Son of Oaxacan migrants becomes a pilot in the U.S.


Since he was a child, Alexis Velasco Martínez, born in Los Angeles, California, son of mountain migrants from Santa María Yalina and La Natividad, dreamed of being an aviator pilot.

“In each pilot, there was always a child with a dream,” said the now captain of an Embraer 175 aircraft of the American Airlines (AA) company.

With 10 years as a pilot, five of them as a professional of the American company, he has achieved 3,500 flight hours on national routes, as well as to Canada, Cuba, Mexico, and to different destinations in Central America.

For reasons of destination, the pilot has commanded an aircraft on three occasions from the United States to the Benito Juárez International Airport in Oaxaca.

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The last time he landed here was on August 28 from Dallas, Texas, with 80 passengers, after a two-and-a-half-hour flight.

Born on January 24, 1992, in the city of Los Angeles, Alexis fantasized as a child about ever flying an aircraft because of his fascination with flying through the sky.

“Since I was a child I like airplanes, already when I was in high school I decided that what I wanted was to fly, although I never thought it would happen,” he said.

However, as the son of Mexican immigrants, it was not easy at all to study the career of a commercial aviator pilot and become a captain of an aircraft in that US company of great international prestige.

“I always studied in public schools in downtown Los Angeles, but thanks to the support of my parents I was able to become a pilot. Although before I had to pass 11 training tests and then another five more to be able to enter AA, where initially I was the first officer and with a promotion after a few years, I became captain, “he said.

“If you can achieve all the dreams of a child”

His life story has begun to influence Santa María Yalina and the Mexican community in California, especially the one originally from the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca.

“They are surprised and proud. And this shows that everything is possible when you want it, despite being the son of two migrants. If someone like me could do it, anyone can do it too. If you can achieve all the dreams of a child, “he said.

In fact, during his childhood and youth, he traveled to Santa María Yalina on several occasions and actively participated in the activities of the migrant community in Los Angeles, as a member of the music band of those living there, because he was proud of his roots.

“On vacation, I went to Yalina a lot to visit the family, I learned a few words in Zapotec. And with the migrant community, I played the alto saxophone with the philharmonic band at parties and kermeses that were held, but now because of work I no longer have time, although I continue to practice the instrument, “he said.

Despite becoming captain of an Embraer 175, his goals still have no limits, as he aspires to man a Boeing 777 in AA with a capacity for 700 people and fly to destinations in Europe, Asia, and South America.

“It is the next challenge. Unfortunately with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything stopped for a while, but I hope that in five more years it will be flying to Europe if all goes well, “he confided.

In the meantime, he is also pursuing an undergraduate business degree in Los Angeles to prepare for his retirement from commercial aviation, although it is still a long way off.

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“I am 29 years old, 10 of them flying. In the United States, pilots retire at 65, I have 36 more years to fly, but I am studying to have another option when I no longer want to fly or have to retire. My father’s idea is to establish a restaurant in Los Angeles. Perhaps, I will also return to play in a band, “he explained.

Although he also hopes to create, perhaps in a moment, a foundation to help the children and young people of Santa María Yalina and the migrant community in Los Angeles.

“I would like to help the boys, talk to them, share my story of how I did it and how they can do it too.

But also ask the countrymen in the United States to follow and preserve the customs, music, culture, and food of Oaxaca, because they are very beautiful. For this reason, many tourists from around the world come to visit the state ”, he concluded.

Of Zapotec parents

“It is the third time that he arrived in Oaxaca as captain and the first with a relative as a passenger, my father, who feels very proud. Although life is different than in Los Angeles, when I come here I feel at home, the people are very friendly. In addition to the city, I have visited Hierve El Agua, Tlacolula de Matamoros, Juquila, and other places, I feel that I need to go to Huatulco. I speak Spanish well, but I express myself a little better in English, ”said Captain Velasco Martínez.

The aviator pilot captain Alexis Velasco Martínez, is the son of Mr. Camilo Velasco, originally from Santa María Yalina, and Mrs. Amalia Martínez Miguel, a native of La Natividad.


The Oaxaca Post