U.S. Government Creates a Catchy Anti-Immigration Propaganda Song for Central Americans. It's a Hit!


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) has conjured up quite the catchy tune in an effort to dissuade any more immigrants from illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Daily Beast reports that the the CBP commissioned the creation of a song called "La Bestia," or "The Beast," which tells a tale of violence and death set to catchy upbeat music. The beast "refers to the notoriously dangerous freight train upon which thousands of migrants ride from Southern Mexico" to the U.S. border.

And it's a hit, too. People in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador call local radio stations to request the song. It's currently played by 21 radio stations.

Some of the lyrics translated from Spanish:

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

This is not the first time CBP has taken a melodic approach to propaganda. In 2004, the agency created a campaign "to spread awareness about the dangers of the Sonoran desert" though which many would-be migrants must pass. The campaign included distributing a CD of five songs to Mexican radio stations.

The agency recently announced plans to launch a new million-dollar campaign to discourage families from sending their children across the border.

NEXT: Overprotective Government, Overweight Kids?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So uh, not warning them about the dangers would be more pro-immigrant? The shifting culture war loyalties are more baffling than the alliances in a game of Diplomacy.

    1. But immigration is just faaaabulous, dahhhling!

    2. Sometimes news is just entertainment.

    3. Still saver than living in Honduras or Guatemala.

  2. Leave it to the border-control people to make fleeing to the U.S. seem cool. How long before we hear about Central American migrants singing this as their train chugs toward the U.S. border?

    And could the tune be any less menacing? How about –

    1. Nice.

      I had been thinking along the lines of this.

      1. Wow, HM, when did you change your handle?

  3. The threatening snake appears.
    Her scales are made out of iron,
    And her womb as well

    Buena mierda.

  4. Where is Leni Riefenstahl when she’s really needed?

  5. So did the PJ kid sing it? I mean, he’s a propaganda super-star!

  6. People in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador call local radio stations to request the song. It’s currently played by 21 radio stations.

    As soon as I saw headlines that this song supposedly rose up the charts, I immediately just figured our government was throwing money around and manipulating the situation. People in Honduras probably scratch their heads and wonder who the dumb sack of shits are that keep requesting this garbage to be played.

  7. Well it’s official, that song has to be in the next Tropico game.

  8. We should commission a song about how America’s stupid Drug War is ultimately responsible for a lot of the death and destruction in Central America, and how if America just legalized marijuana nationally, already, it would take the profit motive out of gangs, drug lords, police, and governments ruining their countries’ economies fighting over distribution routes–for a product that in a sane world wouldn’t enjoy a profit margin any higher than that of fucking iceberg lettuce.

    Yeah, I know Customs would never commission a song like that–I’m just sayin’.

    1. Nothing bad happened South of the border until the USA started messing up the place. The Spanish left the region with peaceful, diversity-tolerant, productive and advancing societies until we showed up. Then, because their leaders have no free will or moral agency, everything went to Hell.

      Like everyplace else on the face of the earth, all their problems are belong to us.

      1. A legit strawman. No, everything wasn’t peachy, but that doesn’t absolve America of guilt for the role it’s/we’ve played. Even before the drug war.

        Socialism, ironically enough, is most appealing to people who live under a corrupt elite supported by an imperial power looking only to extract wealth while claiming to support free trade. It tends to lead those poor people to misconceptions about what capitalism actually is. Silly brown people just don’t seem to understand the white man’s burden…

        Seriously, history/reality isn’t black and white. There is very rarely just one cause for anything. One argument doesn’t have to be made at the exclusion of another.

        1. What I object to is the kneejerk glib assertion of “war on drugs” when any problems in Latin America are mentioned. We have pulled much crap down there for a couple of centuries, but that doesn’t excuse South and Central American leadership for keeping things shitty.

          It’s hard to argue, though, against a couple of generations of people indoctrinated from kindergarten through the PhD that everything bad is our fault.

          1. The assertion that the War on Drugs is a big part of the impetus behind what’s driving people from Central America to our borders is neither knee-jerk nor glib.

            Last I heard, Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. El Salvador is almost as bad. Guatemala is almost as bad as El Salvador.

            And violence in the streets isn’t the only problem. The corruption that goes with the drug trade is horrific.

            If we were growing that stuff in the United States and shipping like we do beer or cigarettes, these wouldn’t even be issues for them.

            Glib and knee-jerk? Why pretend the impetus behind this violence and corruption isn’t what it is? Talk about sticking your head in the sand!

            60,000 people were killed in Mexico over drugs from 2006 – 2012.


            If marijuana were treated like beer, as many people would have died over marijuana distribution during that period as died over distributing so many bottles of Corona.

            I mean, if the United States “Land of the Free” having the highest incarceration rate in the world isn’t enough to make you pull your head out of the sand, and 60,000 dead south of our border isn’t enough? How bad does it have to get before you finally wake up and say, “You know, maybe the Drug War doesn’t have something to do with…some of this”?

            Did you know the 18th Street Gang started in Los Angeles?

            No, really!


