Of Coyotes and Car Crashes (Marathon them In)   2 comments

Carmen and I went for a long walk to the next neighborhood up the road from ours, called Naranjos, 30 minutes by foot and further into the country.  We stopped to visit a woman who owns a small convenience store who has a daughter Carmen’s age.

Marina has 3 children, the last of which is 7, and so severely disabled he will remain an infant forever.  He cannot walk, and has little muscle control – this began shortly after he was born.  Despite his disability, he is a very happy boy.  He sits on his mother’s lap, as if he were a 2 year old.  She is very affectionate with him, and he in turn is very responsive, always smiling and cheerful.

This poor woman was left a widow maybe 5 years back when her husband tried to migrate to the United States.   He was killed in a car accident, along with 6 others, in a car driven by Coyotes while in transit.

If any immigrant family could get permission to migrate via some type of special exception, I think hers would qualify.  I know of no exception in our immigration laws to obtain a work permit for extraordinary circumstances; because truly, the list of persons worldwide who live with a struggle like this is millions of persons long – many more than the approximately 1 million people allowed to legally immigrate to the United States each year.   I think most Americans who could have met this man and know his story would be sympathetic towards his cause, and perhaps even knowingly protect him.   If he made it, that is.

One would think the Coyotes would drive slower, if not for the safety of their passengers, but to avoid getting busted, considering the penalties for human smuggling.  Apparently, greed only drives them harder.  Each warm body is literally thousands of dollars in their pocket – so the faster they marathon immigrants to their destinations, the sooner they return to the frontier to ready up their next load of cargo.

2 responses to “Of Coyotes and Car Crashes (Marathon them In)

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  1. In my work, i recently contacted the El Salvador embassy in Monterrey, MX which covers the area of Piedras Negras, MX. I was looking for a Salvadoran national whose family asked me to look for him because he went missing in Jan 2012. My investigation lead to sources that talked about a truck that attempted to flee Mexican immigration in the badlands of Piedras Negras near Eagle Pass, Texas. The truck crashed and flipped and ejected many passengers including a group of El Salvadorans. The Salvis were all messed up and ended up in Mexican hospitals; only one was well enough to make it back to El salvador. I wonder if we’re talking about the same group. The accident happened in the 2nd week or 3rd week of Jan. 2012.

    I tell my Salvi compadres how dangerous it is to cross. They think i’m a naive gringo and that their brethren “latino” mexicano will take care of them. My experience is that most Salvadorans run into their own culture shock when entering Mexico. They often hire guides(coyotes) first in Guanajuato and then they’re handed off to the next group of coyotes until they hit the border. This is where trouble starts. In Piedras Negras and many hot spots along the border, the coyotes will first ask for $300 as a tax to the Zetas…permission to cross the border. However many of these numbnut coyotes are amateur criminals bent on raping girls and men, stealing, robbing and sometimes holding people for ransom. Things have changed since the 80s and 90s. The border is run by an underground industry supervised by major drug cartels. They view human life as cheap; they view lives of any OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) as sub-human and expendable.

    The honest going rate for a good coyote crew to smuggle a Salvi to the USA is about $6000 to $7000 from El Salvador to Texas or Arizona. These people will often successfully infiltrate into the USA undetected.

    The Salvis that hop the “bestia” train to Guanajuato are usually asked to pay a confidence fee of $500 to get them to the border. There, they are asked to pay an extra $300 “Zeta” tax. If they successfully cross, they are held in passive captivity until the family pays the coyotes the balance to come to a total of $2000. This scenario often produces unsuccessful crossings and the risk of rape for women is close to 90%. Very dangerous shit.

    It’s easy for me to say this, but I always encourage my salvi family to embrace the doctrine of accountability, self-critique and aggressive investment and become involved in their countries progress. This is to ensure proactive improvement to the country’s autonomous competitive industries. I discourage them from escaping to the USA to send cash back because this perpetuates the “indentured servant” syndrome.

    • Hi Don, nice to hear from you again, it’s been awhile. This is an older post, so different crash, and things have only gotten worse since then, I believe. Yes you are right on with the Mexican p.o.v towards anyone south of their border. It’s very difficult for other L.Americans to get through MX traveling on their own without a coyote b/c they stick out like sore thumbs. I hear a lot of discussion about rape of women while crossing and people almost assume it will happen. I hear of people crossing “with” their women or sending them with a brother or escort, but do not often hear what the outcome was. We know two young men who left for the U.S.A from here just a couple weeks ago, and you’re right on the money – they paid 7 grand for coyote service from here to up north – haven’t heard if they made it there yet. It’s a tough call regarding crossing the frontera or staying here. For people like you and I, it’s easy to say work hard and find a job here. Only the best and brightest get decent jobs – or whose families own businesses. My husband bitches on behalf of his brothers here, says they should create a minimum wage of $2 an hour. Far from the going rate of $5 – $10 a day for labor. They call E.S. a
      ‘developing’ country, but I wonder sometimes if its stuck in a permanent arrested development. What may help is if retirees from the U.S. with diminished assets decide to take this country on as a new frontier to live in – would boost housing, restaurants, recreation, everything.

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