Michoacán Evacuee Says Homeland Just as Deadly as Ukraine

Mexican evacuees from Ukraine arrive in Mexico City on Friday, March 4. Photo: Google


Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

That’s how Michoacán native Omar Aviña said he sees his return to his home state after he and his fiancée, Ukrainian Iryna Volkova, were evacuated by the Mexican government from Romania on Friday, March 4, after fleeing the war in Kiev.

The couple were among the more than 80 Mexicans and their families that were flown to Mexico City on a Mexican Air Force plane to escape from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Aviña, 36, is originally from Jacona de Plancarte, a small Michoacán municipality bordering Zamora, where organized crime violence has left dozens of victims in recent months.

Aviña said that he and his 25-year-old girlfriend were shocked to learn about the mass murder on Monday, March 1, of 17 people in San José de Gracia, just two hours from Jacona.

“Hell! It leaves a lot to think about,” he said. “The violence (in Michoacán) is do strong that our situation is complicated.”

Aviña said that he and his future bride would probably move out of Michoacán, “for the very same reason that we left Ukraine.”

“We are not going to live in Mexico or Ukraine,” he said.

“We have to find a new place. We are looking at moving to the United States, Switzerland or even China, because we have plans to start a family.”

In the last week alone in Acona, the body of an unidentified man was found in an advanced state of decay covered with stones, a former soldier and his partner were shot in a taxi, and a young man was killed in cold blood while dining at a street stall.

The young couple left Kiev on the morning of Wednesday, March 2, on a bus provided by the Mexican Embassy in Ukraine and crossed the border into Romania the next day.

Aviña said that the first night of the war in Ukraine was spent in his girlfriend’s apartment, but that the windows were reverberating from the explosions, so they opted to go to the Metro shelters, where they spent six days.

“We feared for our lives,” he said. “You could hear low-flying planes and explosions all around, and everything was rumbling, the ground, the windows. We heard the alarms, the sirens, which I can’t get out of my mind.”

Now, he said, his home state is headed in the same direction.

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