The Disasters of Border Crossing

By Rosalinda Fregoso

Piedad’s father was a border crosser who died the year she turned 15. She was watching television on the morning her uncles appeared with news of his death, and much later she would be tormented by the day of his return. “My father’s corpse arrived in a cardboard package tied with plastic bands, like a large addressed mail package.” He was one of those pilgrims Eduardo Galeano writes about, “shipwrecked by globalization,” who left because he couldn’t make a living in Mexico. After years of crisscrossing the U.S.-Mexico border the “dangerous way,” led by human smugglers in the hike across the perilous Sonora desert, he slipped and drowned in four feet of water, near Escondido, Calif.

Ten years after her father died in 1996, I traveled to the colonial city of Queretaro (in central Mexico) to see the Colectivo Malaleche’s latest project, “Muerte X Agua” (literally “Death by Water”), an installation on display at the Museo de la Ciudad, the city’s museum. Piedad is a member of Malaleche, a collective of women artists who design memorials to denounce the explosion of violence and human rights violations against women, migrants and other vulnerable groups in Mexico…

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