pcloudy.png
Saturday June 6th, 2020 10:33PM

Drowned father and daughter mourned at El Salvador cemetery

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A man and his young daughter who drowned trying to cross into Texas were laid to their final rest Monday, a week after a heartbreaking image of their bodies floating in the Rio Grande circled the globe.

About 200 relatives and friends followed a hearse bearing the bodies of Óscar Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria inside La Bermeja municipal cemetery in southern San Salvador. The ceremony was private, and journalists were not allowed access.

Many wore black and wept. They carried flowers and green palms, and some held signs bearing the logo of the Alianza soccer team favored by Óscar Martínez, who belonged to a group that supports the club.

"For those who cheer you on from heaven," one read.

"I knew them. They are good people, and I can't believe they died this way," said Berta Padilla, who arrived earlier along with about 30 others on a bus from Altavista, the working-class city the Martínezes called home before they left in early April, headed for the United States.

"We came from Altavista to be with Óscar's family," Padilla added. "We are with them in their pain."

Tania Vanessa Ávalos, their wife and mother, returned to El Salvador on Friday ahead of their remains.

A municipal police officer said their graves were in a section of the cemetery named after Saint Óscar Romero, the San Salvador archbishop who devoted himself to helping the poor and was assassinated in 1980. Romero, who was canonized last year, is buried in the crypt of the city's cathedral.

After the burial, relatives stayed behind at the gravesite to say a last goodbye, said family friend Reyna Moran.

"This is very painful, most of all because of the baby. ... They went in search of a better future, but everything came to an end in the river," Moran said.

A collection of floral arrangements adorned the grave, including one from El Salvador's president and first lady. Interior Minister Mario Durán was among those who attended.

The photographs of Martínez, 25, and Valeria, lying face-down along the riverbank, the tiny girl tucked inside his black shirt and her arm draped over his neck, prompted a global outpouring of emotion. They underscored the perils faced by migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach the United States.

"We are dismayed, shocked, everyone is in pain," said Altavista Mayor Victor Manuel Rivera. "This family has lost an angel of just under 2 years, and seeing that heartbreaking image, the photo, is shocking."

President Nayib Bukele said late Sunday that the drownings were "a great tragedy" and that there's blame to be shared among governments.

U.S. policies designed to deter Central Americans and others from coming have stalled thousands on the Mexico side of the border as they wait to request asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, Mexico is stepping up immigration enforcement under intense pressure from the Trump administration.

And Bukele, who took office a month ago, said his own country shares responsibility.

"We can speak blame to any other country, but what about our blame?" Bukele said in lengthy remarks, much of them delivered in English. "I mean, what country did they flee? Did they (flee) the United States? They fled El Salvador. They fled our country. It is our fault."

"We haven't been able to provide anything, not a decent job, not a decent school," he continued. "What if there's a little girl who had a decent school here, a decent health care system for her and her family, a decent house with water supply, a job for his parents, for his mother and his dad, a decent job, living in a zone where a gang member would not come to rape her and kill her family?"

Many of those trying to reach the U.S. border in recent months have said they were fleeing grinding poverty, a lack of opportunity and violence in the gang-dominated Northern Triangle region of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, or a combination of these factors.

Martínez's mother said last week that the family had hoped to live and work in the United States for a few years, saving enough money to return and build a home of their own.

"These are situations that make visible the problem of migration, something that happens daily," said Mario Vega, pastor of the Elim Protestant church, one of El Salvador's largest. "Yesterday it became known that another Salvadoran died in a detention center in Texas, and this is something that happens every day."

Vega criticized U.S. policies on migration and expressed hope that all countries would heed a U.N. call to respect migrants' human rights.

"May God will that this tragedy sensitize people," he said.

___

Associated Press writers Peter Orsi and Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Iran breaches uranium stockpile limit set by nuclear deal
Iran has broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers
2:23PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Drowned father and daughter mourned at El Salvador cemetery
The bodies of a man and his young daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande into Texas have been laid to rest in their native El Salvador
2:21PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Girl recalls poor care in Texas border station
A 12-year-old girl locked in a Texas border station with her little sister for 12 days tells her attorney on video obtained by The Associated Press that they were treated badly, slept on the floor, didn't have enough food and weren't allowed to bathe.
2:19PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Plane was sold months before it crashed in Texas, killing 10
Officials haven't released the identities of 10 people killed in a small plane crash at a suburban Dallas airport, but the aircraft's former owner says he sold it this year to a Texas-based company
1:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Police begin clearing Hong Kong legislature
Police in Hong Kong have used tear gas to clear a crowd of protesters gathered outside the city's legislature after several hundred broke into the building and spray-painted pro-democracy slogans on the walls of the main chamber
1:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
OPEC weighs extension of output cuts amid slackening demand
The oil producers' cartel, OPEC, is considering a six- to nine-month extension of its current deal to cut production amid weakening demand due to slowing global economic growth
1:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Closing arguments due in Navy SEAL court-martial
The court-martial of a Navy SEAL accused of committing murder and other crimes in Iraq has reached the closing arguments phase
11:03AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Police say they will clear Hong Kong legislature
Hong Kong police have announced that they plan to clear Hong Kong's legislative building after it was taken over by protesters
11:02AM ( 3 hours ago )
Democrat Pete Buttigieg says he raised $24M in 2nd quarter
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg says he raised nearly $25 million in the second quarter, roughly quadrupling what he received in the first three months of this year
10:53AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Iran breaches uranium stockpile limit set by nuclear deal
Iran has broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers
2:23PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Girl recalls poor care in Texas border station
A 12-year-old girl locked in a Texas border station with her little sister for 12 days tells her attorney on video obtained by The Associated Press that they were treated badly, slept on the floor, didn't have enough food and weren't allowed to bathe.
2:19PM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ivanisevic sits in Djokovic's box at Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic played a small part in Goran Ivanisevic's surprising Wimbledon victory in 2001, and he's hoping the retired Croat returns the favor this year
2:09PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: GM says Sharks, Pavelski could not agree on deal
The latest from NHL free agency
1:55PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Hong Kong police clear protesters from legislature building
Hong Kong police carrying riot shields and firing tear gas have moved in to clear hundreds of pro-democracy protesters who had taken over the legislature's main building
1:50PM ( 35 minutes ago )