Presentation | Rubén Figueroa and Moysés Zúñiga

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A talk by human rights activist Rubén Figueroa and photojournalist Moysés Zúñiga Santiago, on the infamous northbound train known as La bestia and on their work in defense of the human rights of Central American migrants in Mexico.

Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003

This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings. Co-sponsored by the Yes Lab, the Center for Artistic Activism, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU, and CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies.

Rubén Figueroa is a young human rights defender from Mexico. For the past 8 years, he has dedicated himself to defending the rights of migrants in transit through Mexico. Part of his work has been to accompany migrants who are the victims of organized crime and of Mexican authorities, and to collaborate with the hostels where migrants are offered humanitarian assistance en route. Rubén is an activist and member of the Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano (the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement), an organization that works both in Mexico and Central America. The MMM organizes the Caravans of the Mothers of Missing Migrants, which brings to Mexico the mothers and other relatives of Central American migrants that have disappeared while in Mexico in order to call attention to the violence and other human rights violations that migrants face while in transit through the country. Rubén's passion for this work has propelled him to live among the migrants, traveling along their route with a backpack and a sleeping bag. He has traveled the infamous "Route of Death," on the northbound train known as "La Bestia" (The Beast), numerous times. Rubén is recognized by human rights activists and organizations as a Front Line Defender. During the past 2 years, he worked with "La 72," a migrant hostel on Mexico's southern border. His work there included investigation into the criminal gangs that kidnap, murder and extort migrants in transit, leading to numerous death threats against him by members of Mexican drug cartels. Rubén had to leave southern Mexico as a result of these threats and is now in exile in the United States because his life was in danger in Mexico.

A native of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Moysés Zuñiga Santiago began his study of science and technology at the University of Xalapa in Veracruz in 1998 where he worked in television, photography and radio. In 2003, he began work in Xalapa at Diario AZ as a photojournalist and was subsequently hired by Milenio de Veracruz as the photography editor.  Beginning in January of 2006 he served as the correspondent for Mexican photography agency Cuartoscuro during Subcomandante Marcos’ ‘Other Campaign’ and traveled the entirety of Mexico with Marcos. During this time, Zúñiga also worked with the Associated Press (AP), EFE (Spain) and Agence France Press (AFP). Since 2007, Zúñiga has worked with La Jornada in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and covers the Chiapas region for the Associated Press and EFE. In 2009 he received a Rory Peck Training Fund grant for freelance journalists in high-risk areas from the Rory Peck Trust.

Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

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