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The newspaper is divided into four posters that cover four of the most tragic events emanating from this crisis:
San Fernando massacre
On August 24, 2010, the bodies of 72 undocumented migrants from Central and South America were found piled in a mass grave near the Mexican town of San Fernando. Some were tortured. All had been shot in the head. The official account is that the drug-trafficking group the Zetas murdered them when the migrants refused to join the gang and did not have the means to pay a ransom for their own freedom. This has not been the only massacre of its kind, but it served as a flashpoint in Mexican society, waking people up to the plight of migrants crossing their country.
Undocumented migrants travelling through Mexico are extremely vulnerable to extortion and abuse at the hands of drug-traffickers. While reliable numbers are next to impossible to establish, a Mexican report extrapolates that as many as 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year. The violence of disappearance is experienced not only by those who go missing but also the families left wondering about their loved ones. Every year the Caravan of Mothers of Missing Migrants retraces the route in search of their family members.
The Beast, also known as el tren de la muerte—the train of death—is a freight train that carries cargo within Mexico from the border with Guatemala up to the United States. Migrants ride on top of the train for the days-long journey, often tying themselves on to avoid falling off. Riding the train is physically exhausting and carries a high risk of injury or death. An estimated 500,000 people embark on the trip each year.
Recent years have seen a spike in children making the perilous journey either as part of a family unit or on their own. In the first six months of 2016, more than 27,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended by border patrol agents at the US-Mexico border.
Hermanos en el Camino runs a series of shelters for migrants along the treacherous route of The Beast. Originally founded in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, by Fr. Alejandro Solalinde in 2007, the organization has since expanded to provide support for migrants across the country. The shelters offer a much needed place to rest along the difficult journey—they provide beds, meals and support services that include medical, psychological and legal help.
On their way through the country, many migrants are victims of assault, from robbery, sexual and physical aggression, extortions, kidnappings by gangs or organized crime, to abuse by authorities such as the police and agents of the Instituto Nacional de Migración.
In this context of violence, Hermanos en el Camino acts in solidarity with migrants, defending and respecting their human rights.
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