I periodically come across a group of people who make me stop to recognize what they represent. This time it is a group of migrants from Honduras, who take the train through Mexico on the way to the U.S. to find work. They find a way to hop on one of the freight trains they call La Bestia (the beast) since it has maimed so many. The group headquartered in Honduras has 400 to 500 members, all disabled who have lost limbs traveling it. They are as illegal in Mexico as they would be in the U.S. and are then sent back to their countries, and there particularly given their disabilities are unable to work and endure sorrowful and very difficult lives. The wife of one migrant worker who returned without his right leg and right arm just left him. But the men, who feel their lives have become nightmares, also want to fight for the rights of other migrant workers, people who like them seek to escape desperate conditions and hope for something better in the U.S. Norman Varela, the spokesman for the group who made it to a small city in Mexico, and who when he lost his leg was robbed of all his money by a Mexican policeman, said they wanted a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto. He was told by a local official it was impossible. “What’s impossible,” he said,” is re-growing a hand or an arm or a leg. It is not impossible to arrange a meeting with a fellow human being.” Short of meeting the President, the migrants want to deliver letters to him. In future, they want their fellow migrants to be assured safe passage to the United States, instead of being detained or repatriated for being illegals in Mexico.
Days after their story and their plight were made public, they received word that a representative of Mexico’s national immigration department would receive their letters and would deliver them.