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'La Bestia': Central American radio hit is actually a US government PSA




Central American immigrants ride north on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 near Juchitan, Mexico.
Central American immigrants ride north on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 near Juchitan, Mexico.
John Moore/Getty Images

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Turn on the radio in Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador today and you might hear this song.

It's called "La Bestia" (or "The Beast") by singer Eddie Ganz.

If you speak Spanish, you might be able to tell that despite the upbeat sound, the lyrics are actually quite dark: 

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

One thing you wouldn't know is that the song is part of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) campaign to discourage people from attempting to cross into the United States illegally. 

Caitlin Dickson, a reporter at  The Daily Beast, first reported the story about "La Bestia" and joins Take Two to explain more about it.

The lyrics of the full version of the song, airing in Central America:

Spanish:

Migrantes de todas partes
Se atrincheran en los durmientes,
Muy lejos de donde vienen
Más lejos de adonde van.

Esperan el temblar de tierra
Y el chillido de los ruedas.
Aparece tras la montaña
La amenazadora serpiente.
De acero son sus escamas, 
también de acero su vientre.

La bestia del sur le llaman
Al maldito tren de la muerte.
Con el diablo en la caldera,
Pita, ruge y se retuerce.

Colgados en sus vagones
De la serpiente de acero
van migrantes como reses.
en camino al matadero,
por la ruta del infierno
entre humos de dolores.
Este trueno que estremece
No conoce de favores
Lleva tres seises tatuados
En sus ruedas y su frente

La bestia del sur le llaman
Al maldito tren de la muerte.
Con el diablo en la caldera,
Pita, ruge y se retuerce.

Feudo mara salvatrucha,
La quincena de coyotes.
Un mortero que machaca,
un machete que desgaja.

La bestia del sur le llaman
Al maldito tren de la muerte.
Con el diablo en la caldera,
Pita, ruge y se retuerce.

English:

Migrants from everywhere
Entrenched among the rail ties.
Far away from where they come,
Farther away from where they go.

Waiting for earth’s shaking
And the wheels’ screeching.
Behind the mountains
The menacing snake appears,
Her scales are made out of iron
Her womb of iron as well,

They call her The Beast from the South
This wretched train of death,
With the devil in the boiler
Whistles, roars, twists and turns.

Hanging on the railcars
Of this iron beast
Migrants go as cattle
To the slaughterhouse
Taking hell’s route
Within a cloud of pain.

This shuddering thunder
Does not know about favors
It wears three sixes tattooed
On her wheels and her head.

They call her The Beast from the South
This wretched train of death,
With the devil in the boiler
Whistles, roars, twists and turns.

Mara Salvatrucha feud,
Coyotes’ payday.
A crushing mortar,
A slicing machete.

They call her The Beast from the South
This wretched train of death,
With the devil in the boiler
Whistles, roars, twists and turns.