Riding 'The Beast' With Oscar Martinez : Alt.Latino In his new book The Beast, Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez narrates his eight trips on top of the freight trains known as La Bestia — a journey embarked upon by hundreds of thousands of migrants every year, across Mexico and up to the U.S. border.

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

Riding 'The Beast' With Oscar Martinez

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/234689752/240495364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

toggle 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.

John Moore/Getty Images

Riding 'The Beast' With Oscar Martinez

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/234689752/240547344" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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. courtesy of the author hide caption

toggle 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

  • Calle 13

    No Alternative Text

    "Pal Norte"

    From 'Residente o Visitante'

    YouTube
  • Los Tigres del Norte

    No Alternative Text

    "Tres Veces Mojado"

    From 'Los Corridos Prohibidos'

    YouTube
  • Tres Coronas

    No Alternative Text

    "Bang Bang"

    From 'La Vida Loca Documentary'

    YouTube
  • Soslayo Cultural

    No Alternative Text

    "Redencion"

    From 'Antidepresivo'

    YouTube
  • Pescozada

    No Alternative Text

    "Una Ilusion"

    From 'Soundtrack To Cinema Libertad'

    YouTube