“She wanted the best for her family”: the dramatic story of a mother who traveled twice to Mexico to identify her son among those killed in the Chiapas accident

The days have passed since that tragic December 9, 2021, when a trailer loaded with more than 160 Central Americans overturned and killed 56 migrants, at least 40 of them Guatemalans, in Chiapas, Mexico, But the consolation does not come to the families of the victims, since they cannot find an explanation of how the search for employment changed their lives forever.

Until Thursday, January 13, 38 bodies of Guatemalan victims of that tragedy had been repatriated, 19 of them yesterday at noon, and the identification of two more bodies is still pending, according to authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Just as the repatriation procedures have been slow, the drama of the families has also turned uphill, because during the time they had to wait for the delivery of the remains of their loved ones, they had to live through a sea of ​​anguish.

This is the case of Nicolasa Guarcas, a woman from Santa Apolonia, Chimaltenango, that he did not rest until he found the body of his son Richard Levi Ordonez Guarcas, 17 years old, one of the fatal victims of the fateful accident in Chiapas.

In her desperation to know the whereabouts of her son, Nicolasa traveled to the accident site twice, but on the first trip she was only allowed to enter the hospitals where the injured were transferred; however, based on the descriptions of one of the deceased, she was sure that Richard was in the morgue, although she was unable to enter to recognize him.

Days later, he received a call asking him to return to Mexico to undergo a DNA test so that he can identify his son.

Also read: Family of a migrant victim of the tragedy in Chiapas lives grief at not being able to travel to Mexico for DNA testing

Richard was a fourth-year medical student who dreamed of completing his studies; however, the possibilities of continuing in school were becoming more difficult due to the pandemic, so he decided migrate to the United States.

“My nephew had such a great desire to improve himself and wanted to transform his humble adobe house and give something better to his family, but everything remained a dream,” said César Romeo Xicay, Richard’s uncle.

“I would ask the government to put its hand on its conscience and give a better life to our people in our country, so that they are not forced to say goodbye to their family and never return,” added Xicay.

Another case

At just 16 years old, Alvaro Anselmo Guanta Tocora He undertook the trip to the United States from the village of Panimachavac, Tecpán Guatemala, Chimaltenango, on December 7 and for that his father looked for a way to get the money and pawned a piece of land so that he would reach what they considered “the country of opportunities.” ”, but what he found was death.

Álvaro was the youngest of seven children, but his economic condition did not allow him to study and from an early age he worked as a day laborer in the fields.

Also read: Deaths of migrants in transit increased 50 percent in 2021

His parents since last December 9, when they learned of the tragedy, took refuge in a church where they held vigils and fasts in the hope that the young man would return alive, but the story was different.

“We are poor, so he wanted to do something for the family, but unfortunately it was not. He contacted a man from Quiche, who was the one who took him, my boy was calm, hard-working and without vices”, commented Pedro Guanta, father of Álvaro.

Álvaro Anselmo Guanta Tocora is one of the 19 dead migrants who were repatriated last Thursday from Mexico. (Free Press Photo: Amy Sánchez)

returnees

The bodies of 18 Guatemalan Migrants, including five minors, who died in an accident on December 9 in the south of Mexico, were repatriated last Thursday on a Mexican Air Force plane, authorities reported.

One more body was transferred by land to the departmental capital of Totonicapán, western Guatemala, reported Marcela Díaz, a delegate at the Mexican state of Chiapas (South) from the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Also read: “It is urgent”: dozens of US senators ask for immigration protection for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua

The coffins left in nine vehicles after being embalmed the day before, as they were in morgues in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas, and in the municipalities of Tonalá and Pijijiapan.

“The biggest problem has been the recognition of the deceased because the families come from afar, and probably have economic deficiencies,” explained Díaz.

The Mexican military plane with the 18 coffins later arrived at the air base of the Guatemalan Army, in the south of the capital, observed AFP.

Thirteen of the victims were taken in minibuses to communities in the department of Quiché and four to Chimaltenango, both in the indigenous west; the other was transferred to Petén, a jungle region in the north of the country on the border with Mexico.

In the group, five deceased adolescents were repatriated, including one under 16 years of age, according to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala.

The December 9 tragedy occurred after a trailer smuggling some 160 irregular migrants desperately seeking to reach the United States crashed into a pedestrian bridge in a highway in Chiapas.

Also read: “The driver fled”: two Guatemalans are injured when a trailer full of migrants collides in Mexico

Of the 56 deceased, 40 were from Guatemala, 13 of Dominican Republic, one of The Savior and another of Ecuador. The remaining body has not yet been recognized.

So far, 51 bodies have been repatriated, according to the Chiapas state prosecutor’s office; 38 to Guatemala.

In addition, some 100 migrants were injured in the accident, which occurred shortly after a controversial program of U.S that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for a response to their asylum requests.

“This modality (of transporting migrants is trucks) is not new (…), but what we are looking for here is to sensitize people so that they do not fall into the mafias of ‘coyotaje’ (human trafficking),” he declared after the repatriation. the Guatemalan Vice Chancellor, Eduardo Hernández.

13 bodies arrive in Quiche

During the night hours of last Thursday, January 13, they arrived at Quiche the bodies of the 13 migrants from that department to be buried.

Eight bodies of migrants from Joyabaj, two from Chichicastenango, one from Chajul, one from San Andrés Sajcabajá and one more from Chiché They arrived at the department to be veiled and buried in their communities, where relatives and neighbors were waiting for them.

The eight bodies of the migrants from Joyabaj were received by municipal and community authorities in the center of the municipality and then headed to the Portuguese and Boquerón communities.

Carlos Gonzáles, a neighbor of Portugués, lamented that the neighbors died on their way to the United States.

Manuel Chan, father of a migrant from Choyomché Tres de Chiché, expressed his sadness through tears and indicated that his son had not traveled to the United States to see that country, but because he needed his family to get ahead.

Rosolino Bianchetti, Bishop of Quiché, said that the arrival of the first eight bodies and now the other 13 is a reminder that Quichelo residents are fleeing poverty.

With information from AFP

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