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‘You pay me, or you die with your daughter!’

Interview by Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: July | August 2019

‘You pay me, or you die with your daughter!’ ‘No choice but to leave’: Why a mother and her baby fled Guatemala all alone

Tribuno del Pueblo (TP): Your name?

Jenny: My name is Jenny.

TP: Where are you from?

Jenny: Guatemala.

TP: How did you get here Matamoros, Mexico?

Jenny: I came by bus, alone with my baby.

TP: Why didn’t you come with a migrant caravan?

Jenny: It’s dangerous, especially for children.

TP: Why did you come?

Jenny: I was married, and my husband abandoned us. He owed a lot of money to these people. One night some men came to my house. They told me, “You pay this week, or you die with your daughter.”

The little I earn goes to my daughter, she was born with asthma. I was struggling economically. What I earned was for the rent, the food, the medicines, the school.

I went with my older brothers and they told me that I had no choice but to leave. They helped me with a little money.

We left that same night at eight. My brother took me to the river. We slept in the bushes. I didn’t tell anyone else, just my brothers. They told me not to call in case they were tracking my telephone.

I have been here about three days. I sleep here with my baby. I ran out of money when I got here. We did not have food. We had not bathed. Some people came and gave us food. They gave us a place to sleep … until I cross the river.

TP: Do you know someone on the other side?

Jenny: My cousin lives in Atlanta. I contacted him through Facebook, but I do not know him personally. He told me he was going to help and here we go.

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