MEXICO CITY – Marines detained five Guatemalan migrants in San Fernando, a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where 183 bodies have been found in the past month in 40 clandestine graves, officials said.
The marines found the migrants aboard a bus they stopped at a checkpoint and detained them when the men failed to show documents allowing them to be in the country.
The migrants were turned over to immigration officials.
The flow of migrants has increased markedly in northeastern Mexico, especially Tamaulipas, since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.
In August, 72 Latin American migrants were massacred at a ranch near San Fernando.
The bodies of the 58 men and 14 women were discovered by marines on Aug. 24 after a shootout with gunmen that left a marine and three criminals dead.
The massacre victims came from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil, but the majority were Hondurans.
Two migrants – one from Ecuador and another from Honduras – survived the massacre.
El Salvador’s government, meanwhile, has called on Mexico for a “full investigation of the circumstances (surrounding) the death” of a 50-year-old migrant while in the custody of immigration agents.
Marcos Tulio Jovel Hernandez was detained last Wednesday at a checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Mexico’s Chiapas state, El Salvador’s consul in Chiapas, Nelson Cuellar, told Efe.
Last month, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, identified 71 cities in 16 of the country’s 32 states that are considered dangerous for Mexican and foreign migrants headed to the United States.
“Kidnappings, abuse, extortion, robberies and sexual attacks on migrants have been documented” in the 71 cities, the CNDH said in a statement.
An estimated 300,000 Central Americans and 400,000 Mexicans undertake the dangerours journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.
About 20,000 Central Americans were kidnapped by organized crime groups, which extorted money from them or forced them to join their gangs, the CNDH said in a report released last year.
Those who refuse to pay for their freedom or join the gangs are killed, as was the case with the 72 mostly Central American migrants whose bodies were found last August at a ranch outside San Fernando, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the CNDH said.
San Fernando is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico for migrants, the commission said.
The lower house of Mexico’s Congress created the Special Committee on Migration in April to analyze, discuss and propose legislative changes to guarantee respect for the human rights of migrants and other foreigners.
The congressional committee was formed at the same time that Mexico was expressing its commitment to the U.N. Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in Geneva to protect immigrants and keep them from becoming victims of organized crime groups.
Mexico, moreover, recently launched the Unified Strategy for Preventing and Combating the Kidnapping of Migrants, a program aimed at dismantling the gangs that prey on migrants and forming alliances with other countries affected by this problem. EFE