This article was published on 1 May 2014 by Desinformemonos. It has been translated without permission for the Mexican Journalism Translation Project.
Translator’s note: Since the translation and publication of this story, La Jornada reports that 291 Central American migrants are being detained in Villahermosa, Tabasco at the city’s INM facilities. According to the news report, the consults of Central American countries have been informed.
But Rubén Figueroa, a migrant rights defender, posted on Facebook that a new operation by the INM is underway in Palenque, Chiapas. For more details, please see the MxJTP translation of a Blanche Petrich story for La Jornada available via this link. PT
Uncertain whereabouts of more than 300 migrants detained and beaten by Mexico’s authorities
– The Central Americans may be in detention in Acayucan, Veracruz
– Fray Tomás González, Fray Aurelio Tadeo, and Rubén Figueroa from The 72 Migrant Shleter were physically assaulted
Mexico. — The whereabouts remain “uncertain” of the more than 300 migrants arrested on 30 April in an “impressive” operation mounted by Mexico’s Migration Institute (INM), the Federal Police (PF) and Tabasco State Police according to Marta Sáncehz of the Mesoamerican Migrants’ Movement (MMM). “We think that they might have them in the Acayucán, Veracruz detention center but there are stories that some are in jails.” The MMM believes this operation is the Mexican government’s reponse to the growing social protest demanding their right to free movement. Just a few days ago, the government was required to issue documents to the members of the migrants’ viacrucis so that police officers do not disrupt their journey to the U.S. border.
The organization has released information that some of the Central Americans who escaped from the roundup are hiding in the mountains and that some children are alone. Fray Tomás González, Fray Aurelio Tadeo y Ruben Figueroa, all from The 72 migrant shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco were assaulted and beated by police officers as they tried to bring water and food to the detainees.
The group of migrants that left The 72 decided yesterday to begin their journey on foot because it is now impossible to ride the train known as La Bestia [from Tenosique — an MxJTP reader notes that the Bestia line that starts in Arriaga, Chiapas runs up to Ixtepec and then to the junction at Medias Aguas, near Acayucan, Veracruz is very much in operation with train cart tops overflowing with Central American Migrants]. “In his desire to shift responsibility, the Governor of Veracruz’s complaint of 1 April 2014 against the Kansas City Southern and Ferrosur” railroads makes riding the train impossible, reported the MMM’s press release. After walking about 40 kms, the Central Americans were apprehended and beaten in Emiliano Zapata, Tabasco. Members of The 72 followed the convoy to insure respect for the migrants’ rights and they were assaulted by police.
The authorities penned in the migrants in Chacamax, Tabasco whereafter they were placed on buses for an unknown destination. “That’s where we had the last ´phone contact with them,” Marta Sánchez says. At the writing of this story, the migrants’ whereabouts remains unknown. A report this morning on Noticias MVS with Carmen Aristegui stated that the operation has been ordered by the INM’s director, Ardelio Vargas Fosado – he has a reputation for ordering Federal Preventative Police operations against the farmers of San Salvador Atenco and the Popular Assembly of the People’s of Oaxaca (APPO) as well as several instances of repression of social movements when he was Puebla’s Public Security Chief. Migrants have repeatedly requested his resignation since he believes migrations is a “public safety” issue.
Desinformemonos is a Mexican alternative news website. This article first appeared under the title, “Incierto, el paradero de más de 300 migrantes detenidos y golpeados por autoridades en México.”
Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English. Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons.