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La Otra Bestia: Busing It From Central America to ... / by Maria Hinojosa | June 13, 2014

La Otra Bestia: Busing It From Central America to the US

Every year, about 400,000 migrants ride La Bestia, a freight train, through Mexico with hopes of eventually crossing into the US. Drug cartels and gangs have taken control of the route, making the journey a nightmare. Kidnapping, rape and extortion are common. That’s forcing migrants–especially women and children- to look for alternative ways of travel.

Jasmine Garsd traveled to Southern Mexico to talk to migrants making the journey by bus from Central America to the USA.

One of the travelers Garsd spoke to, Maria Gomez, was seven months pregnant. She said she was afraid of riding the train. “Anything can happen on that train. I could fall. That scares me. It’s dangerous. I’ve seen the news, bad things happen,” Gomez said.

Marta Sanchez works at the Mesoamerican Migrants movement, an organization which tries to locate Central Americans who have disappeared while travelling through Mexico. Sanchez said she has watched the immigration experience change and get more dangerous.

“The people who are coming are truly desperate and willing to do absolutely anything,” Sanchez said. “This is not migration, this is forced expulsion.”

A group of migrants wait for the freight train in the outskirts of Mexico City. Many Garifunas (Central Americans of African descent) are leaving Honduras due to the increased of violence and lack of job opportunities. In this group of 5 people, 3 where minors.

A group of migrants wait for the freight train in the outskirts of Mexico City. Many Garifunas (Central Americans of African descent) are leaving Honduras due to the increase in violence and lack of job opportunities. In this group of five people, three were minors.

 

 

Migrants boarding the freights trains in Coatzacolacos, Veracruz. Migrants use the trains to travel to the US when they do not have money to pay for local buses, or because they are afraid of immigration officials, who check buses to see for undocumented travelers.

Migrants boarding the freights trains in Coatzacolacos, Veracruz. Migrants use the trains to travel to the US when they do not have money to pay for local buses, or because they are afraid of immigration officials, who check buses to see for undocumented travelers.

 

A pregnant migrant gaits at the rail tracks. Eventually she decided to go by bus, as they journey by train is very difficult and dangerous.

A pregnant migrant waits at the rail tracks. Eventually she decided to go by bus, as they journey by train is very difficult and dangerous.

 

A Honduran mother and her daughter travel on a bus en route to the US. According to "La 72", a migrant shelter in the South of Mexico, the female and minor population in the shelter has increased by more than 70% .

A Honduran mother and her daughter travel on a bus en route to the US. According to “La 72″, a migrant shelter in the south of Mexico, the female and minor population in the shelter has increased by more than 70% .

 

A local bus is stopped by the army. Check point like these typically look for drugs, guns and undocumented migrants.

A local bus is stopped by the army. Checkpoints like these typically look for drugs, guns and undocumented migrants.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Encarni Pindado 

CONTRIBUTORS
JasmineGarsd_150x200@72

Jasmine Garsd

Jasmine Garsd was born in Argentina and hosts NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast. As a journalist she’s worked on the NPR programs Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More. She has covered a wide variety of topics for radio including immigration issues.

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