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News > Latin America

100 Migrants Reportedly Disappeared in Mexico as Gov't Restricts Flow

  • Part of the first wave of the Central American Exodus rest at a sport center used as a shelter in Mexico City.

    Part of the first wave of the Central American Exodus rest at a sport center used as a shelter in Mexico City. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 November 2018

Mexico's human rights defenders confirm around 80 to 100 asylum seekers have disappeared since Nov. 3 while the government represses the Exodus.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) confirmed that about 100 members of the Central American Exodus, or Migrant Caravan, have been reported missing in Mexico since Nov. 3.

 Migrant Caravan: Mexico Deploys 200 Agents to Southern Border

During a Tuesday press conference, the commission's inspector general Edgar Corzo said that two trucks carrying a combined 80-100 migrants went missing in the state of Oaxaca.

According to local media, on Saturday a group of migrants riding in a truck was kidnapped by several armed men who approached the vehicle as it was driving through the state of Puebla, a state with a high incidence of organized crime.

All were members of the of the first wave of the Central American Exodus that left Honduras Oct. 12 and entered Mexican territory between Oct. 19 and 20, heading toward the United States.

The Human Rights Prosecutor for the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO), Arturo Peimbert, said at the press conference: "We are in the middle of an emergency. Since Saturday, Nov. 3 about 100 exodus migrants went missing who were aboard two trucks (riding) in subhuman conditions." However, Priest Alejandro Solalinde of the Hostel Brothers on the Road in Oaxaca said the claim can't be confirmed. "There are some people who went north (in transport), but there is nothing confirmed of a disappearance, we have no proven information," the priest told local media.

On Saturday Peimbert, accused the Mexican government of committing a “crime by omission” by leaving migrants, 90 percent of which are families and a third minors, “without protection and assistance.”

Migrants Reach Mexico City, Others Kidnapped In Puebla

The Oaxacan prosecutor added in Saturday's statement: “Worse yet (the Mexican government) is resorting to all kinds of pressures, threats and direct actions to make the progress of these victims, expelled from their countries by violence, more arduous."

“The Mexican government has failed to implement an efficient model to give due humanitarian attention to these citizens who have already completed 15 days of travel through Mexican territory in conditions of extreme precariousness.”

Jeremy Slack, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Texas, El Paso warned teleSUR that this type of anti-migrant behavior from Mexico's government incites violence.  

"The government has gone back and forth several times about whether or not to allow them to travel freely (at which point crime and abuses drop) or restrict their movement increasing violence,” Slack says.

Aggressions by the Mexican state include attempts to block thousands of Hondurans from entering the country from Guatemala on Oct. 19, resulting in armed forces shooting and killing a migrant with a rubber bullet, and military helicopters flying low along the Suchiate River, which naturally separates the two countries, putting migrant lives at risk of drowning.

In addition, over a week ago the Mexican government blocked a plan by humanitarians to arrange 70 buses to drive members of the Exodus from Juchitan, Oaxaca to Mexico City where most of the members of the first caravan are now. 

On Tuesday Corzo was critical of the humanitarian efforts taking place in Mexico City to help Exodus members being sheltered in a sports stadium in Mexico City. The commission leader warned that aid “is disorganized and that health issues aren’t being sufficiently addressed."

The inspector general added that the CNDH is doing everything it can to find the disappeared migrants and is warning Exodus members to take precautionary measures when traveling.

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