Stopped train left hundreds of migrants stranded in Mexican desert
Migrant people, mostly from Venezuela, remain stranded after the goods train they were travelling on to Ciudad Juarez stopped in the desert in the municipality of Ahumada, Chihuahua state, Mexico on September 29, 2023. In the last 11 months, at least 1.8 million people have reached the southern US border, many of them searching for safety and economic opportunities. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ / AFP)

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AFP)— Migrants were stranded in northern Mexico's harsh desert after the freight train they were riding on halted for 24 hours, though they were trundling toward the border again on Saturday.

Around 1,800 people, mostly Venezuelans and Central Americans, became stuck overnight in the northern state of Chihuahua when the freight train they had hitched a ride on stopped without explanation in the Ahumada municipality Friday.

"All night, the cold didn't let up, and during the day, (there was no relief) from the sun," Venezuelan Jose Martin told AFP.

These migrants are among many who ride on freight trains as a means of heading north, where they hope to cross into the United States after fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries.

"Not bus or car, nothing, nobody will take us, so we hopped on a train, because supposedly they (trains) don't stop," said Maria Fernanda Molina, also from Venezuela.

"But look what happened to us," she said.

In Mexico, where most railroads are more than 100 years old, freight trains often move slowly or stop altogether -- sometimes for the very purpose of discouraging migrants.

Just last week, the country's largest railway suspended 30 percent of its operations due to being overwhelmed by the flow of foreign stowaways.

In Ahumada, civil protection authorities and local residents brought food and water to the stranded passengers before the train began chugging along again Saturday, bound for the border town of Ciudad Juarez.

There, they will face another long delay as they wait their turn to make their cases to American authorities.

Another group of about a thousand migrants traveling by freight train were also stranded in the wilderness in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas over the weekend, and in the southern state of Chiapas, thousands more were waiting in shelters or on the streets for Mexican authorities to give them permission to begin their journey north.

The Mexican government has said it is overwhelmed by the number of migrants crossing into its territory, while American border authorities reported almost 233,000 crossings into the United States in August.

Mexican authorities said they detained more than 189,000 migrants in September.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?