Mexico has deployed military along its border with Guatemala upon news of the arrival of the caravan of Honduran migrants who are currently crossing Guatemala in an attempt to reach the United States, defying threats of arrest from the president Guatemalan.
“There will be hundreds of members of the immigration, National Guard and armed forces,” Francisco Garduño, director of the National Migration Institute (INM) said on Friday. “They are not going to pass,” he told reporters, calling on migrants to “respect immigration law”.
“It is not a crime to come to the country, but it must be done in full compliance with the law. Welcome everyone, but in order, ”he said.
Earlier in the morning, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had suggested that this caravan was “formed” with the aim of involving Mexico in the US presidential campaign.
“It’s very strange that this caravan sets off on the eve of the election in the United States (…) I don’t have all the elements, but I believe that there are clues (which show) that it was formed for this purpose, ”he said.
According to images broadcast by local television stations, immigration officials and the military patrol the banks of the Suchiate River, which separates Mexico and Guatemala and flows into the Pacific Ocean.
And the crossing point on the Rodolfo Robles border bridge, leading to Ciudad Hidalgo, is closed by a fence.
If around 300 candidates for the American dream, however, decided to turn back after the arrest and deportation order given by the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, the caravan of some 3,000 Honduran migrants continued on Friday through Guatemala. .
In small dispersed groups, some are heading for the capital Guatemala, then reaching the Suchiate River (south), others heading for the north of the country, AFP journalists noted.
“We will treat all people with respect, guide them and educate them on our country’s immigration law,” said Vicente Sánchez, commander of the Mexican military zone of Tapachula (south).
The announcement, Thursday evening, of the Guatemalan president “that all those who have entered the country illegally” are arrested in the territory of Guatemala and “returned to the border”, did not cool the majority of the candidates to embrace the American dream.
“Whatever happens, we will continue! », Launched provocative Carlos, who does not wish to give his last name. “I left Honduras because the situation is bad, there is no work, we were told that we were going to be helped, that we would not need to leave (…), but it’s the hunger that we endure, ”he said indignantly.
Angel Martinez, 19, had decided to return “because the trip is very hard”. “I’ve been walking for three days and in Guatemala the police are scoundrels,” he told AFP among a line of tired migrants who have returned to the Corinto border post (northeastern Honduras).
Hours earlier, along with thousands of other migrants, they had all partly forced the border crossing between the two countries.
The caravan set off on the night of Wednesday through Thursday from San Pedro Sula, Honduras’s second largest city, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa, with candidates for the trip wanting to flee poverty and violence in their country.
As in previous caravans, migrants cited unemployment, failing education and health services, and gang violence to explain their flight. Reasons to which are now added the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus.
Guatemala reopened its sea, land and air borders on September 18, which were closed for six months due to the pandemic.
The country had some 93,090 coronavirus cases and 3,267 deaths as of Friday, according to the health ministry.