López Obrador: “The misfortune of Chiapas should serve to tackle the causes of migration”


Dozens of severed corpses, scattered on the asphalt and the Chiapas mountain, others wounded among the rubble, crawling in the gutter. With these terrible images, Mexico has dawned this Friday. More than 150 people were crammed into a trailer from Central America heading north when the vehicle lost control due to speeding and the box full of people dislodged from the cabin on a sharp curve. Most of the migrants were from the neighboring country to the south, Guatemala. At the moment there are 55 dead, one of them a minor, and more than 100 injured. It is one of the greatest migrant tragedies in Mexico in recent years. And President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has pointed out early this Friday: “Misfortunes like this must serve to solve migration from the source.”

The president’s strategy is based on the belief that the most urgent thing is to prevent those fleeing hunger and violence from having to leave their countries of origin. In a morning conference since his tour of northern Mexico, Chihuahua, he has concluded that the main culprits in accidents like the one in Chiapas are corruption and inequality. And he has slipped another person in charge, the Government of Joe Biden in the United States: “There is intention, but there is slowness. In my letters [al presidente Biden] I made a desperate call for action, but even there they have to face a rheumatic elephant that does not walk, does not act in an executive manner, and this deserves urgent attention ”. And he added: “It has not been possible to address the causes that originate the migratory phenomenon. Hopefully and this serves to raise awareness “.

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This week the controversial program has also been reactivated Stay in mexico, agreed between the two countries, known by the official acronym MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) and which forces thousands of asylum seekers in the United States to wait on the Mexican side of the border while their process is resolved. The measure was a clear example of the heavy-handed policy of former President Donald Trump and in less than two years of implementation his legacy has been marked by tens of thousands of people stranded in deplorable conditions, accusations of massive human rights violations and new points of bilateral tension with a migration crisis that has become permanent as a great backdrop.

The López Obrador government’s strategy of deploying the Army on both borders to contain the migratory dam has made the routes increasingly dangerous and clandestine. “According to testimonies from the migrants themselves, they entered La Mesilla from the Mexico-Guatemala border several days ago and concentrated in San Cristóbal [Chiapas] in safe houses, in which they were housed by people dedicated to human trafficking. Yesterday they were put into the trailer boxes and at 2:00 pm they began their movement ”, explained the commander of the National Guard, Luis Rodríguez Bucio. The accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. at the height of the Chiapa de Corzo municipality of Chiapa.

The trailer was heading to Veracruz with the first destination to Puebla, about 130 kilometers from the capital, the Undersecretary of Security, Ricardo Mejía, explained during the conference. It is one of the most common routes for transporting migrants and avoiding the military checkpoints of the seat belt deployed by the Government on the southern border. The driver has fled and there are no detainees at the moment.

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Mexico is going through the worst migration crisis in its history. The only figures to measure the volume of migration flows, arrests and deportations from the National Migration Institute, point to more than 228,000 migrants captured and sent to migration centers so far this year. Of these, 82,627 have been returned to their countries of origin, enough to fill the Azteca Stadium. More than when Enrique Peña Nieto, of the PRI, was in power, criticized for his heavy-handed policy on immigration.

Another of the alarming data that has overloaded the institutions are the more than 123,187 refugee requests that the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (Comar) has received. While the agency denounces a collapsed budget and facilities, the figures have tripled those of two years ago, which had been the highest so far. The head of the United Nations Commission for Refugee Aid, Filippo Grandi, visited Mexico a few weeks ago to insist that a crisis of this magnitude requires other types of measures and demanded an immediate regularization of the displaced. “Mexico is experiencing an unprecedented migration crisis,” he said.

It is not the first truck with dozens of overcrowded migrants that has been located on this route this year. Two weeks ago, the Migration authorities located more than 600 migrants also transported in trailers through the southeast of Mexico, Veracruz and Tabasco, the direction to which the crashed truck was headed this Thursday. The journey through the state capital, Tuxtla, usually continues towards Veracruz and thus approaches the country’s capital, which during this year’s migration crisis has become a destination for thousands of migrants.

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In October, 652 people were located in the state of Tamaulipas on board three trucks without ventilation, according to the National Institute of Migration. Of them, 349 were minors. At the end of that month, the National Guard fired on a van carrying 13 people from Cuba, Haiti, Brazil and Ghana, killing two Cubans. In mid-November, Migration found and detained 195 Central American migrants overcrowded without food or water in a hotel in Nuevo León, in the northeast of the country, following a complaint from the State Investigation Agency.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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