Abuse, Migrant & Seasonal Workers, News

Migrants Face Danger from Mexican Cartels

From CatholicSentinel.org, Catholic News Service, 5 May 2011.

SALTILLO, Mexico — Migrant worker Carlos Vasquez’s journey through Mexico to find work in the United States has posed one danger after another.

The Honduran was robbed and assaulted almost immediately after crossing into Mexico from Guatemala. Not long after, he was hauled away at gunpoint from the railway line near the Mayan ruins at Palenque and taken to hotel room full of other kidnapped migrants in Villahermosa, Tabasco.

Vasquez bolted from the hotel when his guard stepped out for a cigarette.

Migrants such as Vasquez frequently fall into the hands of kidnappers as they transit Mexico on their way to the United States. All told, 11,333 migrants were kidnapped over a six-month period in 2010 as organized criminal groups — frequently abetted by corrupt cops and public officials — abduct Central Americans and demand ransoms from the victims’ relatives.

Vasquez suspects the criminal gang Los Zetas was responsible for his abduction. What became of the other abductees remains a mystery.

“I imagine that they were killed,” Vasquez said.

“After someone pays, they’re killed so that they don’t go to the police,” he said.

Vasquez’s mother borrowed $2,000 and wired the ransom to Mexico, not knowing her son’s condition or whereabouts. The money covered approximately half the ransom, Vasquez said.

Source: CatholicSentinel.org, “Migrants face danger from Mexican cartels” by Catholic News Service, 5 May 2011.

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