Los Migrantes (The Migrants)
The lure of a better life, to escape the life of despair and submission to characters of all backgrounds, in a hostile reality as that of degraded urban areas or rural areas abandoned by the state, forces, but it’s closer to reality to say “constrains”, every day, thousands of people to try, by any means and at any cost, which often means their lives, to leave their places of origin throughout Latin America and to attempt illegal entry in the United States of America. Better death than the condition in which you live in your own country: this is the message implied by this migratory phenomenon, which incidentally is common to almost all of the flows of migrants worldwide. Crossing the border by any means to enter, albeit illegally, in that coveted "paradise" that guarantees only exploitation and marginalization, is still a chance, however, certainly denied at their homeland. These migrants know perfectly what awaits them during the journey to the final destination: the Mexico-United States border or to be submitted to any oppression by crime to arrive finally in the USA that, among other things, in an attempt to stop this flow, came even to the use of drones.
The border with Mexico is far from being readily permeable for several reasons: first of all because it consists of 1950 miles of desert, secondly because the only transit point on the boundary line are essentially different Twin Towns, that’s the twin cities straddling the border militarily controlled primarily on the U.S. side. These are two distinct realities only from a political and administrative point of view, while they are contiguous and homogeneous cities from an ethnographic and cultural standpoint, and it’s thanks to this cultural and physical contiguity that illegal trafficking are carried out here today as in the past century.
For many migrants actually the border between the United States and Mexico is just the latest obstacle to be overcome, since their very first viaje (journey) starts on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, across the Schiuate River, a border, this one, just as difficult to pass because local authorities require documents that, if are extremely difficult to obtain in a legal manner, become almost impossible to acquire for illegal immigrants and, if these are not performed and they try to cross the border anyway, on the other side of the Schiuate River there are Mexican immigration officers ready to shoot on sight and without mercy.
There are, of course, alternative routes to avoid the checkpoints of migratory police, but they are very dangerous, because they are controlled by gangs who rob migrants of their possessions, even clothes, rape women and carry out kidnappings.
Of course, wherever there are alternative paths that allow the passage of people and goods, there is, ready to handle all kinds of illicit trafficking , organized crime that derives from this its considerable gains.
And of course, organized crime does not organize first class travels for migrants. In fact, it is sadly risen to the headlines "la Bestia" (the Beast), that’s the freight train that allows migrants to cross Mexico and to reach the U.S. border, avoiding to be checked by la migra (the U.S. Immigration Police Office).
The first stop on the train that, from Arriaga, Chiapas, leads to Ixtepec, in the State of Oaxaca, lasts for 15 hours, during which migrants suffer the stifling heat during the day and the freezing cold at night , the assault of the bees, the violence of their compatriots, if they are women, not able to sleep, most of them, due to the risk of falling from the roof of the train.
Once in Ixtepec , begins the second leg of the journey to cross Mexico and at this point migrants must deal, in addition to what we have said, with Los Zetas (The Zeds), that’s one of the cruelest Mexican criminal organizations that have lead the most vulgar violence to become the weapon to control territories in which it operates; violence engaged on people without any hesitation: dismembered corpses, flagellated bodies, left under the desert sun or hanged to the structures of an overpass, while to the luckiest is reserved a single gunshot in the face.
In August 2010, in the Northern State of Tamaulipas has been discovered a mass grave within a ranch in the town of Matamoros, known for being the capital of smuggling to the north of the continent, containing 72 bodies , 58 men and 14 women . Los Zetas had simply bought this “load” of migrants and, for the continuation of their journey to freedom, they their willingness to put themselves at the service of the criminal organization: “Would you ?” ”No!” … and suddenly a shot in the head … and so on with the others to follow. This is the reality along the 1865-miles border between Mexico and the United States.