Anyone who puts in the effort to watch the trailer for the 2009 movie Sin Nombre can conceive of the hazards Central American immigrants endure when they head north toward the hope of a better life in the United States. The actual crossing of the American border is among the lesser dangers of the trip.
The stretch of the journey crossing Mexico is its most perilous. In August 2010, in the town of San Fernando, members of the Zetas Mexican drug cartel slaughtered 72 migrants who balked at being conscripted into the gang.
In August 2011, Julio Fernando Cardona Agustin, a 19-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, was killed on the outskirts of Mexico City, in a transit zone for Central American immigrants heading to the U.S. Agustin’s travel companions claim the young man was alive when Mexican police patrol unit 203 took him into custody. Hours later, his corpse, stoned to death, was found on the railroad tracks.
Guatemalan activists are demanding justice for Agustin’s murder, but migrant justice is in short supply in Mexico: In April, 183 bodies—identified as migrants—were dug out of mass graves outside San Fernando, on the route to Texas.
Authorities believe that the Zetas perpetrated those murders as well.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is being enlisted to intercede. Follow its progress here.