Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 6, 2013

Mexico's New Blood Money: Tolls for Migrants


By Lety Gutierrez
Censored News
Mexico City
May 5, 2013


“We are afraid, very afraid (...) this is why we don’t want to file a complaint, we are traumatized by what we saw and experienced in Veracruz; there was gunfire, machetes, people hurled, people running towards the mountain". This was one of the many testimonies collected, among surviving migrants of the criminal attack, suffered last May, on the 1st, in the state of Veracruz.

Those events, perpetrated at kilometer 25 of the highway Barrancas-Cosoleacaque, are just one example of the abuses, extortions, assaults, murders and kidnappings that migrants experience everyday in their transit through Mexican territory. Criminal groups do not skimp on age or sex. All men, women, boys and girls, adolescents and the elderly, suffer the same fate: extortion, charge of fees, assault and violence.

MODUS OPERANDI: The modus operandi is as follows: criminals board the train like any migrant, and while the train is in motion, they draw their guns and begin to charge fees for “land use, dues paying, and tolls”, that consist in paying 100, 300 or $1,750 US dollars, or at the last moment, they take away the migrants’ belongings. Everyone has to pay, otherwise they start throwing people off the moving train; they use their guns and machetes to intimidate people and make them pay.

These criminal acts are of legal and situational knowledge of operative and high level officials of dependencies such as the States’ Public Prosecutors’ Offices, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the Secretary of the Interior (SEGOB), the Federal Police and the National Institute of Migration (INM), and the Army. Criminal networks, with the consent of the authorities, have found in migrants a slave population to commit any crime, without anything happening.

Today, as a country, we are once again increasing the human cost of the HUMANITARIAN TRAGEDY (as it has been called by the IACHR Rapporteur for the Rights of Migrants, Felipe González, who after visiting and listening in situ to kidnapped migrants, to mothers and fathers that continued to pay the ransom for their kidnapped sons/daughters, to raped women. No other term could be used to describe the serious violations and violence that we exercise as a country, against this highly vulnerable population.

For his part, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions of the United Nations Organization (UN), Christof Heyns, referring to attacks against migrants, insisted on the development of genetic databases, to be shared with Central American countries for the identification of missing migrants; as well as the protection of vulnerable groups such as migrants, children, women, journalists and human rights defenders.

Given all the above, the undersigned organizations DEMAND:

1. A follow-up -to its final consequences- of such a serious crime against our migrant brothers and sisters.
2. The comprehensive care of victims in Mexico and in their countries of origin, including damage recovery.
3. That the PGR, PGJ, PF, INM, SCT, NAVY, ARMY, fuse all the information and complaints they get.
a. The PGJ, PF, PGR-UEITMIO-SEIDO have received complaints since 2012 about crime gangs operating in Tenosique, Palenque, Medias Aguas, Coatzacoalcos, Tierra Blanca, Orizaba, Cordoba, Apizaco,
Lechería, Huehuetoca, Irapuato, Celaya and Piedras Negras.
b. THE NAVY, who cordoned off and collected all the evidence at the time of the incident in
Cosoleacaque, should deliver the information to allow a real investigation.
c. THE ARMY, which made a subsequent retention in the area of Coatzacoalcos and recollected testimonials of migrants.
d. THE INM, whose BETA groups have migrants testimonials, names and nicknames of delinquents who are committing the crimes described above. It also had in its hands the migrant victims of May 1. The question is: what will it do with the information given? We want it to provide all the information to the appropriate authorities of the administration of justice.
e. THE SCT, the Ministry of Communications and Transport, that monitors through satellite the train route coming from the south, should provide videos and all the information contained in its files of what
happened at this event, so we can reach a real application of justice.
f. THE CNDH, to make a statement on the matter and to exert its function as an independent body and guarantor of human rights
g. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS like Veracruz to accept the serious problems they have, which are not being addressed.

SMR Scalabrinianas: Misión para Migrantes y Refugiados, Comedor para Migrantes San José, Casa del Migrante "Hermanos en el Camino", Casa del Migrante Santo Toribio Romo, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, Colectivo Ustedes Somos Nosotros, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios, Javier García, Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes México, Soy Migrante, Las Patronas, Fabiola Mancilla

Foro Migraciones: Albergue La 72, Berenice Valdez Rivera, Caridad Sin Fronteras AC, Carmen Fernández, Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador Migrante, Centro de Atención al Migrante (EXODUS), Centro de Derechos del Migrante Inc., Centro de Derechos Humanos del Migrante AC, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Cordova AC, Centro de Reintegración Familiar de Menores Migrantes (Albergue del Desierto), Comité de Derechos Humanos de Tabasco AC, Estancia del Migrante González y Martínez, AC, FM4 Paso Libre, Frontera con Justicia AC (Casa del Migrante de Saltillo), Fundación Comunitaria del Bajío, Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado de Derecho AC, FUNDAR Centro de Análisis e Investigación AC, Gisele Bonnici, Gustavo López Castro, Hugo Ángeles, INCIDE Social AC, Instituto de Estudios y Divulgación sobre Migración AC, Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración AC, ITESO Programa de Migración, Kino Border Initiative, José Ascensión Moreno Mena, Karina Arias, Manuel Ángel Castillo, Marcela Ibarra Mateos, Martha Rojas, Miguel Rionda, Ofelia Woo Morales, Patricia Zamudio, Por la Superación de la Mujer AC, Red Mujeres del Bajío AC, Rodolfo García Zamora, Rosa Elizabeth García Ita, Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes México, SMR, Scalabrinianas: Misión para Migrantes y Refugiados, Sin Fronteras IAP, Siria Yuritzi Oliva Ruiz, Una mano amiga en la lucha contra el SIDA AC y Voces Mesoamericanas Acción con Pueblos Migrantes AC.

Leticia Gutierrez (SMR Scalabrinianas )
Telephone. (5255) 53 41 25 95
Fray Tomas(Albergue la 72).
Martha Sánchez Soler (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano)
Telephone. (52) 555 435 2637

Also see LA Times: Central American migrants attacked,0,6636752.story

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