Immigration | United States

Migrant ‘Protection’ Protocols Survivor Stories #4: Enrique

His resilience, leadership, loyalty, and smarts will make him an asset to any nation, yet all Trump & Co could see was Brown

Sarah Towle
THE FIRST SOLUTION
Published in
13 min readMar 25, 2021

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Enrique, Melvin, and Fran Schindler: left, on the day they met in Matamoros, Mexico, Jan 2020; right, on the day of their reunion in Brownsville, TX, March 2021 (photos courtesy of Fran Schindler)

The brothers were ambushed on the Ides of March 2019. It happened as they walked toward their childhood home in Quetzaltenango.

Guatemala’s second-largest city, boasting a rich Mayan heritage and a dramatic natural backdrop, Xela (as it’s known to locals) is where I went to buy presents for my host family when I lived in Huehuetenango in 1990, and my jumping off point to Lake Atitlán.

In those days, it was wise to side-step Guatemala’s military goons, especially if you hailed from one of the country’s 22 indigenous communities. These days, everyone is at risk in this “red zone” of gang violence. Young men, especially, are targeted for recruitment as assassins and drug-runners. When Enrique and Melvin turned down the job offer, the outcome was sadly predictable, for the gangs rarely take “no” for an answer.

When the first shot rang out, Enrique took flight. Melvin took six bullets — to the knee, shoulder, thorax, and chest. The gang left him for dead. But he wasn’t. Not quite.

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Sarah Towle
THE FIRST SOLUTION

Award-winning London-based author sharing her journey from outrage to activism one tale of humanity and podcast episode at a time @THE FIRST SOLUTION on Medium