Las Patronas (English: The Bosses in female) is a group of volunteer women of La Patrona community, from the town of Guadalupe in the municipality of Amatlán de los Reyes, Veracruz. Since 1995 the group has provided food and assistance to migrants on their way north through Veracruz. Their work towards the defense of the migrant rights has earned them several awards, such as the National Human Rights Award in 2013. The group was nominated for the Princess of Asturias Award in 2015, after a campaign from that collected more than 50,000 signatures in support.

Members of the group. Back: Pepe, Lupe, Rosa, Bernarda. Front: Toña, Karina, Julía, Doña Leo, Norma, María


Coordinator Norma Romero in Santiago de Compostela, España

The group began in La Patrona, Veracruz, on February 14, 1995. On that day, group founders say they purchased food from a store, and saw a train known as La Bestia ("The Beast") which was carrying migrants, who asked for food. The women gave the migrants food, and returned home, where they spoke about the experience. They then decided to continue the work.[1]

Support work migrants


The group prepares between fifteen and twenty kilograms of rice and beans per day.[2] They deliver about 300 lunches daily. When passing the Beast, they have approximately 15 minutes to throw the bags with food, as well as bottles of water, for migrants to catch them on the train.



Norma, Bernarda, Rosa, Nila, Tere, Toña, Karla, Karina, Doña Tere, Julia, Pepe, Virginia, Uriel and Anahí comprise Las Patronas.[3][better source needed]


Year Award Giver
2013 National Human Rights Award[4] National Human Rights Commission
2013 National Award for Voluntary Action and Solidarity Federal government of Mexico
2013 Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos “Don Sergio Méndez Arceo” Don Sergio Mendez Arceo Foundation

Solidarity with other organizations


Campaign support

Mural celebrating the work of the group, on the patio of the Comedor de Las Patronas

On November 26, 2011 in Xalapa, Veracruz a day of artistic and cultural solidarity called Va por Las Patronas (English: Go by The Bosses) was organized. During this action the population donated non-perishable food and clothing in good condition. The group that organized the event was supported by figures such as Elena Poniatowska, Damian Alcazar and Jesusa Rodriguez.[5] During the day six tons of food were collected. On June 2, 2012 a second day also in Xalapa, Veracruz organized this year by the jazz community where he brought together a load of approximately half ton of food and clothing donations from organized.

In September 2012 a campaign of support in Puebla also began with a series of photographic exhibitions, roundtable discussions and screenings of documentaries where besides food, medicines and money were collected, in order to ensure the work of the patrons by at least one year.

The Bosses and other groups


On March 8, 2016 participated in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in the lecture series "No one is illegal" organized by the Party Sain.



In the beginning, they faced negative criticism in their own community, prompting the departure of some people who supported the group in their daily work: "We were 20 at first, but misinformation, fear that maybe we did something wrong, made some will leave" Bernarda.[6]

Religious social activists linked to migrant advocacy movement have denounced hostilities against La Patrona by the local ecclesiastical institution:[7]

"they have disavowed them, and that I heard personally, because they have not unionized with the hierarchy of Córdoba, they do not work for the bishopric of Córdoba, and although they are Catholic faithful, They are not a docile parishioner, and that is why they are unknown to them, despite the fact that they are a prophetic and service symbol, that hurts the hierarchy of Córdoba"

"it must be said publicly: our Patroness sisters are being harassed by our Church, that Church to which we belong, and like them, there are countless more defenders of migrants victims of harassment."

— Fray Tomás González

Documentary records

Title Year Country Director Duration
De Nadie 2005 Mexico Tin Dirdamal 82 min.
La Patrona (short) 2009 Mexico Lizette Argüello 5 min.
El tren de las moscas (short) 2010 Spain Nieves Prieto and Fernando Lopez Castillo Tassie 14 min.
Llévate mis amores 2014 Mexico Arturo González Villaseñor 90 min.
Como el viento 2015 Mexico Santiago Dávial y Julián Álvarez 7 min.


  1. ^ "The Bosses' that feed migrants, Human Rights Award 2013". CNN. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  2. ^ "They, The Bosses". Country. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  3. ^ "laspatronas" (in Spanish). December 17, 2015. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "La activista Norma Romero obtiene el Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2013". Revista Proceso (in Spanish). March 14, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Arturo Gayosso, Luis (2011-11-25). "Va por Las Patronas, jornada de colecta de alimentos". El Universal Veracruz. Archived from the original on 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2023-06-29.
  6. ^ "La Patrona, an oasis in the way of migrants". Desinformémonos. September 1, 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Church harasses The Bosses and priests who defend migrants". Desinformémonos. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2015.