Noir geographies in chronicles of central americans crossing Mexico: Los migrantes que no importan by Óscar Martínez

Alicia Z. Miklos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article discusses the use of noir genres to represent the journey of Central American migrants traversing Mexico in the chronicles in Los migrantes que no importan: en el camino con los centroamericanos indocumentados by Óscar Martínez, written after he traveled the migrant trails investigating violence against migrants for El Faro, the groundbreaking Salvadoran digital newspaper. He set out to understand the migrant journey and, particularly, the many dangers migrants face en route. He frames his role in the journey as that of detective, engaging in inquiries and recounting crimes to be solved. His crónicas negras utilize conventions from popular crime genres, like nota roja crime reporting and novela negra fictions, namely, a fearful affective charge associated with the distinct geographic spaces Martínez traverses, where migrants confront various forms of violence. The journalist-detective thus investigates, narrates, and exposes the crimes against these migrants, locating individual stories and testimonials within a larger sociopolitical and economic critique and mapping them out on Mexican territory. These texts combine three salient Latin American literary traditions: the chronicle, novela negra, and testimonio. By linking violence, place, and migrant testimony, Martínez's writing surpasses the sociopolitical superficiality of certain popular crime genres. He concocts a suspenseful narrative that denounces the State and criminal groups responsible for exploiting migrants. In this way, the noir chronicles in Los migrantes que no importan contribute to a deeper understanding of transnational migrations in Central American, Mexican, and US spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-48
Number of pages24
JournalRevista de Estudios Hispanicos
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Central America
  • Chronicle
  • Migration
  • Noir fiction
  • Violence


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