            1. For the record, I think the war on drugs causes a great deal of misery and should be stopped. That said it is emphatically not the only cause of the crappy conditions in Latin America.

              Progressives say “imperialism”, libertarians say “war on drugs”; both forget to mention the corrupt social and economic structures bequeathed by the Spanish and subsequent behavior of kleptocratic elites.

              1. Who pays more in taxes? The average person in Central America or the average American?

                With the assumption of corruption comes less legitimacy–I wish my fellow Americans held our political institutions in less esteem, as well. One of the reasons we suffer scumbags on both the right and left in America is because my idiotic fellow Americans actually have horribly misguided faith in our political institutions.

                In that regard? We could learn a lot from Central America.

                Regardless, whatever corruption is underlying their “social structure”, that corruption is vastly exacerbated by America’s Drug War. Can anybody reasonably claim otherwise?

                Who’s willing to stand up can say that the existence of a $450 billion American black market in illicit drugs has no impact on the level of corruption in Central America?


                El Salvador’s GDP is $45 billion.

                Honduras: $36 billion.

                Nicaragua: $19 billion.


                I would have to forget everything I know about economics–starting with day one analysis of a supply curve–in order to think that America’s black market for drugs isn’t completely bowling over whatever other considerations are out there.

                Do you at least recognize that the violence and corruption have escalated in tandem with the escalation of the Drug War?

                1. Of course I recognize it, but I don’t blame the drug war for everything bad in the region.

                  Honest, despite decades of indoctrination to the contrary, there are problems in the world that the US government didn’t cause.

            2. The assertion that the War on Drugs is a big part of the impetus behind what’s driving people from Central America to our borders is neither knee-jerk nor glib.

              Oh, it is.

              What I (and I believe Homple) object to is the white-man’s-burden style racism of saying that the countries that are participating in the WOD have no responsibility whatsoever for doing so.

              1. Imagine, if you will, a country that refused to fight the WOD within its borders.

                Sure, America has a big black market that throws off stupid amounts of cash, some of which is being used to buy drugs from that country.

                That country simply says “Growing coca or pot isn’t against our laws. Neither is selling it, or even exporting it. If importing pot or cocaine is against the laws of another nation, they are free to enforce their laws within their jurisdiction.”

                So I go down to Libertopia to score a key of coke. Its legal there, so I go to a the “white” market. Why would there be a black market there? Why would there be the violence associated with a black market there?

                No state-sponsored WOD violence. No black market violence.

                Sure, the US might impose sanctions, but would those do more damage than the WOD/black market? I doubt it.

                1. I like Megalo’s libertarian proposal.

              2. Agreed, although my objection is more along the line of “white man’s guilt” than “white man’s burden”, but there’s a lot of the burden thing as well.

                1. If our stupid Drug War is the ultimate impetus for what’s happening, I’m not going to pretend otherwise just because some stupid leftists out there often try to make it seem like we’re responsible for things that have nothing to do with us.

                  A wolf is a wolf. I don’t care how many times the left has cried wolf before. I’m not going to pretend a wolf is a sheep just because the left has cried wolf in the past when there wasn’t any before.

    2. They’re smuggling kids for a money because they’re already losing money on legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

      1. Yeah, and there’s gonna be a lot more consolidation in that market, too.

        It took 40 years to put all this in place. As we legalize, it’s going to fall apart faster than that, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

        We’ll see the gangs in our inner cities try to expand into other industries, as well, before they shut down.

        Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stay the course.

  9. Maybe a song about how sending your children to North America will make them fat and overprotected will discourage the poor camposinos.

    1. Or even a song about getting killed or abused enroute.

  10. Color me impressed, actually.

  11. The agency recently announced plans to launch a new million-dollar campaign to discourage families from sending their children across the border.

    Nothing left to cut!!!11!!`

  12. These places won’t become Shangri-la when the United States legalizes pot nationwide. Black markets for pot still exist in Colorado.

    If it was legal for you to just grow your own stuff without license or oversight, then the cartels would be trouble. But at that point legal pot shops will surely protest.

    How much money is Central / South America spending on the “Drug war”? I bet in some of these places drug trade is more or less legal, since the authorities either don’t care, lack resources, or can be paid off.

    I can’t see a scenario in which America stops being a viable market for drug black markets following legalization. You can’t stop the cheaper, more exotic stuff from crossing the borders.

    1. Nobody is going to legalize cocaine, heroin, and meth. How many stories are there of local meth labs burning. Not many because it can be made in industrial quantities freely in Mexico and distributed using their supply lines for other drugs.

      Legalization is a band-aid of a festering wound.

      1. I agree with this.

      2. I’m not following, Markin. Full drug legalization will push the black markets to the very fringes, much like happened after Prohibition.

        Sure, black markets will continue for any drug that is still illegal, regardless of whether other drugs are legal.

        Legalizing pot won’t do away with the black market for meth. That’s not a reason to keep pot illegal, though. Its a reason to (re)legalize meth. Don’t forget, coke, heroin and meth were perfectly legal in this country into the 20th century.

        1. Is he arguing to keep pot legal? I assumed he wasn’t.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.