Tragedy struck a group of immigrants from Central America seeking to enter the United States when the train they were riding de-railed in Mexico. Five persons died when the freight train known as La Bestia “The Beast,” overturned in the Mexican state of Tabasco, in the southern region of the country. At least 35 more individuals were injured, according to official reports. Of these, 16 of them have life-threatening injuries.
It is on The Beast that Central American immigrants ride on top of freight cars, having hopped onto the train near the Mexico-Guatemala border. Luis Felipe Puente, Mexico’s coordinator for Civil Protection, told a local radio station that more deaths may ensue since there are gravely injured victims who have been taken to local hospitals. The train was carrying scrap metal, and Puente said that more victims may be still found in the wreckage. The derailment occurred during the pre-dawn hours on August 25.
Mexican soldiers and law enforcement officers were deployed to the site of the wreck, which is near a settlement called La Tembladera, near Huimanguillo in Tabasco. Of the 12 freight cars being hauled by the engine, eight of them overturned between the towns of Francisco Rueda and Las Choapas. The site is in a remote area at some distance from the highway. It can be reached only by boat, thereby making rescue efforts even more difficult.
Thousands of immigrants seeking relief from the poverty and violence of Central America often end up raped and murdered by gangs who extort money for passage to the north.
The Mexican government issued its condolences and promised its assistance to the victims and the consulates of their respective countries of origin. One victim has been identified as national of Honduras. The other victims are said to be nationals of the various Central American republics.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.