After living in the US for 46 years and working most of them in the fields, Jesús Ramírez Gutiérrez, a 72-year-old man and resident of Half Moon Bay, died on July 21 in the midst of deep economic hardship, a situation he shared with his wife, who is now seeking help to obtain sufficient resources to repatriate her husband's body to Michoacán, Mexico.
This was announced by Emma Moctezuma, a community worker from the coastal city in San Mateo County, who through the Peninsula 360 Press radio program with Manuel Ortiz and Marcos Gutiérrez, which is broadcast on 1010 AM, recounted the enormous need this elderly woman has to be able to return to the land where they were born, the body of her husband.
«Jesús Ramírez died at the age of 72, a person who has been in this country since 1977 and who was retired. And, despite the fact that his wife lives, they barely had to survive, because they have to pay bills, so they are financially very bad, "said Emma.
The journey of the disease was no less hard, Emma pointed out that Jesús's wife was desperately looking for a thousand dollars to be able to transfer her dying husband to Mexico, because she knew that, if he died, repatriating his body would be much more expensive and they could not handle it.
Emma found out about the situation and went looking for them, she found them when they are preparing to go out and find someone else to lend them the money. At that moment, Emma asked them to calm down and allow them to find a way.
“They are from Michoacán, Mexico, and they had to transport it by land, so I started talking to them to convince them that we would get the resources. That family is at zero, and the reason they wanted to send it is because it would be cheaper," he said.
"They did not leave at that moment, because it would be negligent to take a person in agony in a small car that had no inspection, but in the despair of not having money, if he dies, how are we going to send him? His wife asked me."
«All ?situations? They touch my heart, but this one especially. We have to do something as a community," Emma asked.
Jesús worked in agriculture and flower shop for many years, and what the social security gives them is to survive. There is no additional money to open an account or have savings.
Given this, the son of Jesus, Alejandro Ramírez, opened a GoFoundMe account to obtain the necessary resources and repatriate his father's body, which until now has raised 3,625 dollars, out of 8,500 needed to repatriate the body.
Little or nothing from the Mexican government
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at the end of 2019: "all funeral expenses for migrants are borne by the Government of the Republic." Of that, little or nothing is true.
To be precise, on Friday, December 27, 2019, the Mexican president said in his "morning" conference that the repatriation of bodies "is a humanitarian issue. It is not a matter of money. It is not how much our "living heroes" contribute.
Almost four years of those words, and to this day they have not turned into concrete actions. Relatives of Mexicans who have died in the United States spend around 8 thousand dollars to help their deceased return home.
In the case of Jesus, the situation was no different. The aid that the consulate says it can give is 500 dollars. Given this, you have to go to the San Francisco consulate and fill out documents, even more than what the funeral home itself asks for, Emma said. "It makes me very sad that for only $500 you have to do more documentation than what you do at the funeral home."
“The distance from Half Moon Bay to San Francisco is 40 or 45 minutes and in people's pain for 500 dollars, as a community worker, I prefer to get it here in the community. The Half Moon Bay community is very noble, it is very good, so I know that I can get them," he stressed.
The consulate says that it supports with that minimum amount of money, but not before claiming the applicants who go to very expensive funeral homes. For Emma, who has worked with the funeral homes with which the consulate supports, although the cost of the packages is less than 6 thousand dollars, the boxes in which the bodies are sent are not adequate, since they must have specifications and be completely sealed.
“They have a package that, indeed, is for less than 6 thousand dollars, but with a box that is not suitable to send them, since it must be completely sealed and must have a legend that it is ready to be sent to any country. The boxes are as if they were cardboard boxes, and even without the financial means, people say, I don't want to send my loved one in that box, we have to find another one and the cost increases, so the price goes up between two thousand and three thousand dollars, "he said.
Emma says that when she listened to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, she thinks that work is not being done as it should be, and she asks if it only helps her to give permission to Foreign Relations so that they can send them. "I think they should fix something and be able to change it."
All those interested in contacting Emma Moctezuma to find out how they can help can call her at 650 445 9756.
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