Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tenosique Viacrucis Participants Denied Access To Ride La Bestia Freight Train In Tabasco

Photo courtesy of Ruben Figueroa

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants gathered in Tenosique, Tabasco for their annual Viacrucis and started their pilgrimage by walking to Palenque, Chiapas.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 17, 2014

Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico - On Thursday, Franciscan priest Fray Tomás González Castillo, director of the La 72 Immigrant Refuge Shelter reported that more than 400 undocumented immigrants from Central America gathered at the shelter for the annual Viacrucis (Stations of the Cross) along the Bestia (Beast) freight train death route in Tenosique. The participants were expected to board La Bestia in the morning for a ride to Palenque, Chiapas, but the operators of the freight train refused to allow about 400 Viacrucis participants to take the ride, according to Rubén Figueroa, an immigrant rights activist from Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano. Figueroa on his Facebook account posted that the operators of La Bestia refused to let the Viacrucis participants board the train in protest that the State of Veracruz Attorney General Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras and Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa had filed a complaint and lawsuit against the operators, both the Ferrosur and the Kansas City Group of La Bestia for allowing undocumented immigrants ride the train into their state. 
Immigrants riding La Bestia fall victims of several gangs and criminal organizations operating in the tri-state area who charged between $100 to $300 dollars in quota to ride the train. Those victims that fail to pay the quota are either thrown off the moving train, shot or stabbed to death. 
The participants began their journey of the Station of the Cross (Viacrucis) at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday by walking to Chiapas, according to Figueroa. The Viacrucis organizers haven't decided, if they will also walk to the state of Veracruz.
The Viacrucis had began in Naranjo, Guatemala and those participating were transferred by vehicles to Tenosique where hundreds of immigrants await the arrival of the Viacrucis. The Viacrucis is expected to follow the death route of La Bestia through central Mexico.
Fray Castillo and immigrant activists are advocating for government visas to allow legal transit of immigrants through Mexico and government protection of immigrants against violence resulting from extortions, murder, quotas, rape and forced prostition by local gangs known as Los Zetas, Mara Salvatrucha's (MS-13) and corrupt Mexican immigration agents, including local, state and Federal Police. 
Exploiting undocumented immigrants has become a multi-million operation. An estimated 70,000 undocumented immigrants from South and Central America travel through Mexico on their way to the U.S. border every year.

La 72 Viacrucis 2014 video

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