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DIARIO DEL SUR (Mexico)

ARRIAGA – The impoverished Mexican state of Chiapas couldn't be less hospitable to the many Central American migrants who cross over from Guatemala in search of better opportunities up north.

In the border town of Arriaga, criminals prey on the new arrivals, as do coyotes (people smugglers) and even local authorities, who harass and exploit them, Diario del Sur reports. Most of the migrants sleep outdoors, on sidewalks or benches, since the only shelter – the Church-run "Home of Mercy" – is full beyond capacity.

And yet these Central Americans, who arrive in some cases after walking hundreds of miles, keep crossing over. Not only that, but their numbers appear to be rising significantly. "Yes, the flow of migrants has increased," says Heyman Vázquez Medina, a Catholic priest who runs the Home or Mercy. "There are twice as many now. Before, 30, sometimes 40 migrants would arrive each day. Now we receive 80 or more migrants… they say there's no work in their countries."

Many of the newcomers are children or adolescents. Vázquez suspects some are on the run from the maras, violent street gangs that operate in places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Read the full story in Spanish



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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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