A day after 55 migrants who had been being smuggled by way of Mexico died in a tractor-trailer crash, officers right here promised justice.
“There will probably be no impunity,” mentioned Overseas Minister Marcelo Ebrard, vowing that Mexico would take “fast motion” in opposition to the human traffickers who had packed practically 200 migrants right into a truck that careened right into a bridge within the state of Chiapas on Thursday.
Such a prosecution could be uncommon in a rustic that has proven little will or potential to punish these liable for crimes in opposition to migrants.
For many years, folks traversing the 1,000-mile stretch between Mexico’s southern and northern borders have suffered unspeakable abuses — rapes, kidnappings and massacres, along with crashes — and the perpetrators have hardly ever been delivered to justice.
“Mexican authorities have typically did not safe justice for violence in opposition to migrants, from day by day abuses and extortion to massacres and disappearances,” mentioned Stephanie Brewer, director for Mexico and migrant rights on the Washington Workplace on Latin America.
Among the many crimes which have gone unpunished had been two massacres within the state of Tamaulipas — in 2010 and 2011 — during which prison gangs slaughtered a complete of 265 migrants.
And no one has been held accountable for a 2019 crash in Chiapas during which a truck full of Guatemalan migrants careened off a freeway, killing 23 and injuring one other 33.
Consultants say such impunity is basically a product of the broader dysfunction of Mexico’s justice system, during which the overwhelming majority of crimes go unpunished.
Corruption additionally performs a key position within the nation’s dismal report on prosecuting human traffickers.
It’s widespread information that smugglers repay authorities at each degree — from native police to members of the Nationwide Guard and Mexican immigration brokers. Final 12 months, greater than 1,000 officers with the nation’s immigration company, the Nationwide Migration Institute, had been referred to inner affairs or pressured to resign over corruption allegations.
“The authorities are concerned in human smuggling,” mentioned Margarita Nuñez, a migration knowledgeable on the Ibero-American College in Mexico Metropolis. “The networks of corruption attain the federal government.”
An intensive investigation into Thursday’s crash would possible implicate not solely the individuals who recruited the migrants and facilitated their journey north but in addition the officers who permit vans filled with migrants to cross by way of the immigration checkpoints which might be omnipresent in southern Mexico.
“It’s nearly unimaginable to struggle in opposition to the equipment of human smuggling that entails the state,” mentioned Daniela Gutierrez Escobedo, an immigration legal professional in Mexico Metropolis.
Additionally contributing to impunity could be the reluctance of many migrants to report crimes or function witnesses in opposition to the smugglers they or their households contracted.
On Friday, Mexican investigators descended on the scene of the crash together with officers from Guatemala, the place lots of the victims had been from.
Investigators have mentioned that the truck’s driver was dashing close to town of Tuxtla Gutiérrez when he hit a curve and careened right into a bridge.
Within the overturned trailer, rescuers discovered a bloody pile of our bodies — some alive, some useless. They instructed native journalists that some survivors limped away as an alternative of receiving medical therapy, afraid of being captured by immigration authorities.
When he took workplace in 2018, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised a extra humane immigration coverage. He proposed funding antipoverty applications in Central America and increasing alternatives for asylum seekers to settle in Mexico.
As an alternative, underneath heavy strain from the US to crack down on a wave of “caravans” of Central Individuals strolling north collectively on foot, López Obrador despatched hundreds of troops to protect Mexico’s southern border.
Migration consultants say the militarization of the border has pressured report numbers of migrants into the arms of transnational smuggling networks that generally cost as a lot as $10,000 an individual for the journey north.
“Present insurance policies, which focus disproportionately on attempting to dam migration by way of detention and the usage of drive, solely drive migrants to journey in clandestine, unsafe situations like these seen on this devastating case,” Brewer mentioned.
Packing migrants into darkish, sweltering tractor-trailers has turn into one of many smugglers’ favourite strategies.
In October, authorities in Tamaulipas discovered 652 migrants, principally from Central America, jammed right into a convoy of six cargo vans heading towards the U.S. border.
Final month, officers found 600 folks in two tractor-trailers in Veracruz.
Cecilia Sanchez in The Instances’ Mexico Metropolis bureau contributed to this report.