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  • Writer's pictureVoices from the Border

Villages Being Taken Over by Cartels - Residents Flee

It started when a drone dropped an explosive device...

Earlier this month, we spoke with 2 of the mothers staying in our apartments and their stories were very similar. Their entire villages were taken over by cartel groups and they had to flee for their lives. We had the opportunity to hear in detail what transpired in one of these small communities that lies on the border of Mexico and Guatemala. Their experiences are so far out of the realm of what most of us can even imagine, it’s hard to take in.

It started when a drone dropped an explosive device on one of the houses where a woman and her three children lived. Our guest told us she knew that one of the kids lost a leg from the knee down, but she didn’t know how they were doing other than that because she fled.

Then trucks came into town carrying men and weapons. They kidnapped and disappeared some of the husbands.

One of our neighbors used to sell wood. He and his nephew left one day to deliver the wood, they were stopped by the cartel, and they took them. We never saw them again. It was so hard to speak to his wife because she was in shock and crying for a long time for her husband because she never heard anything. His body was never found. Only God knows, and that story was very frequent in our town. Another man, 23 years old, same thing happened, and the family received threats that if they say anything they would be killed. So, his wife, like us, just left. And I, as many others, scattered all over the country and some, like me who have relatives in the US, came north.”

“The cartel wants to own the town and the ejidos. They want to control everything. Now, since I left, they have also started in another village near mine. Whoever doesn’t want to watch out for them - keep an eye - they must pay 5000 pesos a month. In other words, the people must work for the cartel or face consequences. All the villages in the area we are from are threatened. That’s why I’m afraid, and why I want to go to the US, because I’m afraid for my kids to be taken from me to become part of the cartel. Because they start at the age of 12. I’m so afraid that can happen to my kids. These children are trained to kill so there is nothing we can do about it.”

“We don’t believe in our government. We tried to get our documents from the government, and we were denied so we feel that they are acting in favor of the cartel. Even the military is not doing anything for our people, and you see children already in some of the villages armed and we can not take photos or videos because it’s giving them a reason to disappear you. So all we can do is leave. Even some of the government people are afraid.”


To learn more about these types of situations, we highly recommend two recent excellent pieces.

This Border Chronicle newsletter edition:What does Oaxaca, Mexico, have to do with the U.S. Border? A Q&A with Miguel Ángel Vásquez de la Rosa. The connection between migration, poverty, violence, and corporate dispossession in Oaxaca. And the active resistance to them.

This limited series podcast: Caliber 60. About the impact of illegal arms trafficking southbound to Mexico on the displacement of thousands of Mexicans fleeing towards the U.S., as told through Linda’s story, who escaped Michoacan and found refuge in California.

Partner with us today!

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Aug 26, 2023

Thank you all SO SO MUCH for your dedication and caring for our brothers and sisters at the border. Thank you for sharing their stories so that we understand what is behind all that we are seeing and hearing about. I will continue my donations as long as I can.

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