Fifteen days ago, Vicente Puente Valdez left his house in the community of Presa Allende, municipality of San Miguel de Allende where he lives with his wife Avelina and 5 children.
As he has been doing for the last 18 years, Puente Valdez left home to go to earn some “dólares” (US dollars), crossing the US – Mexico border illegally.
A bus took him to a place near the border and then he went onboard a cargo truck with 60 or 70 other illegal migrants, who were hoping to cross the Texas border, where Vicente was expected by his two brothers to work in a construction site.
He got into that trailer in which he traveled for several hours along with women and children. But the container had no air conditioning and the migrants did not carry any water or supplies.
On the night of July 23, the driver abandoned the truck in the parking lot of a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas. There a person heard someone shouting “Agua!“.
The store manager came out, listened to the people screaming, opened the container doors to give them some water.
Dozens of migrants were trapped in that truck without ventilation or drinking water, the temperature inside the container reached 47 degrees centigrade (122 F°), and eight migrants were found dead.
Vicente from San Miguel was one of the migrants who managed to survive and is now hospitalized in a clinic in the United States, along with the other undocumented migrants who went for the “American dream” (and found themselves inside a nightmare instead).
On Monday July 24, the number of casualties rose to 10, when two more migrants died at the hospital.
Susana Guerra Vallejo, director of the Guanajuato State Institute of Attention to Migrants (Instituto de Atención al Migrante Guanajuatense) confirmed that Vicente is one of the survivors of this tragedy.
His case is already in the Institute’s hands and they had confirmed that he was admitted to the San Antonio, Texas Military Medical Center. “The Consulate of Mexico has confirmed that Vicente’s health condition is reported as stable,” added Guerra Vallejo.
The truck driver, identified as James M. Bradley, 60, was detained on Sunday July 23, and he has already been processed and sent to a prison in San Antonio, charged with human trafficking. The company he worked for had no scheduled delivery for that date, so it is presumed Bradley was acting on his own.
The Guanajuato State Institute of Attention to Migrants staff already contacted Vicente’s wife, Avelina Damián, to offer her government support and direct communication with her husband.
The representative of the liaison office in Texas, Guadalupe Vázquez is in San Antonio waiting for authorization by the United States Department of Migration and the Mexican Consulate to bring Vicente back home.
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