Copyright 2014 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo” or “Teofilo Campeon”) All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.
Cochise County, Arizona, United States: Al Jazeera America recently published an investigative report on the story of Immigrant Allan Modesto ‘Tiger’ Martinez Alvarez, a young Garifuna man from Triunfo De La Cruz, Honduras; as he repeatedly risked his safety and tried to escape bleak prospects back home in Honduras while attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the United States of America.
Written by Erin Siegal McIntyre and Seth Freed Wessler; this story is a reminder of what film critic Armond White alluded to when describing what stories a movie like Cary Fukunaga’s 2009 ‘Sin Nombre’ (‘Nameless’ in Spanish) neglected to dramatize when it was released to the public.
For those unaware, ‘Sin Nombre’ is a U.S./Mexico adventure thriller film released in 2009 about a Honduran girl trying to emigrate to the United States by traveling on top of freight trains traveling through Mexico and a boy caught up in the violence of gang life who also needs to escape. Below is the trailer.
In the Al Jazeera America investigative report, Erin Siegal McIntyre and Seth Freed Wessler, detail the many obstacles faced by people trying to illegally enter the United States of America.
From the marks of heightened security efforts:
- reinforced walls/fences
- stricter enforcement policies that intentionally funnel migrants into inhospitable land.
To the threats of:
- beatings and violence
- deportation if caught
In Tiger Martinez’s case, he often rode atop freight trains in Mexico and that was just the beginning of his horrifying journey.
As the writers attempt to put a human face on immigration (and deportation), the portrait of this young Garifuna man in this investigative report also puts into context the many factors that led to Tiger Martinez’s largely complex and desperate life. There’s mention of:
- Honduras (and Central America) being used as a central hub or midpoint of drug smuggling activity
- lack of job opportunities (in Honduras AND in the United States)
- bad economy
- threat of deportation once in the United States.
I remember meeting with Garifuna American Actress Isha Sumner for the first time in 2009 about potential movie projects, and much of what is listed in this posting was discussed in our conversation. In short, the terrifying experience of many Garinagu attempting to enter the United States of America. I couldn’t help but think of that conversation while reading about young Garifuna man Tiger Martinez. I was also reminded of stories that the Being Garifuna blog mentioned. Including the news stories about:
- 2 Garifuna Men (Carlos Alejandro Mejia Espinoza and Junior Basilo Espinoza) being among the 72 Migrants Murdered while attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States in 2010.
- 3 Garifuna Men (Vidal Cacho Amaya, Jimmy Colon Centeno, and Paul Castillo Ventura being kidnapped and murdered in Honduras by Assailants dressed as Honduran Policemen in 2012.
If you have the time, take the time to read the Al Jazeera America investigative report about young Garifuna Man Tiger Martinez. It is entitled, Border Deaths: The Last Crossing of Tiger Martinez.
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