El Cero

short stories

Rumours

Juan Jose, he’d taken 2 months to reach northern Mexico from his home in Honduras.

I’ve been passing time in these places called Casas de Migrantes or Migrant Centres. They’re a way to find stories rather than a story in themselves. Some people are heading south while others are heading north. People come with accounts of what’s happening in different parts of the country, as well as their own incredible personal tales. On Friday Juan Jose offered to take me across the border with him. He wanted his story to be documented so that the US president would take pity, and grant him political asylum. I wasn’t that comfortable with the motivation to be honest, as I knew I would never be able to meet his expectations, I also knew I just wasn’t prepared for such a journey this time either. I didn’t have the time and I only carry enough money to cover any particular trip. It feels like a serious undertaking, swimming across the river followed by a 4-day walk through the bush. Walking at night to dodge La Migra and sleeping during the day. For me however, successfully getting into the US feels far less daunting than successfully leaving Mexico. I’m told there are men who guard the river on the Mexican side, they’ll try to charge anyone wanting to cross a $200 fee. If you can’t or won’t pay they may well kill, or at the very least kidnap you and sometimes they’ll kidnap you even if you do pay. Kidnapping seems to be very big business in Mexico at the moment.

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