Friday, November 28, 2014

Two Men's Efforts To Help Migrants In Mexico End In Their Murders

Borderland Beat posted by DD Republished from NPR Blog
Written by Carrie Kahn

Two years ago, Honduran Wilson Castro was one of countless migrants trying to make
his way to the United States. He decided to stay in Mexico instead and help Adrian
Rodriguez Garcia feed other migrants traveling through by train. The two men were
murdered recently in Huehuetoca, Mexico.

This is the story of the murder of two aid workers in Mexico. The men fed Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico on a freight train that stopped near their home.

They were critical of both corrupt police, who abused and extorted the migrants, as well as the organized crime gangs that kidnapped and robbed them.

It wasn't hard to find the two men — they were never far from the train tracks — but there were no witnesses to their deaths, and police won't comment about the case. The double homicide didn't even get a mention in the local press.

I met the men on several occasions this summer while reporting on the surge of Central Americans, especially unaccompanied minors, who were making the long journey to the United States.

'We Are All Human Beings'

Last June, I walked the rock-filled tracks with Adrian Rodriguez Garcia. It was quite a hike from his house to where migrants would gather and wait for his meals.

Everyone called him "La Polla." He was the "mother hen" to thousands of migrants, mostly from Central America, who knew that when they got off the train near the central Mexican town of Huehuetoca, La Polla would be there with hot coffee and sweet bread in the morning, or a hot meal in the afternoon — rain or shine.

"I like helping people," he said.

Garcia said he started feeding the migrants near the town, about 35 miles north of Mexico City, about 10 years ago.

"I see how they suffer, how destroyed their feet are from walking such long distances, how they are always targeted by corrupt cops of crime gangs," he said.

He just wanted to make this small leg of their journey a little lighter.

After all, Garcia said, "We are all human beings, the only thing different about us is that we come from different countries."

Garcia dyed his long hair a light red color and pulled it back with a bright head band. He liked to paint his nails and wear sparkling rings. He told me he was a transvestite, and maybe that's why he related so much to the cast-aside migrants; he, too, felt he was an outsider.

Two years ago, a Honduran named Wilson Castro jumped off the train at Huehuetoca and decided to stay.
"I'm also a migrant," said Castro. "I know how much they suffer along the trip north — some die falling off the train or lose limbs, I've seen it all."

Castro was the quieter side to Garcia's flamboyance, but equally committed.

Handouts And Hard Work

The two didn't have a lot to hand out. One day when I was out at the tracks with them, Garcia lined up a group of about 20 migrants and passed out hot tortillas, beans, a slice of cheese and a few jokes.
He had an easy, loud laugh, but clearly there was a serious side to the work.

For one story I was working on about abuse in Mexico's migrant detention facilities, Castro told me about being held for two months in an overcrowded cell, where gang members robbed and extorted the migrants.

Earlier this year, both men thwarted an attempt to kidnap migrants at the train tracks. Castro held one of the suspected kidnappers while Garcia called the police.

Both gave statements to the authorities, and both received death threats, but according to human rights workers Garcia and Castro had been promised police protection.

None was provided, says Jorge Andrade, a human rights worker.

Last Sunday, after they handed out the evening meal, Andrade says the pair drove back to their house. They still were sitting in the car outside, talking, when members of Garcia's family who were in the house heard the shots.

Garcia died instantly from a shot to the head and heart. Castro, shot in the heart and lungs, died a day later. Police are not commenting.

At a press conference Wednesday, aid worker Andrea Gonzalez said authorities long had been aware of the criminal gangs operating in the region and the threats to the men, yet did nothing.

"We can no longer permit this type of violence and impunity to permeate our society," she said.
Castro's body is being sent home to his family in Honduras. Garcia was buried Tuesday in the small cemetery in town not far from his house — not far from the train tracks


  1. some ardillos were killed the other day and some bb reader was hating on me for saying "no big loss just gangs killing gangs".
    on the other hand
    these two activist humanitarians getting killed is a real loss . my heart is broken again.

    1. It was that baboso idiota that always come here talking shit he is a hater. ....Damn. even if a few wanted to help like those guys did they can't because the bad cancers of mexico are ready to ruin it. malditos perros malnacidos.

  2. What an inspirational story! Instead of being met with violence and hatred, those migrants were met with welcoming arms and an open heart...that tasted like coffee and bread. To be so kind to strangers, says so much about the kindness of these men. Men like that, are too few...and too far apart.May they RIP

  3. This is why EPN's bid to do-away with some municipal police departments isn't a horrible idea. What's the point of having these municipal police getting PUBLIC MONEY from Mexico's extremely limited budget just to extort poor migrants and collaborate with Maras. Federal authorities would indeed be an upgrade. Total lack of respect for human life on the part of corrupt authorities and gangs down there. Insane that these people aren't subject to the death penalty in Mexico.

  4. Piche jotos los peros polecias

  5. All the official police corporations are corrupt and corruptible, And all of the officers must kick up money, the usually live off wha the keep from the kicbacks and the federal police are just the worse of the whole bunch, auto defensas, or community police, elected by their community, and looked after by everybody, will even work for free and do a much better job, unless H3 or some federal comisionado comes to fuck it all up...
    If the mexica federal state or municpa are famous for something, it is CORRUPTION, there is nothing they will touch that doesn't get fucked up, see the nationalized mining industry? Power generation? Telefonos de mexico? Pemex? All of them fucked up by the government and in the name of them, now the butchering of mexicans is getting offshored to corporations from the shores north of the rio bravo to fuck up people south of the shores of the rio grande...
    --the mexican official goverment forces can't keep disappearing people forever, it is against the law, blackwater, halliburton, academy, on the other hand can do as they please, the will even snitch on their mexican partners in crime to get their hard earned jobs of sending the pestering indian infestation on their way to the gas chambers, never mind the narc gangs...
    --it is official, it is on, it was the government all along...mexican? american? BOTH...

  6. If the police officers were welled paid or an incentive for busting gangs up. Just maybe. Just maybe. It can make a differnce. Mr President sell your 7 million dollar house.

  7. At this point, no pay raises will buy peace from the police at any level, it is time to tell them sorry boys, you tried your best, it is not your fault, you did all you could, his is not a negative report, but a strategic change is needed, thank you, goodbye, and bring in expensive inutil good for nothing blackwater/academi, halliburton, blackeyes jack, or some other expert war veterans already spying from inside mexico, or some really dedicated autodefensas who really deliver and put it on the line for free!!!
    Atentamente: un baboso watching your nasty ass, for free!!!

  8. Federal,state and municipal police agencies have been corrupt since their inception and one of the main reasons is the pay scale of these agencies. First and Foremost, they have to "Buy" the job then kick back a percentage of their pay on a monthly basis so actually the monies they get to live on and support the family is from anything they can "Shake You" down for. it's been like this no matter what political party is in power. We think it's "Andy of Mayberry" down there. Well I can assure you it's not even close!


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