- Chronicle: Mexico confronts the Migrant Caravan with pepper gas before closing its border with Guatemala
- Migration: A new Migrant Caravan from Honduras runs into the "wall" of Mexico
A 17-year-old teenager lies fainted on the floor while her relatives try to recover her knowledge by pouring water. A few meters away, we hear the detonations of the National Guard of Mexico that releases gases to the 3,000 migrants who try to enter their territory in search of their American dream in the US.
It was no use that in the Migrant Caravan, which left the night of January 14 of the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula , there were hundreds of children and many babies.
The National Guard worked hard to achieve a real wall that prevented the so-called Caravan of Hope from continuing its journey. For one day, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, managed to get his wall to move to the southern border of Mexico, specifically, to Ciudad Hidalgo , located next to the Suchiate River that separates this country from Guatemala .
The 3,000 migrants initially intended to enter Mexico through the Rodolfo Robles border bridge between Tecún Umán (Guatemala) and Ciudad Hidalgo . To do this, they gathered from five in the morning on the bridge and sent a delegation to negotiate with the National Migration Institute .
They had no problem at the exit gate of Guatemala, but on the other side of the entrance gate to Mexico, a large contingent of Military Police and the National Guard was already waiting for them to act in case the Caravan intended to enter the force, as happened a few days ago when the agents sprayed them with pepper gas, thus aborting the assault.
Before crossing the bridge in the early morning, the migrants held a religious prayer, because "God is with us" and one of them asked: "What are we?", To which the rest answered in unison: "More than conquerors" .
Carrying a large flag of Honduras and a smaller one from Mexico, several migrants advanced to the bulk of the Caravan to stand in front of the gate from where a speaker repeated the same message over and over again: "He is entering irregularly into Mexico. He must carry Mexican visa or immigration document. Do not expose yourself to human traffickers. Your life is in danger. Do not be fooled. It is not a fact that the US will grant you asylum. "
While the 3,000 people were waiting for a signal to move forward the last 300 meters that separated them from the gate, several representatives of the Caravan began a negotiation with the authorities of the National Migration Institute to allow migrants to enter and have mass, In addition, free movement through Mexican territory until reaching the US border.
To do this, they delivered a document with their requests addressed to the president of Mexico, Manuel López Obrador and a Migration representative asked him three hours to analyze the requests. "We want to see from you that guarantee that if we pass in an orderly manner, they will let us continue," a migrant told the Migration delegate in Chiapas who spoke with the Caravan delegation.
Four hours after they entered the bridge and when the heat was already suffocating, Mexico asked for another hour, which caused the migrants to begin to lose their patience, although they finally waited with the hope that they would finally open the gate for them They could all come together.
However, they did not get the answer they longed for and the negotiation broke down when a representative from the National Migration Institute read them a statement inviting them to enter Mexico in a "regulated, safe and orderly" manner and, therefore, of one by one in groups of 20 or 40 people prioritizing unaccompanied children and pregnant women.
"You cannot give your request positively, but we invite migrants to go to the border in order to register and resolve their requests personally," the Migration delegate told them.
Pepper gas against stones
This generated the dissatisfaction of the caravan entourage in the fear that this method will serve to deport the migrants and immediately informed through a loudspeaker of the failure of the negotiations launching what they called "Plan B" , consisting of the crossing Massive of the Suchiate River that separates Guatemala and Mexico.
Immediately, the 3,000 people of the Caravan went to the river that, because it had little flow, could cross running to the riverbank, which already belongs to Mexico. However, unlike what happened with the first Migrant Caravan of 2018 that also crossed the same river, on this occasion Mexico had no intention of letting them in.
When the first groups of migrants climbed the riverbank to enter Ciudad Hidalgo, police charges began with the launch of tear gas by the National Guard, which caused small groups of migrants to start throwing stones and sticks at them, a situation of chaos with moments of tension in which mothers and fathers tried to shelter their children and some were dizzy from the strong heat.
After several races, only a small group of no more than 200 people managed to cross the police barrier, although many of them were subsequently intercepted and detained on the road leading to Tapachula . Meanwhile, the bulk of the Caravan could not advance due to the strong presence of the National Guard that surrounded the migrants and forced them to stay a few meters away from continuing their dream of moving towards the US.
As the hours went by the migrants saw the impossibility of continuing their journey, so, in fear of a massive detention during the early morning, the vast majority decided to return to Guatemala again crossing the Suchiate River on foot to be able to sleep in the streets and in the two shelters enabled for them in Tecún Umán. There they will wait for a new Migrant Caravan to arrive from Honduras and El Salvador in the next few hours with about 200 people to try again to enter Mexico.
"We don't come to steal"
One of the migrants who chose to return to Guatemala is Alba Luz , who regretted that the Mexican Police beat people: "We come to find a shelter" because in Honduras "one is killed and burned to the house." Accompanied by her eight-year-old daughter and her 15-year-old son, she insisted: "We don't come to steal or fight, we just want to be given way" to get to the US. In addition, he considered that the Mexican immigration authorities are "cheating" them: "They say that we go from 20 to 20, because it is to send us to our country to suffer again."
In similar terms, Brenda Elisabeth Villanueva , a migrant who left her two nine- and five-year-old children in Honduras in charge of her mother, expressed herself. "We are fleeing because in that country there is no employment or anything. We are starving and the dictator government of Juan Orlando Hernández does not help us at all," he said. Thus, he recalled that "everyone is coming from Honduras, because there is no adjustment for food, there is no health for our children, or medicines in hospitals."
"I came for a better future and here they gas one," said his sister Araceli Villanueva , who tearfully recalled that in Honduras he left a two-year-old boy and a 12-year-old daughter: "Our children need to eat." On the other hand, Marlen Esneidy Martínez travels with her two-year-old and five-month-old daughters, since in Honduras "gangs govern more and it is quite dangerous with a narco government that is ending the country in which the humble and poor people are treated like garbage in the street. "
Although the day began with the slogan "yes you can, yes you can" , the migrants of the new Caravan concluded the cabizbajos day after seeing how their dream of arriving in the US vanished after the pressure of Donald Trump to Mexico so that avoid these human exodus in search of a better life away from the endemic violence and misery that plague Honduras.
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