Every year on August 23, La 72, Migrant and Refugee Shelter commemorates the 10th anniversary of the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando Tamaulipas. Each year we raise our voices for those who can no longer do so, with hearts full of pain and anger. Their memory is not forgotten, and our voices are ready to continue demanding justice.

Ten years have passed since these events and we can now see how little the situation of violence has changed on the migratory route through Mexico, where the panorama instead of improving has intensified. It has become a cave of ferocious and hungry wolves that fight for having in its jaws the people who try to cross Mexico in search of a better life.

Millions of sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, who one day left their countries with a dream to fulfill, today are missing. At the mercy of the violence exerted by criminal groups and common crime, who carry on unpunished and homicidal. Migrants continue trying to cross a country that is like a minefield. Their objective? Escape the violence exercised against them in their countries of origin, escape from extreme poverty and hunger. They know that this is not the only way to live, and therefore, they leave in search of the means for a decent life, means that their governments do not provide. In this way, we can say that it is a forced migration.

Throughout these years, we have sadly observed adolescents who are forced to abandon their ideals, facing the danger of being co-opted by the so-called “gangs”; fathers and mothers who flee with their daughters or sons to free them from the violence to which they are exposed on a daily basis.

In La 72, we maintain a collective memory that evokes all the people killed by an unpunished system, which urges us to continue to resist and defend their rights, until the state guarantees and works in favor of justice and freedom of our migrant brothers and sisters.

For all of the above, on Sunday, August 23rd, we will hold commemorative activities for the 10th anniversary of the massacre in San Fernando Tamaulipas. Due to the emergency public health situation of COVID-19, activities will be carried out inside the shelter, to give more visibility to the tribute prepared by the work team in collaboration with the sheltered people. A video will be published giving a voice to the people who have lived personally the danger of being a migrant in Mexico.

Within the program established for Sunday, August 23, the migrants will dramatize the unfortunate events of San Fernando. This will be followed by an ecumenical celebration and a group reflection that will culminate with a solemn tribute where the number 72 will be formed by lit with candles in the center courtyard our house, an activity that is already a tradition at La 72.

Under no circumstances should we allow ourselves to forget that before being migrants, they are people. With this tribute we communicate to the outside world that in these 10 years since, that justice has not been attained, that not only have there been 72 people have died, that we refuse to forget the pain of families, and that we are not indifferent to the pain of others. In this sense we join together with the families of the 72 to demand justice, that the crimes committed be punished, and that they stop profiting on the lives of migrants.

Alejandra Conde
Equipo La 72