A Story of Kidnapping in Mexico

The report by Mexico s National Commission on Human Rights about the kidnapping of thousands of mostly Central American migrants on their way through Mexico is a remarkable catalog of abuses committed not only by gangs but also by Mexican law enforcement officials who carry out the kidnappings. I learned of such a case in 2005. It involved two Salvadorans who told me of being detained by Mexican immigration officials as they approached the border city of Reynosa.

I spoke to the two men, Miguel Angel and Gustavo, after they had crossed into the United States. Here is a brief account, assembled from my notes at the time:

When the official stopped Miguel Angel and Gustavo, they tried to pass themselves off as Mexicans from the state of Veracruz. But their accent gave them away. The official said they would be able to continue their journey if they reached an agreement with a friend of the official. If not, they would be arrested and deported. They agreed to talk with the friend.

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