Op Vocativ: I Woke Up and My Arm and Leg Were Missing: Victims of the Beast Speak Out

MEXICO CITY—Honduran José Luis Hernández has little to smile about. His mutilated body, which is missing an arm, a leg and three fingers on his remaining hand, offers him few promises of a brighter future. He is a victim of the “Beast,” a massive freight train that every week carries thousands of Central Americans seeking their way to the United States, where they plan to settle illegally.

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The Beast is both their greatest hope and their greatest enemy: It’s their best bet at escaping the poverty and crime of their home countries, but dozens of migrants are killed or maimed each week in accidents on the tracks, while bandits and corrupt law enforcement officials lurk along the way.

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