Photos: ‘I told him not to’ go, mother of drowned Salvadoran migrant laments

The mother of a Salvadoran man who drowned with his young daughter while trying to reach U.S. soil, becoming a global symbol of the perils of migration, said she had urged her son not to leave, fearing danger would meet him on the long journey north. A harrowing photograph of Oscar Alberto Martinez, 25, and his 24-month-old daughter Angie Valeria lying face down on the muddy banks of the Rio Grande river between the United States and Mexico ricocheted across social media this week.

UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 11:52 AM IST 8 Photos
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Speaking with Reuters from her home in the central municipality of San Martin, Rosa Ramirez, Oscar’s mother, cradled two of her granddaughter’s most treasured toys, a blue-eyed baby doll and a stuffed purple monkey. Her friends have urged her to store her son and granddaughter’s belongings, but she is not ready for that yet. (Jose Cabezas REUTERS)

Speaking with Reuters from her home in the central municipality of San Martin, Rosa Ramirez, Oscar’s mother, cradled two of her granddaughter’s most treasured toys, a blue-eyed baby doll and a stuffed purple monkey. Her friends have urged her to store her son and granddaughter’s belongings, but she is not ready for that yet. (Jose Cabezas REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 11:52 AM IST
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“Ever since he first told me that they wanted to go, I told him not to,” Ramirez said, recalling conversations with her son. “I had a feeling, it was such an ugly premonition. As a mother, I sensed that something could happen.” Despite his mother’s pleas, Oscar and his family left El Salvador in April, hoping to find work in the United States and eventually buy a house, Ramirez said. (Jose Cabezas / REUTERS)

“Ever since he first told me that they wanted to go, I told him not to,” Ramirez said, recalling conversations with her son. “I had a feeling, it was such an ugly premonition. As a mother, I sensed that something could happen.” Despite his mother’s pleas, Oscar and his family left El Salvador in April, hoping to find work in the United States and eventually buy a house, Ramirez said. (Jose Cabezas / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 11:52 AM IST
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The route to the United States through Mexico is fraught with peril for the tens of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans who have crossed the US border. As well as confronting the elements, travellers are exposed to physical threats from corrupt officials and cartels that control people smuggling routes. Several other migrant deaths have been in the public eye in recent weeks. (Loren Elliott / REUTERS)

The route to the United States through Mexico is fraught with peril for the tens of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans who have crossed the US border. As well as confronting the elements, travellers are exposed to physical threats from corrupt officials and cartels that control people smuggling routes. Several other migrant deaths have been in the public eye in recent weeks. (Loren Elliott / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 11:52 AM IST
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Exasperated by the wait to apply for asylum, Martinez and Angie Valeria attempted to swim to US soil on Sunday, an immigration official in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas said. Tania Vanessa Avalos, Oscar’s wife (sitting), survived, screaming “Where is my husband?” as rescue workers at the river bank carried away a stretcher covered with a white sheet, video images show. (Alejandro Hernandez / Expreso de Matamoros via REUTERS)

Exasperated by the wait to apply for asylum, Martinez and Angie Valeria attempted to swim to US soil on Sunday, an immigration official in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas said. Tania Vanessa Avalos, Oscar’s wife (sitting), survived, screaming “Where is my husband?” as rescue workers at the river bank carried away a stretcher covered with a white sheet, video images show. (Alejandro Hernandez / Expreso de Matamoros via REUTERS)

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The photograph of Oscar and Angie Valeria, nestled beside her father with her arm draped around his neck, drew comparisons to an iconic 2015 shot of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee, whose body washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean. “It’s astonishing to see this photo,” Ramirez said, reflecting on the image of her son and granddaughter. “He never let her go. You can see how he protected her.” (REUTERS)

The photograph of Oscar and Angie Valeria, nestled beside her father with her arm draped around his neck, drew comparisons to an iconic 2015 shot of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee, whose body washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean. “It’s astonishing to see this photo,” Ramirez said, reflecting on the image of her son and granddaughter. “He never let her go. You can see how he protected her.” (REUTERS)

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A Mexican marine looks on during a search operation for Oscar and Valeria. The UN refugee agency said the photo of Oscar and Angie Valeria from the US border represents “a failure to address the violence and desperation pushing people to take journeys of danger.” Pope Francis expressed great sorrow upon viewing the image, said the Vatican, whose newspaper published the photograph on its front page. (Alejandro Hernandez / Expreso de Matamoros via REUTERS)

A Mexican marine looks on during a search operation for Oscar and Valeria. The UN refugee agency said the photo of Oscar and Angie Valeria from the US border represents “a failure to address the violence and desperation pushing people to take journeys of danger.” Pope Francis expressed great sorrow upon viewing the image, said the Vatican, whose newspaper published the photograph on its front page. (Alejandro Hernandez / Expreso de Matamoros via REUTERS)

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Tania Avalos is seen at the morgue in Matamoros, Mexico. Salvadoran Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill called on the country’s citizens not to risk irregular migration to the United States. Mexico deployed thousands of troops and expanded a controversial asylum containment program to help halt the flow of migrants to the United States to stave off US President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on the country’s exports this month. (Carlos Jasso / REUTERS)

Tania Avalos is seen at the morgue in Matamoros, Mexico. Salvadoran Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill called on the country’s citizens not to risk irregular migration to the United States. Mexico deployed thousands of troops and expanded a controversial asylum containment program to help halt the flow of migrants to the United States to stave off US President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on the country’s exports this month. (Carlos Jasso / REUTERS)

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The body of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, coming out of the morgue in Matamoros. Migrants now face long waits to apply for asylum at the US-Mexican border as US officials enforce a policy of “metering,” which limits the number of people who can apply each day. The controls have contributed to growing numbers crossing the border illegally, instead of applying at ports of entry, further increasing dangers. (Carlos Jasso / REUTERS)

The body of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, coming out of the morgue in Matamoros. Migrants now face long waits to apply for asylum at the US-Mexican border as US officials enforce a policy of “metering,” which limits the number of people who can apply each day. The controls have contributed to growing numbers crossing the border illegally, instead of applying at ports of entry, further increasing dangers. (Carlos Jasso / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 11:52 AM IST
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