LAS VEGAS, Honduras ( Associated Press) — Children expected to earn enough to support their siblings and parents. Young adults who made the sacrifices to go to college, thinking it would lead to success, disillusioned their country. A man who was already working in the United States and had returned to visit his wife and children, decided to take one of his cousins back to the United States.
As the families of 67 people boarded the truck and were released Monday in Texas, they began to confirm their worst fears and talk about their relatives, a common quest for a better life. The story took place from Honduras to Mexico.
As of Wednesday, 53 migrants trapped in the sweltering heat outside San Antonio had died, and others were hospitalized. The painstaking identification process was still underway, but families were already confirming their loss.
Francisco Garduno, head of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, said among the dead were 27 Mexicans, 14 Hondurans, seven Guatemalans and two Salvadorians.
Everyone surrendered their lives to the smugglers. News of a trailer full of corpses horrified cities and towns in Central America and Mexico accustomed to seeing young people fleeing poverty or violence.
In Las Vegas, Honduras, a city of about 10,000 people 50 miles south of San Pedro Sula, 23-year-old Alejandro Miguel Andino Caballero, 23-year-old Margie Tamara Paz Grajeda, and 24-year-old Margie Tamara Paz Grajeda believed that their marketing degrees and economics could help them. The doors of economic will open for you. Stability.
The youth, who had been a couple for almost a decade, applied for jobs in companies over the years. But time and again they were rejected.
The pandemic struck, several hurricanes ravaged the north of the country, and they became increasingly depressed.
So when Andino Caballero’s relative, living in the United States, offered to help him and his younger brother, 18-year-old Fernando José Redondo Caballero, financed a trip north, they were ready to go.
“It’s believed that when people have a higher education degree, they should have more job opportunities. Because that’s why they work harder, they study,” said the brothers’ mother, Caron Caballero.
She could no longer keep them, as did Paz Grajeda, who lived with Alejandro in her mother’s house and whom Caballero considered her daughter-in-law, although they had not married.
The woman explained, “We all planned it as a family so that they can have a separate life, so that they can achieve goals, dreams.”
When they left Las Vegas on June 4, Caballero accompanied them to Guatemala. From there the three youths were illegally taken in the back of several trucks via Guatemala and then Mexico.
“I thought things would be alright. The one who showed a little bit of fear was Alejandro Miguel, he said to me ‘Mom, if something happens to us’. And I told him ‘Nothing’s going to happen, nothing’s going to happen. You Not the first or last person to visit the United States.'”
Caballero last spoke to him on Saturday morning. They told him they had crossed the Rio Grande at Roma, Texas, were headed for Laredo and were expected to turn north of Houston on Monday.
He had come home on Monday when someone asked him to turn on the TV. “It was hard for me to process it,” he said, when he saw the report on the truck in San Antonio. “From there I remembered what my kids’ way of traveling was like, who traveled by truck from Guatemala and all the way from Mexico.”
Caballero was able to confirm his death on Tuesday after sending his data and photos to San Antonio.
Alejandro Miguel was known to be creative, cheerful, all-embracing and a good dancer. Fernando Jose was enthusiastic and kind, ready to help anyone in need. He imitated his older brother in everything from his haircut to his clothes. He loved football, and filled his mother’s house with screams.
The loss of her children and Paz Grajeda, who was like a daughter, is devastating. “My kids leave a hole in my heart,” he said. “We’re going to miss them so much.”
About 400 miles away, the options for 13-year-old cousins Wilmar Tulul and Pascual Melvin Guachiac, from Tzuqubal, Guatemala, were slim.
Tzuqubal is a Quiche indigenous community of about 1,500 people in the mountains about 100 miles northwest of the capital, where most live from subsistence farming.
“Mom, we’re dating,” Wilmer had last messaged his mother, Magdalena Tepaz, on Monday in his native quiche. He left the house on June 14.
Hours after hearing that voicemail, a neighbor told the family that there had been an accident in San Antonio and that they feared most, Tepaz explained through a translator.
Melvin’s mother, Maria Sipek Koz, said the boys grew up as friends and did everything together: playing, going out, even planning trips to the United States, even though they didn’t speak Spanish. Were.
Sipac, a single mother of two, said that Melvin “wants to study in the United States, then work, and then build her own home.” On Monday, she received a voicemail from her son saying they were dating. He removed it because he couldn’t hear it anymore.
Relatives who organized and paid for the smuggler were waiting for the boys in Houston. Those relatives told Sipak that the children had died and the Guatemalan government confirmed it to them on Wednesday.
Wilmer’s father, Manuel de Jesus Tulul, could not stop crying on Wednesday. He said he didn’t know how the boys would get to Houston, but he never thought they’d be put on a truck. His son had dropped out of school after primary school and was working with him to clear land for crops.
Tulul said that Wilmer did not see a future for himself in a city where humble homes were built with remittances shipped from the United States. He wanted to help support his three brothers and one day had his own house and land.
The smuggler charged a fee of $6,000, of which he had paid almost half. Now Tulul could only think of recovering her son’s body and relying on the government to cover the cost.
In Mexico, cousins Javier Flores López and José Luis Vasquez Guzmán also left the small town of Cerro Verde in the southern state of Oaxaca, hoping to help their families. They headed for Ohio, where they expected jobs in construction and other sectors.
Now Flores López is missing, his family said, while Vasquez Guzmán is hospitalized in San Antonio.
Cerro Verde is a community of about 60 people who have been practically abandoned by the youth. Those who survive earn a meager income by weaving hats, carpets, brooms and other items from palm leaves. Many live on just 30 pesos (less than two dollars) a day.
This was not the first trip to the US-Mexico border for Flores López, in his mid-30s, who had left Cerro Verde to travel to Ohio, where his father and brother live.
He had returned for a brief visit with his wife and three young children, explained a cousin, Francisco López Hernández. Vasquez Guzmán, 32, decided to accompany his cousin for his first trip across the border and hopes to join his brother, who is also in Ohio.
López Hernández said that although everyone knew the risks, many people from Cerro Verde had made it safely across the US-Mexico border with the help of smugglers, so the news came as a shock. The family believes Flores Lopez was also in the truck, but is still awaiting confirmation.
Vasquez Guzmán’s mother was on her way to apply for a visa to visit her hospitalized son, but was released from intensive care on Wednesday and was able to speak to him on the phone. She decided to stay in Mexico and wait for her to recover, said Aida Ruiz, director of the Oaxacan Institute for Migrant Care.
López Hernández said most people turn to people who have already arrived in the United States to send them money for travel, which usually costs around $9,000.
“There are many risks. Those who have the luck, the luck to get there, can work, get hold of their cargo,” he said.
Sherman reported from Mexico City and Perez de Tzuqubal, Guatemala. Associated Press journalists Fabiola Sanchez in Mexico City and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.