Little Haiti in Culiacan, Sinaloa

249
In this Oct. 3, 2016 photo, Haitians line up at an immigration agency in Tijuana, Mexico with the hope of gaining an appointment to cross to the U.S. side of the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection can only handle up to about 75 people a day at San Ysidro, and Tijuana authorities were unhappy about large crowds assembled on the Mexican side of the border crossing. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Culiacán, Sinaloa.- Little by little, migrants seek to enter the United States to fulfill the American dream, by crossing the border. Those people without a document begin to look tired, carrying their own illusions, pain and nostalgia.

Upon reaching Culiacán, the conditions in which they live for a few hours, perhaps a day or two before continuing on their way are inhumane. Some look for inns to stay, if it goes well for them, while others, who only go with the blessing of their family, resort to the famous barracks to spend those two or three days in the state capital.

When he arrived in Mexico, Jean-Pierre came with her girlfriend and during a raid he lost her, he does not know where she is

Jean-Pierre, originally from Haiti, when passing through Culiacán, tells his story, a story full of horror and struggle to survive, although, with better luck, his family is supporting him on the journey.

With fluent Spanish, he clarifies that his mother tongue is French, but that his need made him learn Spanish and that he is already studying English, by the time he arrives in the US and can find a good job.

He speaks little of his journey. He says that he paid 300 dollars for some rafters to pass him through the Suchiate River, he came with his girlfriend, they both studied engineering, but already in Mexican territory, during a raid he lost his girlfriend, he does not know where she is, they fled through the mountains. He was raped by a mob …

The illusion of reaching the US is what keeps him on his feet, he began to join other groups, in total there are ten who joined to take care of themselves, they gathered their fortunes and bought a small truck to continue the journey.

At the outset, he points out that he is going to Tamaulipas, the group confirms in a single voice: yes, yes to the north, and afterwards between talk, he confirms that Tijuana is where they go and that most of them have family in California, Colorado and Nevada who they are supporting them financially.

They stopped in Culiacán to maintain the truck, buy groceries and continue on their way, they have stayed in an inn, he says, so as not to arouse curiosity.

He explains that when they saw some “countrymen” in the street asking for charity, they guided them, but that only one night they stayed in that place, due to the mistrust that the “homeless” people who live there gave them.

“Nous peuple de paix”, we are people of peace, he explains, therefore, they are near the Island of Orabá, next to the water park where they rest, they could even bathe very early to continue in search of the sleep that keeps them together and united.
Tray migrants, a life begging for the country

However, the state capital is increasingly being flooded by undocumented people who on cruise ships are dedicated to asking for support. They are entire families who live by begging, some even carry signs demanding help to continue their pilgrimage to the north of the country.

Father Miguel Ángel Soto Gaxiola, perhaps one of the Diocese’s priests most committed to those who have the least, warned that in Culiacán, there are several types of migrants, among them, those who are passing through and those who stay, better known as tray migrants.

He assures that so far the Pilgrim’s house, as well as the breakfast room of the Temple of Carmen, has not received groups of migrants, because there are few caravans that spend the night in Culiacán since their interest is to reach the border.

He points out that migrants who pass through our city due to situations of poverty or violence in their place of origin (Haitians, Hondurans, Guatemalans, etc.) sometimes come in a caravan, others as a family and sometimes alone.

“This type of migrant does not walk on the street asking for money because that makes them ashamed. Because of their passage through our country, they arrive at the migrant houses, because they know that they are safe and that they will receive free food, accommodation, and clean clothes, ”he points out.

The priest reports that throughout the country there are 104 migrant houses, of which 96 are served by the Catholic Church.
Photo: Karla Mendívil | The Sun of Sinaloa


The migrant who is spending the night in Culiacán, he clarifies, is the type of migrant who is regular people of color, they travel as a family -two or three families together-, they stay in cheap hotels, eat in restaurants and if people offer them help from the migrant’s house in the city, they say yes, but they ask you to give them money for the taxi to get there. However, they keep the money.

“These brothers of ours in Culiacán already have their well-chosen strategic points: the top of park 87, the train tracks between the central station and the U of O, in front of the Forum, to name a few,” he indicates.

Father Miguel Ángel said that these migrants are easily identified: backpacks on the shoulder, flip flops