Mexico: 5 years since the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas

September 11, 2015

La 72 Hogar Refugio Para Personas Migrantes @VICE “La 72,” Refuge Home for Migrants @VICE

Five years ago, on 23 August 2010, 72 bodies of migrants appeared in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. 58 men and 14 women, principally from Central and South America, were kidnapped and executed in a ranch in San Fernando, close to the border with Texas. The indignation over the case was immediate. San Fernando recalled all those who are made invisible during their passage through Mexico in search of a new life. Since that time, the authorities have arrested a number of individuals but have not published information regarding whether anyone has been sentenced. Amnesty International (AI) has warned that the lack of investigation in the case “gives a green light to the criminal groups that terrorize and murder those who cross Mexico in search of security and a better life.” AI also hypothesizes that those responsible belong to criminal gangs, and it suspects that many of these worked in collusion with local security agents.

In Tenosique, Tabasco, the year after these events transpired, in honor of the 72 victims, there was founded the “72 Refuge Home for Migrants,” which provides housing for migrants en route to the U.S. AI specified that, since the massacre in San Fernando, hundreds of other men, women, and children who sought to reach the United States via Mexico have been harassed, disappeared, kidnapped, raped, forced into sexual slavery, and massacred.

For more information (in Spanish):

La historia de la 72: Un mensaje de esperanza frente a masacres de migrantes (VICE, 25 de agosto de 2015)

Masacre en San Fernando: lo que la PGR le oculta a las familias (Proceso, 22 de agosto de 2015)

A 5 años de masacre de 72 migrantes en San Fernando, caso sigue impune: Amnistía Internacional (Animal Político, 22 de agosto de 2015)

Falta de justicia a cinco años de una masacre convierte a México en una ‘zona de riesgo’ para migrantes (Amnistía Internacional, 21 de agosto de 2015)

Denuncia Amnistía impunidad a cinco años de la masacre de San Fernando (Proceso, 21 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Four years after the massacre of San Fernando, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants (2 September 2014)

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National: Four years after the San Fernando massacre, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants

September 2, 2014

Albergue "La 72", Tenosique (@SIPAZ)Migrant Home “La 72″, Tenosique (@SIPAZ)

At the end of August, there was a commemoration held of the four years since the San Fernando massacre (August 2010), which took place in Tamaulipas. A group of armed persons belonging to the Zetas cartel kidnapped and murdered 72 migrants (58 men and 14 women), most of them originally from Central or South America. It is suppsoed that the kidnapped migrants were executed because they did not pay extortion fees and refused to join the criminal group. In Tenosique, Tabasco, the following year, to commemorate the 72 who were murdered, the “La 72” Migrant Home was established, being a center that offers hospitality and rest to migrants en route to the United States.

Members of “La 72” denounced that on 12 August, the National Institute on Migration (INM) and the federal police carried out an operation at the Tenosique station against migrants who had crossed into Mexico through the Tabasco border. Once the train arrived, “72” staff report that approximately 20 federal police and 10 INM agents “attacked many verbally and others were followed on the train tracks,” adding that that a half hour later, they saw INM patrols full of “arrested” migrants in the cabs. In light of this incident, the staff of “La 72” declared that “we newly repudiate the return by the INM and federal police to these sorts of detention operations, since rather than provide security to migrants, they expose fleeing migrants to risk of mutilation and death by passing trains. The so-called ‘rescues’ of migrants that the INM likes to say it carried out are in reality bold persecutions in which there is extreme verbal and psychological violence.” Furthermore, they stressed that in the INM operations the Beta group had also participated, having changed from its previous role of “protector of migrants […] into a type of intelligence [agency] for the INM delegation in Tabasco.”

On 15 August, Fray Tomás González Castillo, director of “La 72,” declared that a permanent operation had been activated in Tenosique, and he denounced the attempt by the INM (with assistance from the federal police) to dismantle the refuge by means of “comfort” operations in the migrants’ home and in the city, instead of targeting areas in which criminal groups act. These operations are “comfortable,” says Fray Tomás, because “the INM does not carry out its operations in rural areas, there where the human-traffickers are capturing migrants. These are practically the bases on which the groups work with impunity to ‘cross’ Central Americans from Guatemala to Mexico.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alerta urgente: Operativos INM y PF en Tenosique (“La 72″, 13 de agosto de 2014)

Federales y Migración aniquilarán refugio La 72 (Proyecto Ambulante, 18 de agosto de 2014)

De la fosa clandestina a la fosa común (Chiapas Paralelo, 25 de agosto de 2014)

Impunidad, a cuatro años de la masacre de San Fernando (Red Política, 25 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike (29 April 2013)