Mexico: migrants killed as ‘The Beast’ derails

Six or more people were killed in the early morning of Aug. 25 when a freight train derailed near the border between the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The federal government reported later in the morning that four people were killed and 35 were injured, some seriously; shortly afterwards, Jazmín Cano, the mayor of Las Choapas in southern Veracruz, put the number of deaths at six and the number of injured at 22. The accident was reportedly caused by the combination of rain and excessive speed.

The victims were presumed to be Central Americans passing through Mexico on their way to the US. Undocumented migrants frequently climb on to the freight train, which runs between Tabasco and Tlaxcala; the ride is dangerous, and the Central Americans refer to the train as “The Beast.” A civil defense official in Veracruz estimated that 300 people had been riding on the train, suggesting that the number of deaths might rise. After the accident dozens of Central Americans arrived in the Las Choapas train station, where they were given water, food and clothes by residents and the Red Cross. According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), some 140,000 Central Americans enter Mexico without authorization each year in an effort to reach the US. (Reforma, Mexico, Aug. 25, via Noticias MexicoLa Jornada en línea, Mexico, Aug. 25)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, August 25.