Migrants gather in Mexico City to mark Immigration Day
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About 100 migrants who marched north of the Guatemalan border gathered in Mexico City to mark International Migrants Day and remember their fellow travelers who died on the journey.
Migrants gathered at a makeshift memorial to the victims of the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants by the Zetas drug cartel in Tamaulipas state, northern Mexico. The memorial stands on the side of the city’s main central boulevard, near the United States Embassy.
Protesters erected a plaque that read in part “Migration is a human right”. Many of the group had been walking since late October from the Mexican border town of Tapachula, after the government prevented them from hitchhiking.
The group also remembered 56 migrants killed in a horrific truck crash last week in the southern state of Chiapas. The first bodies of these victims were to be returned to their homeland, Guatemala, over the weekend.
In a statement marking the day, a coalition of groups representing the families of Central American migrants missing in Mexico described 2021 as “a year of setback.”
The year began with a massacre in January that left 19 dead, including 16 Guatemalan migrants, in the state of Tamaulipas, in the north of the country. Twelve state police officers are charged with the murders.
This continued with efforts by the Mexican government to prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, followed by the December 9 crash of a semi-trailer truck full of migrants.
“These are the visible tragedies of 2021, but we must not forget the painful daily tragedies that migrants often suffer in silence: disappearances, executions, extortion, rape, torture,” the groups wrote.
The Mexican government attempted to appease the United States by stopping the caravans of itinerant migrants and allowing the re-establishment of the “stay in Mexico” policy. But Mexico has been unable to stem the tide of migrants crammed by the hundreds into trucks operated by smugglers who charge thousands of dollars to take them to the US border – journeys that too often turn fatal.
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