The ashes of 245 Mexican migrants killed in New York by COVID-19 arrived in Mexico on a flight by the Mexican air force, an “unprecedented” effort to repatriate compatriots killed abroad, the foreign ministry reported.
The carefully packaged ballot boxes were taken off the plane and placed on a table with white flowers and guarded by the military at midnight on Saturday.
Representatives of the Mexican government held a brief ceremony in which they highlighted that these men and women had died fulfilling their duty to support their families working in the United States.
“It is the way of Mexico to thank how much our migrants contribute from abroad and of course, in addition to giving their families consolation, of being able to say goodbye to them on their land,” said Roberto Velasco, director general of North America. .
On Saturday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, held a mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to bless the ashes and the Mexican consul in that city, Jorge Islas, helped organize the prayer service “to pray for those who they died during the pandemic and were unable to celebrate a funeral mass and burial. ”
Hundreds of Mexican families in New York have spent weeks with urns in their homes of relatives killed by COVID-19. The delay in issuing documents and bureaucratic processes for the return of ashes, in addition to the cancellation of flights during the pandemic, made it impossible for many to return the remains of their loved ones to their native country.
According to the Mexican government, more than 1,500 migrants from the country have died from the new coronavirus in the United States, half of them in New York.
Mauricio Martínez is one of them. He was 39 years old and was one of the nine children of Wilfrido Martínez who emigrated to the United States in the last two decades from San Jerónimo Xayacatlán, in the state of Puebla, the place of origin of more than a hundred of the returnees this weekend.
Wilfrido explained in late June to The Associated Press that he last saw his son 18 years ago. He was diabetic, he worked in a kitchen in New York and they think he got it there. He died in April in a city hospital.
“I would not want to see the ashes, I would like to see the body”, regretted his father who planned to bury him with his wife.
The ashes of the 245 migrants will be taken to their places of origin in the states of Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Morelos, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Puebla. In the latter region, a ceremony is planned to honor them.