This article is part of the Fall 2018 issue of Alert that highlights the urgent medical aid our teams provide to people on the move through Central America and Mexico.
Those who make their way through Guatemala and into Mexico do not find any guarantee of safety.
As the number of people fleeing violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle grows, the Mexican government has clamped down on the country’s southern border, with support from the US. Police and military surveillance and law enforcement, coupled with widespread corruption and suspicion of collusion with cartels and maras operating in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Tabasco, have resulted in an atmosphere of lethal violence and lawlessness.
MSF teams provide primary health care and psychosocial services along the migration route through Mexico, treating patients at the La 72 migrant shelter in Tenosique, at the FM4 shelter in Guadalajara, and, via mobile clinics, at the Casa del Migrante shelter in Coatzacoalcos. These sites serve as oases of sorts for people making the dangerous journey north. But as violence near the border with Guatemala and along the migration route has escalated, it’s become clear that some patients have greater medical needs. People who have been exposed to extreme violence—torture, kidnapping, rape, psychological abuse—require comprehensive, specialized, and integrated care.