Los Angeles Times

African migrants stuck in southern Mexico, their American dream on hold

TAPACHULA, Mexico - "Africa weeps. Free us."

That's the message handwritten in French and Spanish on a protest banner at a tent city here in the southernmost tip of Mexico.

The tents belong to some 250 African nationals who crossed jungles, forded rivers, sneaked across borders and dodged militias and thieves to get here in hopes of eventually reaching the United States. But now they are stuck, because Mexico has denied them the travel visas necessary to proceed north.

Mexican National Guard troops and riot police keep close watch over the multi-hued camp, where mosquitoes swarm in puddles. Rain and a fetid stream provide cooking water and many complain of rashes, stomach cramps and other ailments.

"We are fed up," said Diop Abou, 33, a native of the northwest African nation of Mauritania. "None of us want

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