The Beast: Riding The Rails And Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Trail

The Beast: Riding The Rails And Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Trail


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One day a few years ago, 300 migrants were kidnapped between the remote desert towns of Altar, Mexico, and Sasabe, Arizona. A local priest got 120 released, many with broken ankles and other marks of abuse, but the rest vanished. Óscar Martínez, a young writer from El Salvador, was in Altar soon after the abduction, and his account of the migrant disappearances is only one of the harrowing stories he garnered from two years spent traveling up and down the migrant trail from Central America and across the US border. More than a quarter of a million Central Americans make this increasingly dangerous journey each year, and each year as many as 20,000 of them are kidnapped.

Martínez writes in powerful, unforgettable prose about clinging to the tops of freight trains; finding respite, work and hardship in shelters and brothels; and riding shotgun with the border patrol. Illustrated with stunning full-color photographs, The Beast is the first book to shed light on the harsh new reality of the migrant trail in the age of the narcotraficantes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781682975
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 470,803
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Óscar Martínez writes for, the first online newspaper in Latin America. The original edition of his book Los migrantes que no importan was published in 2010 by Icaria and El Faro and a second edition by Mexico’s sur+ Ediciones in 2012. Martínez is currently writing chronicles and articles for El Faro’s project, Sala Negra, investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martínez won the Fernando Benítez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in El Salvador.

Table of Contents

Foreword Francisco Goldman ix

1 On the Road: Oaxaca 1

2 Here They Rape, There They Kill: Chiapas 27

3 La Bestia: Oaxaca and Veracruz 49

4 The Invisible Slaves: Chiapas 67

5 Kidnappings Don't Matter: Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca 89

6 We Are Los Zetas: Tabasco 109

7 Living among Coyotes: To the Rio Grande and Back 129

8 You Are Not Welcome in Tijuana: Baja California 143

9 The Funnel Effect: Baja California and Sonora 161

10 The Narco Demand: Arizona 185

11 Cat and Mouse with the Border Patrol: Arizona 205

12 Ghost Town: Chihuahua 223

13 Juárez, Forbidden City: Chihuahua 239

14 Dying in the Rio Grande: Tamaulipas 255

Afterword 269

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The Beast: Riding The Rails And Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Trail 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Beast is a must read for anyone concerned about undocumented workers entering the United States. The Beast focuses on the tremendous challenges faced by people trying to enter the US to escape intolerable conditions in their home countries and the added difficulties faced due to increased efforts on the part of the US to reduce the flow. The influence of drug cartels was particularly eye opening.. Whatever your views on immigration reform, The Beast provides first hand insight into the often nightmarish conditions incurred by people looking to leave behind their old lives for something better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book brings the " other side " of the picture into the forefront. Being born in the US, I understand how migrents coming here ends up costing the US; hospital costs, taking jobs; just to nane a couple. Now, lets flip the coin; what parent doesn't want to provide a better life for their children? I commend them for their courage. Review by, Pamisue
Anonymous More than 1 year ago