SAN SALVADOR – At least 21 Salvadoran migrants were killed last year in Mexico while trying to reach the United States, while 250 others were the victims of serious crimes or human rights abuses, El Salvador’s foreign ministry said.
Deputy Minister Juan Jose Garcia said that 14 of the slain Salvadorans were among the 72 undocumented migrants massacred last August in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas by suspected members of the Los Zetas drug cartel.
“The crime of kidnapping was one of the main attacks that violated the basic rights of the Salvadoran migrants. In all, the consular network (in Mexico) registered 12 collective cases of the kidnapping of migrants coming from El Salvador,” according to the foreign ministry report.
The study gathers together the cases compiled by the four Salvadoran consulates and two consular agencies operating in southeastern Mexico and – Garcia said – it is an effort to examine “the situation of the Salvadoran population in transit,” although he admitted that the numbers almost certainly had been undercounted.
“The total number of cases that we have registered is 126, 31 cases of human rights violations and 95 of serious crimes. The number of victims is 250,” he said.
“When Mexican authorities participate, the issue is not only a serious crime, but also a violation of human rights,” Garcia emphasized.
The report said that the Federal Police allegedly participated in four of the collective cases of human rights violations and the victims said they were held captive and physically abused.
Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez said at a press conference that the study “is not an accusation” of Mexico, which his government considers to be “a brother country.”
“We want to reiterate our acknowledgement of the efforts being made by the (Mexican) government to guarantee the protection of human rights,” he said, adding that on Monday the report had been sent to his counterparts in Mexico.
According to official figures, about 200 undocumented Salvadorans emigrate to the United States each day and of those about 60 arrive each day in the southern Mexican town of Arriaga to hitch a ride on a northbound freight train. EFE