The Tragic Reality of Latinas Part Of The Migrant Caravan: “At least I know where my daughter is buried”

On Tuesday, BBC News published an article chronicling the lives of four generations of Honduran women that have been affected by the migrant crisis in Central America. The article tells the grim story of sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, gang violence, and poverty that is the daily reality of many families who are struggling to make a better life for themselves in the midst of seemingly constant adversity. It is the bleak reality of what it’s like to live in poverty in Central America–when the only option seems to be to emigrate.

The article follows the story of Rosa Maldanado, a young woman who left the town of El Progreso in Honduras because she was “not getting ahead”.

Rosa Maldonado’s mother, Edita Maldonado, 71, told the BBC the tragic story of her daughter who left the small Honduran town to joined a migrant caravan heading towards the United States. According to Edita, Rosa was motivated to emigrate in 1995 after being robbed of her factory wages multiple times on her way back from work. 25-year-old Rosa left Honduras and joined a migrant caravan with her partner and her younger brother. By all accounts, she intended to keep in touch with her family.

Instead, Rosa Maldonado didn’t hear from her daughter for five years.

After Rosa and her traveling companions crossed over into Mexico, Edita received only one letter from her daughter updating her on their situation. After that, all communication between Rosa and her family in Honduras stopped for five years. Scared for her daughter’s safety and wanting to take action, Edita Maldonado joined Cofamipro, aka the Committee of Families of Disappeared Migrants of El Progreso. This organization dedicates itself to tracking down missing persons who have left El Progreso to emigrate.

In 2000, Edita finally heard from Rosa, who was now living in Mexico with an abusive partner.

Rosa shared with her mother that she had been sold into prostitution by her former partner, who used the money to buy his passage to the US. Rosa managed to escape the brothel and soon settled down with a man who, according to family members, used her as a “domestic slave” and restricted her communication with the outside world. After he died, Rosa remained in Mexico, where she was sexually abused by her partner’s male family member. In 2004, Rosa finally returned to Honduras, where she died two months later due to poor health. According to Edita, she still “thinks of her all the time”.

Unfortunately, Rosa Maldonado’s story is not unusual for those who make the dangerous journey from Central America towards the US in a migrant caravan.

In fact, Edita Maldonado considers herself lucky because she knows where her daughter is buried. “So many other people do not know what happened to their missing relatives”, Edita explained.

As for the rest of the Maldonado family, they struggle as well. The article goes on to describe an unrelenting cycle of poverty, abandonment and single-motherhood that faces many Honduran women–many who lose their partners to gang violence. Some men who manage to flee Honduras end up victims of the cartel at the US-Mexico border.

Nevertheless, the women of the Maldonado family seem to have unrelenting hope in the face of so much despair.

Edita continues to volunteer for Cofamipro, while another one of her daughters is an activist, campaigning for the rights of migrants at the US-Mexico border. Another of her daughters has plans to attend nursing school.

In the end, the story seems to be just another case of Latinas doing everything they can to make a better life for themselves in the face of global injustice and inequality.

Read the full article here.

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