Bound caravan of Central American migrants swells to 5,000

23 October, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Standoff overnight at Mexico’s southern border as migrant caravan of thousands tries to reach US

Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan blasted Democrats Monday for backing policies that encourage Central American migrants to undertake the unsafe journey to the US border.

A growing caravan of Honduran migrants streamed through southern Mexico on Sunday heading toward the United States, after making an end-run around Mexican agents who briefly blocked them at the Guatemalan border.

But a far bigger group forded the Suchiate River from Guatemala to the Mexican side individually and dozens at a time, and resumed the trek at first light, marching 10 abreast on the highway.

FILE - Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a rally as part of a tour to thank supporters for his victory in the July 1 election, in Acapulco, Oct. 3, 2018.

"There is a lot of disorder", said Rivera, who was hoping to get on a bus back to Honduras laid on by the Guatemalan government.

"Si se pudo!" they chanted in Spanish - "Yes, we did!"

As the migrants passed through villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, locals applauded, shouted encouragement and donated supplies.

She said she had waited at the border until mid-Saturday but became desperate at how long it was taking to be processed. "We're gonna keep on going and we're not gonna stop", Luis Puerto, 39, of Colon, Honduras, said in English.

Footage showed the thousands of migrants walking down roads, many defiantly chanting "Yes we can" in Spanish as they pushed forward. But perhaps 2,000 others entered Mexico illegally and vowed to cross that country, with the US their goal.

"So as of this moment, I thank Mexico", Trump said Friday at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A group of Central American migrants cross the Suchiate River aboard a raft, on the the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico on Saturday.


Throughout Saturday, around 900 migrants - exhausted of waiting on the bridge - resorted to crossing the Suchiate River below on makeshift rafts and police did not intervene as they clambered up the muddy riverbank on the Mexican side. The Mexican authorities accepted small groups for asylum processing and handed out 45-day visitor permits to others, reports the Associated Press. Both leaders had spoken by phone with Pena Nieto and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to discuss humanitarian aid and efforts to help people who want to return.

But on Friday morning, thousands tried to cross the border en masse, surging past Guatemalan border guards before being turned back by a contingent of unarmed Mexican riot police officers.

Some, including 40-year-old Adriana Consuelo, paid raftsmen 25 pesos ($1.30) to ferry them across the river on vessels constructed of giant rubber tires.

The Mexican authorities had attempted to stop them at a border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala.

According to Mexican media, as of Saturday afternoon, some 640 Honduran migrants have been registered as refugee seekers in the Nothern American country where women and children have priority, as more caravans are set to leave Honduras to the north, a Central American migration expert based in Honduras told teleSUR Sunday.

Since the convoy formed last weekend, Trump has threatened to halt aid to Honduras and Guatemala, and potentially close the US border with Mexico with the help of the military if the migrants' march is not stopped.

Hector Aguilar, a 49-year-old sales manager who worked as a taxi driver in Honduras' Yoro province to feed his four children, said he had to pay the two main gangs there protection money in order to work.

It should be obvious now that the caravan is under the direction of some very savvy people.

"Let's all walk together!" and "Yes, we can!" they said.

In Honduras, protests have been held in support of the migrants in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. "They want to continue on their way".

After an emergency meeting in Guatemala, presidents Hernandez of Honduras and Jimmy Morales of Guatemala said an estimated 5,400 migrants had entered Guatemala since the caravan was announced a week ago, and about 2,000 Hondurans have returned voluntarily.

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