October 18, 2018


One step at a time: desperate families join the migrant caravan: Thousands are walking to US border, away from hunger and violence of Central America (José Alejandro García, 18 Oct 2018, The Guardian)

More than 2,000 people fleeing poverty and violence have joined the convoy of people travelling on masse through Central America, walking along the roadside with strollers and wheelchairs or hitching rides on pickup trucks and buses.

Five days after they set off from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, they have already crossed much of neighbouring Guatemala. And despite growing fatigue, many said they were determined to reach the United States and ask for asylum. Few seemed aware of Donald Trump's demand that regional governments stop them - or of Mexico's warning that anyone who enters the country in an "irregular manner" faces detention and deportation.

On Wednesday, Mexico's government sent two planeloads of federal forces to the border city of Tapachula, some of the equipped with riot gear. The deployment suggested that Mexico would not allow the caravan to head north together as it did with a similar group in April, infuriating Trump.

Most of the migrants said they were trying to escape the biting poverty and breathtaking violence that has turned Central America into one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Luz Abigail, 34, was traveling with her one-year-old son. "It's so hard to hear my boy say: 'Mami, I'm hungry' - and know that I only have enough money to buy him a juice box," she says.

One of the few unaccompanied children with the group was Mario David, 12, who left home in Honduras because his family is so impoverished. "The little money we have gets stolen by the gangs," he said.

Mario said he hoped to reach the US and get an education and a job. What would he study? "Anything - as long as I can make a good buck," he laughed.

Posted by at October 18, 2018 4:00 AM