Eight years after the massacre of 72 migrants in the town of San Fernando in northern Tamaulipas state, priests and activists paid tribute to the victims in the same ranch the massacre took place in El Huizachal.
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“Never forgive, never forget, we only want justice,” said Fray Tomas Gonzales, in charge of the Home for the Migrant ‘the 72’ in Tenosique, Tabasco.
He stated that he disagreed with the amnesty offered by recently-elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador because the victims’ relatives will never receive justice if pardons were granted.
“The deaths are the result of the fight against drug-trafficking engaged by Presidents Felipe Calderon and Enrique Peña Nieto,” he said.
The ceremony counted with the participation of Ana Lorena Delgadillo, head of the Foundation for Justice and a Democratic Rule of Law, priest Pedro Pantoja, head of the Home for the Migrant of Saltillo, Coahula state, priest Luis Eduardo Villarreal of the Nicolás Home, Nuevo León state; priest Hernán Astudillo from Canada; priest Luis Eduardo Zavala, from Monarca Home, Nuevo León state, as well as representatives for the National Commission of Human Rights.
The sole survivor of the massacre, an Ecuadorean man, Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla escaped the ranch after being shot and told authorities about the killings. He said his fellow victims included Brazilians, Hondurans, Salvadoreans and Guatemalans.
Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry stated in a communique issued on Wednesday saying that the relatives of the Ecuadorean victims will receive compensations —while other countries have not taken any similar measures so far.
Migrants trying to slip into the United States from Mexico are increasingly at risk of kidnapping and extortion by drug gangs that operate with impunity in parts of the country’s northern reaches, analysts say.
Activists have continuously denounced the government for failing to protect migrants, saying thousands of undocumented travelers suffer abuse at the hands of criminal gangs every year.
With many relatives of victims living in poor communities in Central and South America, it is even harder to identify them. Many of them are undocumented migrants, further complicating their identification.