A Testimony from the Migrant Caravan
Adding to our series on why people flee, here is a testimony from a 25 year-old man who joined the migrant caravan that left San Salvador the morning of October 28, 2018.
The series of migrations, both internal and external, began with an aggravated assault and robbery that left the man with a ruptured tendon in his left shoulder. He didn’t file a complaint with the authorities or otherwise denounce the crime, because of his distrust in State institutions. He explained that the police harass young people who “aren’t doing anything, but with the real gang members...the police pass right by, patrols pass right by, and they don’t say anything.” In 2014, as a result of the assault, he moved from Ilobasco to San Salvador. There, he got married and had a daughter who is currently three years old.
For a while, he worked for a public health project. However, soon he began attracting the attention of gangs in the areas he had to visit for his job. In exchange for entering and exiting zones controlled by gangs, they would ask him to carry out illegal errands and favours for them. He notified his employer and asked to be transferred, but his request was ignored. Eventually, he quit his job rather than risk working with gangs. After being forced to quit, he began selling soda with his wife. Nevertheless, his family’s economic situation was very precarious.
He told Cristosal that he decided to join the migrant caravan in search of a better future for his family. His ultimate motivation is to provide for his daughter. If he can’t cross the US border this time, he plans to wait in Mexico and attempt crossing until he is successful. “I can’t come back. What am I going to do here? I’m going to stay in Mexico, waiting, planning how to cross. I have to cross somehow, and being in Mexico I will be closer and able to try. I don’t care if I have to wait one month, two months, three...I will make the attempts needed.”
When migrants are leaving in caravans, it is already too late. While Cristosal respects people’s right to migrate, we also believe in people’s right not to migrate.
Cristosal filed six amparos in the last year. The cases resulted in a ruling from the Supreme Court ordering the Legislative Assembly to create a law and programs to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who flee violence in El Salvador every year. Learn more about our amparo cases here.