Friday, March 14, 2014

The Beast by Oscar Martinez

The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail, Oscar Martinez. Translation by Daniela Maria Ugaz and John Washington. New York: Verso, 2013, 2010. e-book 250 pps.

     The problem of illegal immigration through Mexico is much worse than I realized before reading this book. It is not just poor Mexicans attempting to cross the border into the United States ["El Norte"]. People are fleeing from Central American nations because of violence and threats to their lives and the lives of their family members. Besides Mexicans and Central Americans, some Chinese folks also use the border illegally.

     Some percentage of illegals never make it to the wall. [There is a wall separating the U.S.A. from Mexico now]. They are picked off by narcos after being robbed, sold out to narcos by  coyotes and then robbed and picked off, picked off the roofs of the trains they ride in hopes of some sort of freedom. It is a violent world. The author traveled the migrant trails and rails in preparation before writing The Beast.

     Forced prostitution is common among Central American women who discover that they can send significant amounts of money home to their families. Some settle in the souther-most parts of Mexico to ply the trade. 

     The lucky illegals find a break in the shelters set up for them along the way. The unlucky ones find themselves within shooting range of the narcos.

sapphoq reviews says: Oscar Martinez's book is easily the most informative one about the illegals I have found to date. Building a wall and increasing patrols along it both helps and hinders the situ. The problem encompasses far more than Mexico. Americans increase their demand for illicit drugs. [Marijuana is only part of the problem]. People in Mexico and Central America are not safe from the cartels and attempt to flee. I am still for the legalization of pot in the United States and still against amnesty for illegal aliens. I came away from The Beast with an increased understanding about what is happening south of the border. Highly recommended.

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