Ciudad Juárez to host Francis’ last event in Mexico
BY DALILA ESCOBAR ALMANZA
Before leaving Mexico, and as the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina, Pope Francis will deliver a message on Feb. 17 to migrants who risk their lives on a daily basis and, in the worst cases, die when trying to cross the Rio Grande in an effort to achieve the “American dream.”
The location chosen to deliver the message was Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, on the border between Mexico and the United States, a land that has allowed many to dream, as the pope has said.
Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, migrant human rights activist, said to CAPITAL MEDIA that, “The pope will not be satisfied with only speaking some words on a border, near the river, or anywhere. He is going to deliver a message to all of Central America, Mexico, the United States and, if possible, Canada. All this implies that Pope Francis will have to speak loudly and forcefully.”
Solalinde, who is also the founder of the Hermanos en el Camino shelter in Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, trusts that the message regarding migration that the pope will deliver will be clear, in order to create awareness to the humanitarian tragedy that migration represents.
Rev. Pedro Pantoja, who supports the Posada del Migrante shelter in Saltillo, Coahuila, said to CAPITAL MEDIA that orders came from Rome asking them to collaborate on a document that portrayed the real situation faced by migrants, focusing especially on the forced migration in Central America, so that Pope Francis was correctly informed.
“We had just finished a major report on Mexico titled, “A Rocky Road,” which contained the painful facts of the kidnappings and massacres suffered by migrants, as well as the consequences of the Southern Border plan. Rome asked us to do this because Pope Francis will respond strictly and clearly. We hope that he addresses these issues because he is respectful, but doesn’t accept impositions,” said Pantoja.
This will not be the first time that the pope talks about this subject. After his trip to Cuba, where a big part of the migrants that pass through Mexico come from, the pontiff said during an interview that he decided he is going to “enter the United States through Cuba.”
Last year in Philadelphia, the pope gave a discourse about migration.
“In the last few centuries, millions of people have reached this land following their dreams of building their own future in freedom. We belong to this continent. Foreigners don’t scare us because many of us have been foreigners at one time.
I speak to you as the son of immigrants, just like so many of you are descendants of immigrants,” Pope Francis said.
The pontiff insisted that “we must choose the possibility of living now in the most noble and just world possible, while we create new generations with an education that never turns its back on its neighbors.”
In Mexico, migrant rights activists have complained that in the country there is an insensitivity toward the integrity of foreigners that pass through the country in search of the “American dream.”
Martha Sánchez Soler, leader of the Central American Mothers Migrant Caravan Movement, said that she has faith that the pope is interested in the topic of migration.
Rev. Solalinde added that in the last few years the number of deportations has increased, and so has the situation of insecurity, hunger and lack of opportunities in people’s country of origin.
“Perhaps this isn’t what we want for our children. We shouldn’t let the numbers intimidate us, but rather look people in the face, listen to their stories while we fight for a better solution to the situation,” the pope said.