Immigrants’ story: from a land of violence to one of hope

Two years ago, Aracely Garcia Gonzales and her husband, Otto Alva Lopez, made a difficult decision.

With Otto already in the United States working to send money back home to Guatemala, they resolved that Aracely should join him and bring along their two youngest children, then 16 and 3.

It was a perilous journey north through Mexico, but the couple felt they had little choice. In Guatemala, they lived in grinding poverty and faced regular extortion demands from criminal gangs that prey on impoverished villagers and farmers. They also worried that their teenage son, Ottoniel, would be forced to join a gang.

At one point in their multiday journey, the packed bus Aracely and the children were riding in stopped by a lake in Mexico. It was the middle of the night, and they were supposed to catch a boat that would ferry them across the water.

Read more at East Bay Times…