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.

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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.

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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

New Study Shows That Mexican Teenagers Are Among The Most Addicted To Their Cellphones

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New Study Shows That Mexican Teenagers Are Among The Most Addicted To Their Cellphones

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We don’t need a research study to tell us that we’re more addicted to our phones than ever before. Still, the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism united with nonprofit Common Sense to give us The New Normal: Parents, Teens and Mobile Devices in Mexico,” and the findings are interesting. The survey is based on more than 1,200 Mexican teens and their parents and was led by Dean Willow Bay and Common Sense CEO James P. Steyer. Mexico is just the fourth country surveyed in a global mapping project to better understand the role smartphones play in “the new normal” of today’s family life.

The study found that nearly half (45 percent) of Mexican teens said they feel “addicted” (in the non-clinical, colloquial way) to their phones. That’s 15 percent higher than found in the United States and 265 percent higher than in Japan. Now we want to know how Latino-Americans stack up because this all feels pretty familiar.

1. Checking mobile devices has become a priority in the daily lives of teens and their parents.

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Interestingly, more parents than teens reported using their phones almost all the time. That’s 71 percent of parents and 67 percent of their children reporting near-constant use of their phones. Nearly half of parents and their teens report checking their phones several times an hour. Meanwhile, only 2 percent of the respondents said they never feel the need to immediately respond to a text, social media networking messages, or other notification.

2. Most teens (67 percent) check their phone within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. For some, their attachment to their phone interrupts their sleep.

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In fact, a third of teens and a fourth of parents check their phone within five minutes of waking up. More than a third of teens (35 percent) and parents (34 percent) wake up in the middle of the night at least once to check their phone for “something other than the time: text messages, email, or social media,” according to the report

3. Parents and teens alike are judging each other’s phone use.

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Somos chismosos by heart, so of course, 82 percent of parents think their child is distracted daily, often several times daily, by their phone use. Over half of teens feel the same way about their parents. Seriously, how much Candy Crush is too much Candy Crush? On top of that, 64 percent of parents believe their child is “addicted” to their phone while 31 percent of teens feel their parent is “addicted” as well. That said, only 40 percent of teens felt their parents worried too much about their social media use, but 60 percent of teens said their parents would be “a lot more worried if they knew what actually happens on social media,” according to the study.

4. If a parent feels “addicted,” they’re more likely to have a child that “feels addicted,” too.

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Half of both parents and teens self-identify as feeling addicted to their phones. That said, three quarters of the 45% parent pool who reported feeling addicted ended up having a teen who self-reported as feeling addicted, too. That means there are about a third of households where everyone “feels addicted” to their device. In a similar vein, that meant that roughly 2 in 5 Mexicans are trying to cut back their time spent on their phone. 

5. Mexican teens’ favorite way to communicate with friends was via text (67 percent)…not hanging out in person.

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Only half (50 percent) of teens said one of their favorite ways to communicate with friends was in person, which narrowly beat social media (49 percent) by just one percentage point. Talking on the phone (40 percent) didn’t come in the last place though. That slot is reserved for video chatting at 22 percent.

6. If they had to go a day without their phone, the majority of respondents said they would feel happy or free.

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While the majority of teens said they would feel at least somewhat happy (73 percent), free (67 percent), or relieved (64 percent), they also expected to feel at least somewhat bored (63 percent), or anxious (63 percent), or lonely (31 percent). Compared to teens, more parents reported that they’d expect to feel happy (79 percent), free (77 percent), or relieved
(73 percent). 

7. The majority of both parents and teens think device use is hurting their family relationships.

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Nearly a third of parents said they argue once a day with their teen about their excessive use of their phone, and that screen use, in fact, ranks third behind bedtime and chores as their regular conflicts. “My parents are very concerned about this,” teen Guadalupe Mireya Espinosa Cortés told Common Sense Media. “They are all the time telling us, ‘Oh, don’t use the phone while we are eating together. Hey, we are on vacation. Don’t use the phone, please’ and I agree. I think there are priorities and we have to be intelligent to know when and where to use our phones.”

Overall, most Mexican families still agree on the benefits of the technology, citing tech skills, access to information, building relationships and keeping in touch with extended families as reasons that mobile devices are worth their while.

READ: Facebook Wants To Add Latinas In Tech To Their Teams And Offer Them A Slice Of Their Big Salary Earning Pie

A Chiapas Mayor Was Dragged From His Office And Dragged Behind A Truck By Angry Residents

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A Chiapas Mayor Was Dragged From His Office And Dragged Behind A Truck By Angry Residents

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Police had to intervene and save the life of the mayor of Las Margaritas in Chiapas, Mexico. The mayor, like many politicians throughout Mexico, was the victim of angry residents who want him to follow through on campaign promises but he hasn’t.

Disturbing video out of Mexico shows a mayor of a village in Chiapas being dragged behind a pickup truck.

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According to BBC, the farmers in the village are demanding that Mayor Jorge Luis Escandón Hernández follow through on one campaign promise. The mayor promised the farmers to fix a local road but they are getting angry that he has not followed through with the promise so far.

The entire abduction was captured on video and is gaining international attention.

Credit: @MujerFulminante / Twitter

“This si getting out of control,” tweeted @MujerFulminante.

There has been growing violence in Mexico against politicians. Mainly, Mexican mayors and candidates have been killed by drug cartel members and leaders who don’t want the politicians to fight their corruption.

Bystanders recorded the mob of people dragging the mayor out of his office with his wrists tied together.

BBC reports that dozens of police officers were needed to end the attack on the mayor of Las Margaritas. It was the second attack on Mayor Escandón Hernández over the local road he promised to fix during his campaign.

CCTV footage from later in the day showed the actual dragging of the mayor behind the truck.

Miraculously, the mayor was rescued by the police and only suffered minor injuries as a result. He is planning to file charges against the people responsible for the attack. The mayor is filing charges of abduction and attempted murder against the mob who attacked him.

Eleven people were arrested in connection with the attack.

Credit: @NYadMEX / Twitter

“Is this savagery necessary,” asked @NYadMEX on Twitter.

There was an earlier attack on the mayor but he was not present when the group of angry residents arrived. The first time the group tried to attack the mayor, he was not in the office when they entered so they destroyed his office.

READ: A Politician From Mexico Revealed Santa Claus Isn’t Real In An Event Filled With Kids