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Killing of Salvadoran Refugee by Police in Mexico Incites Furor

“The meaning of that barrier was to put a wall between us the victims and this government,” Araceli Osorio, whose daughter Lesvy was killed in 2017, said outside the presidential palace. “A wall that has not allowed our demands to be heard.”

Ms. Salazar was granted refugee status in Mexico in 2018, and was in the country on a humanitarian visa, according to Mexican immigration officials. There was no indication that she was bound for the United States. Tulum, a town known for its beaches and Mayan ruins, is off the usual migrant routes.

Even so, the death of a Salvadoran national underscores Mexico’s dismal human rights record when it comes to the thousands of Central Americans who traverse the country every year. They often face exploitation and violence from the authorities, criminal gangs and human traffickers.

Last month, 12 police officers were arrested for the massacre of 19 people, including several Guatemalan migrants, in the northern state of Tamaulipas, the latest in a long line of killings in Mexico involving government forces.

On Sunday night, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador sent out a flurry of tweets condemning the killing of Ms. Esperanza and calling on Mexican authorities to punish the officers involved.

“I am sure that the Mexican government will apply the full weight of the law on those responsible,” Mr. Bukele said. “My condolences to Victoria’s family, especially her two daughters, to whom we will give all possible help.”

Ms. Esperanza’s killing in police custody also drew comparisons to the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, who similarly died under an officer’s knee, sparking nationwide protests in the United States and an international reckoning on race and police brutality.


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