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’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Things That Matter

Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Entertainment

Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

We all remember Carlos Villagrán as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho.” The actor and Mexican icon is now entering the world of politics. Villagrán is entering the race for governor of Querétaro.

Actor and comedian Carlos Villagrán wants to be governor of Querétaro.

Affectionately known as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho,” Villagrán is someone we grew up with. Now, decades after his famous role ended, Villagrán is hoping to open a brand new chapter in his life: politics.

“After 50 years of making people laugh, I find myself on another platform, which does me a tremendous honor,” Villagrán said during a press conference after filing paperwork.

Villagrán has been thinking about entering Mexican politics for a while.

It is never easy to decide if you want to become a politician. Your private life is no longer private and everything you do is suddenly under intense scrutiny. Villagrán did take time mulling over the idea before filing his paperwork to be a candidate for governor of Querétaro. He registered under the local Querétaro Independiente Party.

“I can’t say anything, because I still don’t know anyone and I have to talk to people to find out what it is about. So, I could not say anything at this moment,” Villagrán told El Universal when still debating the idea.

Villagrán created a Twitter account after announcing his candidacy and is hitting the talking points hard.

Villagrán’s official Twitter account has only pushed tweets highlighting QiBook. The social media platform is specific to Querétaro and is hoping to foster some economic and commercial success in the state.

Fans around the world are wishing him so much success.

Villagrán character Quico is one of the most celebrated characters in Latin America. The wild success of “El Chavo del Ocho” has made Villagrán a face that people throughout Latin America know and love.

However, some people are not excited to see another entertainer enter politics.

We have seen entertainers become politicians and it isn’t always a good thing. The current governor of Morales is Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a former soccer player, and people are not loving him and his leadership. We will no better about his chances of running on Feb. 8 when things are finalized.

READ: FIFA21 Releasing ‘El Chavo Del Ocho’ Uniforms To Honor The Icon For Limited Time

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