It was a desperate decision for 17 Ecuadorian and Central American emigrants. Jump into the Rio Grande, on the border between Mexico and the United States, or surrender to an armed group that persecuted them.
On the night of the 13th of this month, 12 travelers opted for the first road and another five were taken by the criminals. This alert was launched yesterday morning by the organization 1800migrante.com, which has offices in New York and Cuenca. Yesterday, this newspaper located the relatives and acquaintances of two people who lost their lives and those close to Myriam Paguay, who is still missing.
The bodies of Luis Quezada Aguilar, 23, and Héctor González Godoy, 28, have already been found floating in the river. The first was found last Friday and the other, yesterday. The identification of the corpses was quick, because in the pockets of their pants they found a plastic bag with the ID and their voting certificate.
The cases have already been reported to US authorities and of Ecuador, for the reconfirmation of their identities. The process of repatriation of the body of Quezada is the priority of his sister Francisca. Yesterday, she was at home and said that the deceased left his hometown of San Lucas, in the province of Loja, on March 27.
He has two children and relatives say that what he earned as a driver and assistant in interprovincial transportation was not enough to support the children. Before reaching the age of 7, Luis Quezada was orphaned by his father and mother and has lived with an aunt ever since. He worked to help her. Last Monday, his sister Francisca traveled to the Loja capital to request help for the repatriation of the body and to denounce the ‘coyote’.
But before entering the Interior, an envoy of this ‘coyote’ gave her a check for USD 10 700, which is the same amount they paid for the trip. This money was collected by the family through loans given by financial institutions in Loja. Now all they know at home is that their relative died to escape the armed.
A Salvadoran woman, who said she had been “several days” kidnapped by the armed groups, told the organization 1800migrante.com that she heard the desperate cries of the people who were in the water. “Some five who did not launch tried to run to the mountain, but were caught by the armed groups.” The woman said that she was free after paying a ransom.
The territory where the incident took place belongs to the state of Tamaulipas, where Los Zetas, a Mexican criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking, uses terrorism to intimidate. State agents in Mexico know that the migrants are kidnapped to turn them into ‘mules’ of drug trafficking, to traffic in people or to extort money from their families. “They live humiliations, abuse and when they do not do what they ask they kill them,” says the director of 1800migrante, William Murillo.
That happened in August 2010 in Tamaulipas, with the massacre of 72 emigrants that moved the region. At that time one of the survivors was the Ecuadorian Freddy Lala Pomavilla. According to the first data collected on the US-Mexico border, Ecuadorians who were in that group are from different parts of the country.
Myriam Paguay was from Chimborazo. The Paguay Mejía family, who lives in the community of Guántug, located in the Guamote canton, does not know the whereabouts of their 21-year-old daughter.
The last telephone contact Francisco had with his daughter was on the 13th of this month. She told him in Kichwa: “Dad, I’m in Monterrey, close to arriving in the United States. Do not worry about me”. Francisco Paguay learned that she had emigrated two days after she had departed from Guántug, which is a small town of ballast roads and simple houses. She studied Accounting in a University of Riobamba and helped her parents in agriculture. But she left.
The Minister of the Interior, María Paula Romo, says that they will ask the officials who are in the countries involved to keep them informed of the crime committed. (I)