Things That Matter

Under Pressure From Trump, Mexican Soldiers Are Making Life For Migrants Passing Through Mexico A Living Hell

The struggles that migrants face in their journey from Central America to the US-Mexico border has long been a dangerous one. Under threats from smugglers and coyotes to corrupt government officials, physical violence, extreme heat, lack of food and water, it’s a journey that has claimed many lives.

However, under a recent deal between the US and Mexican governments, the trip north has become increasingly more difficult thanks to increased enforcement from Mexican authorities.

Under pressure from the US, Mexico is launching major crackdowns against migrants.

Credit @TheUrbanNewz / Twitter

About 100 Mexican soldiers and immigration agents raided a freight train in the southern state of Chiapas on Thursday and detained dozens of Central American migrants riding atop the cars. Such raids had been rare since the last crackdown on migrants in 2014. But under increasing U.S. pressure to reduce the flow of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans through Mexican territory, Mexico’s government has stepped up enforcement.

In a traumatic scene filmed by Associated Press journalists, the train rolled to a stop in a rural area, and then soldiers climbed ladders to the top of freight cars shouting, “This is the army, you’re surrounded!”

Groups of migrants tried to flee by running along the tops of freight cars, while others hurried down to the ground and headed into the jungle. One soldier was seen wrestling a young man into a waiting immigration van by the neck. Agents filled three such vehicles with migrants.

At least some of the troops wore armbands of Mexico’s newly formed National Guard.

Credit: @pedroultreras / Twitter

The government says it has deployed thousands of National Guard agents across the country with supporting immigration enforcement.

The raid came the same day authorities in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz detained more than 450 migrants in a series of operations.

The raids included the arrest of nearly 260 migrants who were taken from hotels, motels and the main bus station in the city of Veracruz.

“We have been making detentions in the entire state,” said Edgar González Suárez, the Immigration Institute’s delegate for Veracruz. He called the raids in the Veracruz city “perhaps the biggest operation” to take place there, and said most of the migrants were Hondurans and Guatemalans.

Meanwhile, photographers are traveling with the caravan to document their bravery amid the struggles.

Credit: @Refuge4Families / Twitter

Despite the risk of being turned back, thrown in a detention center, violence, and death, tens of thousands of migrants make the perilous journey. Why do they do it?

Many travelers have died on the journey – some were mugged, some kidnapped by cartels. The risks are too many for any family to consider undertaking this journey entirely on their own. 

“Pueblo sin Fronteras” (also known as, “People without Borders”) is an NGO that has been organizing similar caravans for several years. They carefully pick the travel route in order to avoid the cartel-dominated zones as much as possible and make sure to keep migrants on the road only during daylight hours.

Migrants in the caravan often take their strength from their numbers and manage to survive its hardships through solidarity. On cold nights they huddle in groups and during the day they share the little stock they have to last the long march. They take turns carrying babies and the carefully-chosen belongings they decided not to leave behind. Knowing that memories they hold on to from their previous lives could make their future lives harder to reach, they took with them as little as possible.

They do all of this to make the dream of reaching the US come true. And they’ll continue the struggle and the dangerous journey despite increased threats from Mexican authorities.

READ: Mexico Conducts Largest Raid On Migrant Caravan Members, Regrets It

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Culture

Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Right now just about everyone is itching to go on vacation. But considering that we’re still mid-pandemic and the call remains to socially distance, what can one do?

Sure, glamping is nothing new – it’s filled our Instagram feeds for years and was around long before that – but it may just provide travelers with that socially-distanced staycation that so many of us need right about now. Or, better yet, wait a little while longer and get yourself to Mexico where several new glamping bubble hotels are popping up.

Mexico will soon have three “bubble hotel” options for tourists looking for the next level of “glamping.”

When you think of camping, many of us think of bugs, not showering, and doing our private business behind a bush somewhere. While that’s still definitely an option for those of us that are into it, glamping has been a trend towards making the camping experience a more comfortable one.

Glamping has been gaining popularity among nature lovers, who also want to enjoy those everyday creature comforts, but in the midst of beautiful landscapes. That’s why bubble hotels have been popping up across Mexico, to offer clients a unique stay, close to nature they’re the perfect ‘getaway’ to get out of your daily routine.

From the bosque outside Mexico City to the deserts of Baja, Mexico is a glamping paradise. 

These bubble hotels have rooms described by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet as essentially inflatable, transparent domes designed to allow guests to cocoon themselves in nature without quite leaving their material comforts behind. 

There are already two such properties across Mexico with a third which will begin welcoming guests sometime toward the end of this year.

One of those that is already operational is Alpino Bubble Glamping in Mexico City while the other is the Campera Bubble Hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California.

Located in the Cumbres de Ajusco National Park in the south of the capital, the former has just two “bubbles,” a 40-square-meter deluxe one that goes for 4,500 pesos (about US $220) a night and a 25-square-meter standard where a stay costs a slightly more affordable 4,000 pesos.

Both have views of the Pico del Águila, the highest point of the Ajusco, or Xitle, volcano, and come equipped with telescopes that guests can use to get a better view of the surrounding scenery and night sky.

Bubble glamping isn’t the camping our parents dragged us out to do in the woods as kids.

Credit: Alpino Bubble Hotel

Sure you may be connecting with nature and enjoying awesome activities like horseback riding, stargazing, hiking or rafting, but these properties come with all the creature comforts we’re used to. 

Move nights, wifi, breakfast in bed, warm showers, luxurious bedding, and even a full bar are all standard amenities at many of these properties.

What do you think? Would you be up to stay the night at one of these bubble hotels?

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