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U.S. Customs Creates Corrido Hit “La Bestia”

In Mexico and Central America musical corridos are often about what’s going on in society. Take for example the controversial genre of narcocorridos about drug cartel culture. A topic that’s been the subject of many recent corridos is immigration, particularly the dangerous crossing into the United States. There is a hit song on the radio in Central America right now called La Bestia which addresses the current immigration crisis at the U.S. border. La Bestia is a series of freight trains that come up from Central America and through Mexico that many immigrants, (including thousands of children), use to get to the United States. It’s called the train of death because it is so dangerous. So, it’s no surprise that someone wrote a song about the train system but what is surprising is who is behind the song: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The U.S. government hired composer Carlo Nicolau and singer Eddie Ganz to create the song. The catchy tune incorporates marimbas and Caribbean style percussion to make a danceable song about a deadly reality. The thought is that perhaps a song was a good way to get out the message that this is not a safe way to travel to the United States. It’s a good idea that will probably not work. If these people are so desperate to escape their situation that they are willing to take La Bestia in the first place, I doubt that a song is going to discourage any of them. If anything it may glamorize it. Something immediate needs to be done about this border crisis but I’m pretty sure creating pop songs isn’t it.

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