“After being denied their migrant ‘Viacrucis’ (stations of the cross) on the train called “The Beast” by railway companies on April 17th, around 450 migrants decided to set out on foot, accompanied by human rights activists and civil society groups. Hundreds of migrants more joined the group as the march continued and grew. They managed to obtain free passage through the state of Veracruz after a meeting with the governor in Mexico City, where marches and consultations with authorities of the federal government helped to acquire official exit letters (with a validity of 30 days) for more than 1000 migrants present in the Viacrucis.
The boarding of the train, according to declarations of union leaders of the railway companies, was made impossible by the complaint lodged by the governor of Veracruz to the companies Kansas City Southern and Ferrosur – in an effort to shift his own responsibility onto others.”
Since the end of April, hundreds of migrants have found themselves stranded in Tenosique, Tabasco, and Palenque, Chiapas – the main points where migrants come together. It is estimated that there are more than 1000 migrants stranded in these places, and this number is increasing daily with the arrival of more migrants.
On April 29th, around 300 migrants decided to walk from Tabasco – just like those who participated in the Migrant Viacrucis – and the refuge in Tenosique decided to monitor their progress. After walking 40km, human rights activists found out that the federal, state, and municipal police had planned an operation to detain these migrants. Through the use of deception, they were subsequently contained in a hall in the community of Chacamax, Tabasco.
On May 1st, the non-profit ‘Fray Matías de Córdova Centre for Human Rights’, as part of their regular monitoring, verified that the migrants assaulted in Tabasco had been taken to the detention centre in Tapachula, Chiapas.
This extraordinary operation was the response of the Mexican State to the increasing number of protests demanding the universal right of free passage, and clearly demonstrates that the position of the authorities is to continue toughening its migration policies.
Translated by Oso Sabio for an article to be published soon in Boca en Boca’s Edition 21