There is a new song climbing up the music charts in Central America called “La Bestia,” which translates to “the beast.” The song’s lyrics hit on the dangers of the so-called “death train” that runs through Mexico to the United States southern border. As The Daily Beast reports, the song has become so popular, radio stations in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are being flooded with requests. But who is behind the hit may come as a surprise to many.
Commissioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, “La Bestia” is part of a million-dollar campaign aimed at thwarting the current influx of illegal immigrants from Central America crossing the U.S. border.
According to The Daily Beast, the CBP announced the “Dangers Awareness Campaign” last week in an effort to discourage families in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador from sending their children with smugglers and drug cartels through Mexico to the United States.
Singer Eddie Ganz lends his vocals to the “La Bestia” track, which includes lyrics like:
“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.”
You can listen to the song in its entirety HERE.
“When I first heard this, I thought it was done by, like, the Honduras government. And I thought, ‘Man, that’s really good,’” Glenn said. “Then I heard the United States did it, and I was torn because… at least they’re doing something. But then I realize, not really, because… all they’re saying is, ‘Come – just not on that train.’”
As it turns out, this is not the U.S. government’s first foray into a music-based propaganda campaign. The Daily Beast reports:
“La Bestia” is not the first song commissioned by CBP, but it is the only one written specifically for a Central American audience. In 2004, CBP launched it’s first messaging campaign in Mexico called “No Mas Cruces,” which intentionally can be translated as both “No More Crossings” or “No More Crosses,” as in crosses on graves. The objective of “No Mas Cruces,” was to spread awareness about the dangers of the Sonoran desert, where hundreds of migrants die every year. Part of that campaign included distributing a CD of five songs about the risks involved in crossing the border to radio stations throughout Mexico. The songs, called “migra corridos,” a play on the popular narcocorridos or gangster ballads after which they were modeled, became hugely popular with listeners. “La Bestia” is currently played by 21 radio stations throughout Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Ultimately, Glenn is beyond frustrated our own politicians continue to claim there is no border crisis (we’re looking at you, Harry Reid), while the CBP is spending millions on a propaganda campaign to solve the problem.
“This border stuff is driving me out of my ever loving mind… Nobody is talking about what’s really happening on the border,” Glenn concluded. “I can’t believe that I live in a country that now is banning members of Congress from seeing what’s really going on. Members of the press aren’t outraged that they’re not allowed to take pictures of things that are going on. We’re not seeing any of these things on television. Nobody is getting the truth at all.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP