever they are located, with the Mexican justice system, initially via the Mexican embassies in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Clementina Murgía, from Honduras, made an emotional request that the Mexican government stop lying to them.
“I haven’t received a single response about my son, and I’ve been looking for him for 18 years. We are in need, we need help, and demand that the government return our loved ones alive,” she said.
But it hasn’t been all bad news.
The caravan has resulted in happy endings for some, like María de la Cruz Santos, who found her daughter Kenia Elizabeth after spending 14 years looking for her. She and her two children were located in a jail in Chiapas. The three are now formalizing their return to Honduras.
Data from the state of Tabasco government says there are 39 foreign inmates in the state’s jails, 24 of whom are of Central American origin.
Source: El Universal (sp)