Mexico City, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Protesters placed an “anti-monument” opposite the US Embassy in the heart of this capital on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre in northeastern Mexico of 72 migrants trying to reach the United States.
The placement of the anti-monument, a figure in the form of +72 with the legend “Migration is a human right,” was the centerpiece of the commemoration of the Aug. 22, 2010, slaughter of 58 men and 14 women at a ranch near San Fernando, Tamaulipas state.
The victims came from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil, but the majority were Hondurans.
Two migrants who survived alerted authorities and the bodies of the dead were discovered by marines on Aug. 24, 2010, after a shootout with gunmen that left a marine and three criminals dead.
The “+” element in the anti-monument refers to the thousands of migrants who have died or disappeared while en route to the US, according to the activists who placed the anti-monument on Reforma Avenue, the Champs-Elysees of Mexico City.
“Crossing Mexican territory has become a dangerous journey. To pass through our states, whether by bus, train or walking, turns into a risky enterprise that can cost one’s health, physical integrity, life,” protest organizers said in a statement.
They said that the US government shares responsibility for the situation because of its policy of pursuing and criminalizing undocumented migrants.
And though the incumbent US president, Donald Trump, is notorious for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, the activists behind the mobilization stressed that Washington’s harsh approach to migrants did not begin with the current administration.
Mexico’s independent National Commission on Human Rights also acknowledged the somber anniversary, vowing to continue to monitor implementation of an initiative to pay compensation to the families of the slain migrants.
Roughly 80 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the massacre in Tamaulipas.
The migrants were kidnapped by members of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel and then killed after they refused to go to work for the criminal outfit.
Following the discovery of the bodies, three investigators assigned to the case were also murdered, a reflection of the lawlessness that reigned a decade ago in Tamaulipas, which borders Texas.
The Zetas were founded by army deserter Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and three other soldiers who had been part of an elite special operations unit.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account.
Though Lazcano and other top leaders were eventually captured or killed, remnants of the Zetas remain active to the present day in the Northeast Cartel, known for wearing counterfeit marine uniforms and vehicles painted with military insignia to carry out kidnappings. EFE