Guest DJs

Riding 'The Beast': Alt.Latino Interviews Salvadoran Journalist Oscar Martinez

IXTEPEC, MEXICO — Thousands of Central American migrants ride trains known as La Bestia (the beast) during their long and perilous journeys north through Mexico to the U.S. border. i i

IXTEPEC, MEXICO — Thousands of Central American migrants ride trains known as La Bestia (the beast) during their long and perilous journeys north through Mexico to the U.S. border. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Moore/Getty Images
IXTEPEC, MEXICO — Thousands of Central American migrants ride trains known as La Bestia (the beast) during their long and perilous journeys north through Mexico to the U.S. border.

IXTEPEC, MEXICO — Thousands of Central American migrants ride trains known as La Bestia (the beast) during their long and perilous journeys north through Mexico to the U.S. border.

John Moore/Getty Images

This week on Alt.Latino we are doing something different. Instead of music, we're offering you a story, or rather the story of hundreds of thousands of people, as recorded by Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez.

Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez joins us this week to discuss his new book, The Beast.

Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez joins us this week to discuss his new book, The Beast. courtesy of the author hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the author

In his new book The Beast, Martinez narrates his eight journeys on top of the freight trains known as La Bestia, on which hundreds of thousands of migrants travel every year across Mexico and up to the U.S. border.

It's a treacherous journey plagued with gang violence, kidnapping, human trafficking, government corruption and the physical dangers inherent in riding for days atop a train. Nonetheless, as Central America is increasingly submerged in drug-related violence, a growing number of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans are making this infernal trek. Recent research shows a drastic decrease in immigration from Mexico, while immigration from Central America almost doubled between 2011 and 2012.

On Alt.Latino we pride ourselves in being more than just a show about good music: We are a show about Latin culture, society and issues, especially those that don't always get their due. And we felt this was one topic that deserved special attention.

Although this week's show is focused more on the stories than on the music, Martinez did curate a list of songs to go with The Beast, which you can find below.

Riding The Beast: Guest DJ With Salvadoran Journalist Oscar Martinez

Cover for Residente o Visitante

Calle 13

  • Album: Residente o Visitante
  • Song: Pal Norte

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Pal Norte
Album
Residente o Visitante
Artist
Calle 13
Label
Sony BMG Latin
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Cover for Los Corridos Prohibidos

Los Tigres del Norte

  • Album: Los Corridos Prohibidos
  • Song: Tres Veces Mojado

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Tres Veces Mojado
Album
Los Corridos Prohibidos
Artist
Los Tigres del Norte
Label
Fonovisa

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

L

L c hide caption

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Tres Coronas

  • Album: La Vida Loca Documentary
  • Song: Bang Bang
x

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Soslayo Cultural

  • Album: Antidepresivo
  • Song: Redencion
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Pescozada

  • Album: Soundtrack To Cinema Libertad
  • Song: Una Ilusion

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