“We weren’t dreaming of a coffin… now our family is just trying to survive”

Daniela Rea wrote in Pie De Página about the murder of 19 year old Santa Cristina García Pérez and eighteen others, for which Mexican state police officers have been accused by the State Attorney General. There tends to be plenty written about on the dangers of migrating north through territory controlled by drug cartels but sometimes the danger is much closer to the side of law and order, where frightened people might expect some protection.

Violence against poor defenceless migrants provides desperately sad narratives.

The English translation was done by Dawn Marie Paley.


September 22nd marked the eighth month since the massacre of 19 migrants in Camargo, Tamaulipas, followed by the hearings in the case against the 12 police officers accused of the crime. The family of Santa Cristina, one of the victims, is asking for compensation from the government of Mexico, because the poverty they already experienced has been made worse by their debt to the coyotes.

Santa Cristina García Pérez was 19 years old when she was killed in Camargo, Tamaulipas, on January 22nd. She had left on the journey because she wanted to help her family pay for her youngest sister Ángela’s operation for her cleft lip. Since Ángela was born, the whole family has had to make an effort to pay for medical exams and powdered milk, since she couldn’t take breast milk.

As soon as Santa became an adult, she left Guatemala for the US to help her family.

“She left because she had many needs, her own needs and the needs of her family. I’m Santa’s father and the father of the girl with the cleft lip. Santa left to help us. What happened is a fact, it is known, they killed Santa.”

Twelve state police from Tamaulipas are accused by the State Attorney General of having killed 19 people on January 22nd on a backroad in the municipality of Camargo, a few kilometers from the US border. Among the 19 people was Santa, another 15 migrants from Guatemala, two Mexicans, who it is assumed were their guides, and another person who has not been identified. The migrants were pursued near the US border, shot to death, and then their bodies and vehicles were burned to destroy the evidence. The cases against the 12 police were scheduled to continue today in Tamaulipas.


You can read the full piece here, “We weren’t dreaming of a coffin… now our family is just trying to survive”.

The original Spanish version can be read here, “Nosotros no soñábamos la tumba, ahora nos toca sobrevivir”.



Categories: Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Legal, Migration, Military, Poverty, Violence

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