TODD BENSMAN’s graphic dispatch from the Mexican ‘Beast’ trains ferrying thousands to America

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The sudden lurch forward and a long mournful moan of iron on iron offered the only shocking alert to dozens of Hondurans, Venezuelans, and Guatemalans along the nearly half-mile long freight train that the final leg of their journey to the Texas border had finally begun.

There’s no conductor here. So those caught by surprise down on the tracks, chit chatting and charging cell phones by portable battery, suddenly bolted into a panicky trot.

Two Nicaraguan men hurled their belongings high over the iron-ribbed sides of a moving rail car wagon, grabbed at ladders and climbed up while others already aboard sat on its upper rim smiling at the scene below.

Inside that particular car on the second to last day of 2022, among two dozen Texas-bound immigrants, were two willful young Venezuelan men named Eduardo and Anthony, who’d earlier explained that nothing – no law, rule, border or their own empty pockets – would keep them from making some money in America.

They’ve come from all over central and South America and found their way to a train depot outside of Monterrey, Mexico – the third largest city in the country – nearly 700 miles from El Paso, Texas.

By word of mouth and social media, they knew this train would first take them – for free, no Mexican visas or permits required – 200 miles west to Torreon city, where they’d switch to another train that would take them 500 more miles north to Juarez across from El Paso.

‘We’re going to do it illegally,’ explained 27-year-old Eduardo about their intentions to sneak into America at El Paso, where the pair heard from friends that all border defenses had crumbled. ‘We’re going to avoid the authorities. We’re going to run.’

And so they did, sharing with this author video of their train journey and safe arrival in Juarez, as President Biden was preparing his first border visit to El Paso.

Eduardo and Anthony were all smiles and thumbs up in their selfie videos that they sent digitally back down trail to thousands of other aspiring border crossers.

By Todd Bensman

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