Border Agency Commissions Song to Warn Migrants of Dangers

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 04:40 PM

By Andrea Billups

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A propaganda song commissioned by the U.S. government is hitting radio stations across Central America as it warns against the dangers of illegal immigration to the United States, The Daily Beast reports.

"La Bestia," or "The Beast," is a song from the Customs and Border Protection's campaign to discourage illegal immigrants from making the dangerous crossing as families continue to send children by the thousands from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where the song is currently played on 21 radio stations.

"It's more important to us that the message be delivered," CBP communications director Laurel Smith told the website. "We want to make sure the audience is listening."

Those who do hear the song have no warning that it is different from any others that are given radio air play. The agency that produced the music has shipped the stations two versions of the song, one of which includes a brief public service announcement at the end but nothing that mentions the CBP.

Composer Carlo Nicolau created the tune for the Washington, D.C., agency Elevation, and says he thinks it has the potential to make a difference.

"I really think that putting music to this message makes it very powerful, because people listen to the radio in their towns and their villages," he said. "The songs don't accuse anyone of wrongdoing, there are no heroes or villains in these stories. They are just letting people know that their lives are in danger."

The song makes reference to a powerful gang that has had a hand in smuggling immigrants into the U.S, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). As immigrants hitch rides on trains, gang members are known to stalk the young riders.

Elevation creative director Rodolfo Hernandez wrote the song's lyrics, while Eddie Ganz, a wedding singer and voice-over artist, is the vocalist.

A cargo train carrying about 1,300 migrants to the U.S. derailed last week, reported, noting the fraught journey immigrants must make before crossing the border from Mexico.

The song is a part of the CBP's million-dollar "Dangers Awareness Campaign,  the Washington Times reports, a way to encourage people to think twice before making such a risky journey.

"Migrants from everywhere, entrenched along the rail ties/Far away from where they come, further away from where they go," the song's lyrics read. "They call her the Beast from the South, this wretched train of death/With the devil in the boiler, whistles, roars, twists and turns."

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