Armando, Derek, United States discussed on Democracy Now! Audio
Amy, and welcome to all of our listeners and viewers across the country and around the world. Well, the West Texas town of van horn is in the news today. As a site of the scheduled private space flight launched by Blue Origin, the company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of the world's richest men. Passengers will include the 90 year old actor William Shatner. Best known for playing captain Kirk on Star Trek. Shatner and three others will be rocketed high above the unforgiving chihuahuan desert that straddles the U.S. Mexico border. For these giddy space tourists experiencing weightlessness. It may be the trip of a lifetime. But far below countless others make a far weightier trip, attempting the perilous trek from Mexico across the desert furnace on foot, seeking refuge in the United States. Many of these migrants exhausted and dehydrated perish in the desolate terrain. We begin today looking at the tragic story of the father of two boys. He crossed the Texas Mexico border with hopes of reuniting with his family in Utah. He was last for heard from an early May. As he tried to walk across the desert on foot. For more than a decade, Armando alejo Hernandez was one of more than 12 million undocumented residents in the United States. He was deported in 2016, leaving behind a family in Park City, Utah, including his two sons. Now, 13 and 17. They're both U.S. citizens by birth. After spending 5 formative years without his father, his elder son Derek asked his dad if he could visit them in the United States. Armando promised he would find a way. Little is known about Armando's trek across the border and through the desert. But he did make calls to Derek and leave some voice messages. In one call, Armando told Derek, he was out of water that his cell phone was almost dead that he didn't think he could go on. And another message, Armando describe the clothing that he was wearing. I'd arrive in about three hours. I'm wearing a black Jordan sweatshirt and blue pants. Armando also described the harsh terrain in the Texas desert. I don't think I can make it all the way up there. It's all the way up the peaks. All the way up the hill. These messages were the last time Armando's family heard his voice. Based on a photo, Armando sent his family. It appears he was in hudspeth county, southeast of El Paso, near eagle peak, where the U.S. government has a radar installation. Armando was never heard from again. In a moment, we'll be joined by his son Derek. But first I want to turn to Armando's brother, Marcos alejo. He's a restaurant worker in Park City, Utah. He and Armando first migrated to the United States together in 2000. Marcos last spoke to Armando in early May, just before he went missing in the desert. We are searching for Armando. He's been missing for 5 months now. He was coming to the United States to help his child who asks for support with school. He came in to work. He's a very honest and hardworking person. Ron Teresa in this place is to remove the other. We are asking for the support of border patrol. Then we ask the Mexican consulate for support, and they would say yes. But we never saw any action. I would call them every 8 days and they would tell me they were looking for him. But we didn't have any luck. Didn't want that. My brother is a very kind person, and it would mean the world to us if he returned. His entire family were also worried because it's been 5 months. We want to see him. We want to hug him, but we sadly can't. I don't know what's going on. My brother is a very calm person and he came here so excited to work and help out his two children. My family in Mexico is so worried. My mother is ill. We hope we have a miracle soon. I've been fighting, trying to find them to other agencies. They have a lot of legislative. There has called the Catholic churches in Texas. And I don't have any answers. Have called the morgue. My honor. All day tell me. You just have to wait. You just have to wait. And that's what we've done for the past 5 months. We've heard nothing. That's Marcos, speaking to democracy now about his brother Armando, who went missing in the Texas desert and early May. We're joined now by two guests for under Garcia is with us. He's founder and executive director of the El Paso Texas based border network for human rights. He's in Los Angeles now. And with us from Park City, Utah is Armando's 17 year old son Derek alejo barrios. Derek was the last person to speak to Armando before he went missing. Hi Derek, thank you so much for joining us. We heard those painful last clips of your dad, the WhatsApp messages that he left you. Can you talk about what you understood about his journey? What I understood was he took a longer route that was a longer out, but it was easier. Instead of running into the immigration right away, so he took that route instead. And the day before he called me and he said that everything seemed like it was going as planned, but very next days where he called me that he got into some trouble that he wasn't feeling so good that he was out of food. And then that's where the trouble started and he asked me to find any help even if it was border patrol and he would have to go back to jail for that. So he wasn't afraid to go back, but he just wanted help from someone to at least ask him and so he wouldn't be stranded out in the desert. Yeah, and Derek, at the time that he called you, was he traveling by himself or had he started out with a group of people at first? You talk about that at all? He started out with a group of people. And as they kept going, my dad wasn't feeling good. And he was slowing down. So he didn't want to slow down the rest of the group. So they wouldn't get endangered or just getting trouble by immigration. So he decided to do was just stay behind and let them go on because you couldn't keep on. So that's where he has started slowing down and just taking breaks and the group got ahead and then he lost the group. I wanted to turn to a person who was with him on that journey. And then we're going to bring Fernando Garcia into this conversation. Telemundo El Paso, spoke to one of 7 migrants who crossed with Armando and last saw him before he was left near Sierra Blanca, Texas. Alexis Corona told telemundo, the temperature on that day in May, was likely above 100°F..