The caravan of 2,000 migrants that left Tapachula, Chiapas on Saturday arrived at its first major stop on Monday, just over 40 kilometers to the north.
After entering the city of Huixtla in heavy rains, the majority of travelers remained cramped in a public sports field, but the city’s many cheap hotels were also filled. A Catholic church hosted women traveling with children, but refused fathers.
The root cause of the caravan cannot be explained by poverty alone: ââmany migrants can afford cheap hotels and buy food from local restaurants. It is not known, however, how many convoys travel with no money at all.
Fears of a backlash from the authorities are a constant. Tensions were high on Sunday evening, spent in HuehuetÃ¡n, over fears of an ambush by authorities while the migrants were resting. This did not materialize, as did organizers’ concerns about a blockade on the road to Huixtla, where caravans have been held in the past.
Their concerns are reasonable: the vehicles of the National Guard and the National Institute of Immigration (INM) follow the convoy and wait as it passes, but have so far regularly dispersed and regrouped further along the route. highway. An official from the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has previously accompanied larger caravans, said the approach of security officials had not been orthodox on the occasion.
The group left HuehuetÃ¡n around 6 a.m. Monday shortly before dawn and the 18 kilometers to Huixtla would be the farthest the caravan had traveled in a day. Among the crowd are many pregnant women, young children, the elderly and two people in wheelchairs.
Organizer Luis GarcÃa VillagrÃ¡n led a prayer outside the city and many raised their hands in the air in religious reverence. Cries of âFreedom! Â»Accompanied their departure from HuehuetÃ¡n.
For the first two days, women and children stayed behind the trailer out of fear for their safety in the event of a confrontation with security guards. However, this created issues for the cohesion of the convoy, as those slower walkers fell behind while the stronger walkers in the front of the trailer sped up. On Monday, organizers changed tack, and women and children were encouraged to lead the caravan and set the pace, which also made them more visible and available to the media.
A mother, who has been featured on national television news channels, said her group is caring for nine children.
GuzmÃ¡n, a Nicaraguan migrant in his twenties, said he left his country due to the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega. “We have a president worse than Hitler … You can see in the news, you can see how many [political] there were murders, âhe said.
A woman collapsed from exhaustion after about two hours of walking in hot conditions. She was treated by representatives of the French NGO MÃ©decins du Monde, despite calls for help from migrants launched by the agents of an ambulance from the Ministry of Health.
The caravan reached Segundo CantÃ³n in the municipality of Tuzantan around 11:30 am, still about five kilometers from Huixtla. Migrants dispersed to local hamlets to look for food and found a local tortillery and convenience stores.
The HernÃ¡ndez MarroquÃn family, among others, opened their doors to migrants, providing water, a bathroom, and places to sit, and helped them charge their phones and prepared eggs and beans they bought. by migrants in convenience stores.
They refused to accept a single peso for their help. âYou are happy that you can help others given the situation they find themselves in,â said Lorena Bravo, family member.
At around 2:00 p.m., the migrants advanced towards Huixtla, arriving during a thunderstorm around 4:00 p.m.
The group planned to rest on Tuesday before aiming to reach Escuintla on Wednesday, nearly 20 miles north, TV Azteca reported.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday that migrants are being lied to. “We will act with caution, with respect for the law and human rights, but we want to say that they are deceived because it is not true that they are going to let them pass to the United States”, did he declare.
“What is the tragedy? The trickery. We tell them ‘We will go by caravan, we will go to the United States and they will let us pass,’ âhe added.
Chief organizer Irineo MÃºjica previously said the caravan was destined for Mexico City, where the INM will come under pressure to regularize the migrant’s legal status. The organizers do not charge any of the migrants money to travel with the caravan.
Many members of the contingent felt they had no choice but to break the law by leaving Tapachula because of what they saw as negligence on the part of the government refugee organization Comar. and the INM.
Migrants arriving at the US border cross illegally in many cases, knowing that they would be refused entry on the basis of their nationality. This is necessary even for asylum seekers, who are generally accepted by Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan nationals due to US opposition to the governments of those countries. But the logic is questionable: Honduras can be much more dangerous than these countries due to gang rule and extortion from small business owners.
However, even migrants who entered the United States in the hope of applying for asylum have generally been prevented from doing so in recent years. The so-called Title 42 authority first invoked by former President Donald Trump, and pursued by President Biden, has been used to deport migrants from the country using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext. Yet the application of Title 42 has seen migrants detained in cramped conditions in ideal locations for contagion.
Mexico Daily News