A tragic accident claimed the lives of at least 10 Cuban migrants and injured 25 others on Sunday, when the truck they were traveling in overturned on a highway in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The truck was carrying 27 Cuban nationals who were trying to reach the United States, according to Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM).
The accident occurred around 6 a.m. local time on the Pijijiapan-Tonalá highway, near the border with Guatemala. The truck, which had a wooden body and was not designed to transport so many people, was speeding and lost control, causing it to flip over. The driver fled the scene and is being sought by the authorities.
The victims were all female and included a minor, the INM said in a statement. The injured were taken to various hospitals in the region, where they received medical attention and humanitarian assistance. The INM also said it would contact the Cuban consular authorities to initiate the process of repatriating the bodies and providing support to the survivors.
This was the second fatal crash involving migrants in Chiapas in less than a week. On Thursday, two migrants died when another truck overturned in the municipality of Mezcalapa. Chiapas is a common route for migrants from Central America and the Caribbean who cross into Mexico from Guatemala and head north towards the US border.
Mexico has seen a surge of migrants in recent months, driven by poverty, violence, political instability and natural disasters in their home countries. Many of them travel in buses, trailers and freight trains, often facing dangerous conditions and exploitation by smugglers and criminal groups.
In August, at least 15 people were killed when a bus carrying mostly Venezuelan migrants collided with a trailer on a highway that connects the states of Puebla and Oaxaca4. In July, another bus plunged off a steep road in Oaxaca, killing as many as 27 people5. In April, 18 people died in another crash in Puebla6. And in February, 17 people were killed when a bus carrying migrants from Venezuela, Colombia and Central America crashed in Oaxaca.
The Mexican government has been under pressure from the US to stem the flow of migrants and asylum seekers, who have been arriving at the US-Mexico border in record numbers this year. In June, Mexico deployed thousands of troops and immigration agents to its southern border to deter irregular migration. It also agreed to expand a program that allows the US to send back some asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for their cases to be processed.
However, human rights groups have criticized Mexico’s migration policies, saying they violate the rights of migrants and expose them to abuse and violence. They have also urged Mexico to provide more humanitarian assistance and protection to migrants who are stranded or injured in its territory.