US Customs and Border Protection Airs 'La Bestia' Song to Central America Radio About Immigration Travel Dangers
To lessen the influx of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico, music about the dangers of the immigration journey hit the airwaves in Central America.
Launched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of the multi-million dollar "Dangers Awareness Campaign," the agency arranged for a Spanish song to air discouraging families, particularly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, from sending undocumented children to the U.S. through Mexico.
The "Dangers Awareness Campaign" is the CBP's "aggressive" outreach effort to "save and protect lives of migrant children." According to CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, the families in the Central American countries need to understand the "treacherous" journey to the U.S.
"Children, especially, are easy prey for coyotes and transnational criminal organizations and they can be subjected to robbery, violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor," said Kerlikowske in a statement about the campaign.
The CBP noted the campaign, all in Spanish, will include local media events in major U.S. cities heavily populated by Latinos from Central America and public service announcements in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on radio and television.
The Daily Beast revealed one media campaign is a song titled "La Bestia," or "The Beast." Touted to be a "major hit" in Central America, "La Bestia" includes the troubles people might encounter if they migrate to the U.S. from Mexico including kidnapping, murder, rape and robbery.
Lyrics of the song, translated in English, include: "Migrants from everywhere, entrenched along the rail ties. Far away from where they come, further away from where they go. They call her the Beast from the South, this wretched train of death. With the devil in the boiler, whistles, roars, twists and turns."
The Spanish-language song is reportedly sung by Eddie Ganz featuring a Caribbean beat. The song also features a female voiceover stating how the immigration process is not easy, how children are the future and encouraging families to protect them. The idea behind the song, however, has been credited to Rodolfo Hernandez, creative director of advertising agency Elevation.
According to VICE News, three regional-music stations in El Salvador and Honduras stated they have not heard of the song.
A campaign to reduce the number of immigrants crossing the U.S. border is not a new concept. A 2009 report also revealed music was distributed to radio stations in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico as part of a "No More Crosses on the Border" campaign by the CBP. One song, titled "The Biggest Enemy," recounts the story of two relatives who wander the desert to the U.S. The trip becomes exhausting and water supply depletes. The song concludes with one relative dead.
"A lot of people thought the Mexican government was behind it," said Jimmy Learned, president of the advertising agency that led the 2009 campaign, via The Guardian. "The last thing we wanted was to put 'paid by [the U.S.]' [on it]. What's most important is that if we've made people think twice, we've succeeded."
To listen to a sample of "La Bestia," click here.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!