In March 2021, the bodies of 13 migrants were returned to their native village in Guatemala wrapped in the national flag. It was the inverse journey they had made in January when they left the arid mountains of Comitancillo for the Texas border in search of better opportunities. Once in the United States, each of them would have paid the over 11 thousand dollars debt contracted with a coyote, a human smuggler, and sent money to their families. There were 16 of them in all, allegedly killed by Mexican police in Tamaulipas state. Their bodies were found calcined, impossible to be recognized, except by a DNA test. Twelve officers have been charged with homicide.
The funerals for the victims were an explosion of grief. Relatives, friends, and community members marched along dirt roads to crowded cemeteries, carrying photos of the dead while marching bands played until the end of the ceremony. After the funerals, many of them would start another journey in search of a better life.
Photo copyright: © Nicolò Filippo Rosso