Friday, May 3, 2013

20 Undocumented Immigrants Riding Freight Train Reported Injured By Armed Men in Veracruz

Emilio Paliacios Juárez and Ana Consuelo

Photos courtesy of Coatzadigital dot net and Imagen del Golfo news agency.

More than 20 Central American undocumented immigrants were reported injured after they were thrown off from moving freight train by armed men for not paying between $100-300 dollars quota fee.

By H. Nelson Goodson
May 3, 2013

Cosoleacaque, Veracruz,  Mexico - On Wednesday night more than 20 undocumented immigrants from Central America were reported injured after members of criminal organization affiliated with the Zetas threw them off a moving freight train just after 7:25 p.m. called the Beast (Bestia). People from town of Barrancas in the municipality of Cosoleacaque came out to help the injured immigrants, the Coatzadigital dot net and Imagen del Golfo news agency have reported.
About 500 undocumented immigrants made they way to the central park of the Barrancas community after being attacked by armed men seeking quotas to ride a freight train. Residents from the community brought food and clothing to help the hundreds of victims. A local immigrant refuge shelter opened its door to also provide aid to the immigrants who were in destination to the U.S. border.
"They were at least 17 immigrants reported injured," said Emilio Palacios Juárez, assistant coordinator of Intermunicipality Police Operations. Ana Consuelo, an Honduran immigrant also said, she jumped of the moving train after she her shots and people being thrown off the train. She injured her right arm after jumping from the train. More than 20 injured victims were found along the railroad track by authorities and Red Cross rescue civil workers.
Felipe Antonio Galán, the local coordinator for the Red Cross said, that 15 immigrants were sent to local clinics and a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds and machete injuries, including injuries inflicted after jumping from the moving train. Another five victims refused treatment for injuries, according to Galán.
Some of the injured were taken to several hospitals, including Minatitlán Civil Hospital for treatment. Members of the red cross, Civil Protection, Mexican military,  marines, local, state and Federal Police were called to the scene to provide aid and to investigate the crime scene. 
Police and the military on Wednesday launched a dragnet to locate those armed men that ejected the immigrants from the train. But by Friday, the investigation into what happened on Wednesday night had ceased, according to local immigrant and human rights activists. 
Vicente Gómez, the head investigator for the Veracruz Investigation Agency confirmed that 20 armed men had boarded the Bestia train in Tabasco and when the train crossed into Veracruz, the suspects attacked the immigrants after failing to get quotas from some of them.
No one has been confirmed killed on the Wednesday night attack, according to a preliminary report by authorities. 
Veracruz Governor Javier Duerta had down graded the attack on the immigrants and that the injured numbers were lower, but news reports have contradicted Duerta and his administration. The Zeta gunmen have been tied to be closely working with local authorities to charged immigrants quotas of $100 to 300 dollars for riding the freight train. Most of the criminal complaints filed by immigrants or human rights activists have been quashed by local and state authorities and don't get investigated making it obvious of the complicity between organized crime and Mexican local authorities. 
Charging immigrants a quota of $100 to 300 dollars has become a very lucrative multimillion dollar operation in southern Mexico where it borders with Guatemala. More than 140,000 undocumented immigrants from Central and South America illegally cross into Mexico making their way to the U.S. border. At least 20,000 of those become victims of kidnappings for ransom. In the last six years, an estimated 70,000 undocumented immigrants have disappeared in Mexico and reported missing by family members. Many become victims of organized crime, prostitution, drug trade, human trafficking and are murdered for body parts. Their bodies are either dissolved in acid or are buried in the thousands of clandestine mass graves along the freight train La Bestia route.
The National Institute of Migration (INM) on Thursday reported that armed men with machetes and weapons were believed responsible for the multiple injuries to the immigrants riding a freight train between the route of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz to the state of Tamaulipas. Nine of the victims have been identified, one is of Mexican nationality, Julio Martínez Gómez, 18, who was reported shot in the left arm and eight from Honduras, José Alejandro Rosales Alcántara, 30, Gustavo Adolfo Benítez, 29, Gerardo Herrera Hernández, 43, Raúl Alberto Ramos Martínez, 30, Henry Alexis Murillo, 28, Fausto Cornejo Pineda, 25, Elías Vázquez Rodríguez, 25, Saúl Roque, 47, who was injured with a machete blow to the head and Eder Heladio Chávez Venegas, 19, who was shot in the right leg.

Click on video for Spanish news report of incident.

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