Caravan From South America Nears US
by Valeria Leon
The caravan that has traveled from San Pedro Sula, Honduras has reached their first destination in a long journey to the US at the Guatemala-Mexico border, and are pushing farther north. This is the second caravan from South America with plans to cross into the US to seek asylum.
The caravan reached the Guatemala-Mexico border on October 19 with over 7,200 people, men, women and children, and were met with tear gas and resistance from Mexican authorities. After a two hour standoff with authorities, the caravan was granted access over a roadblock to access supplies that had been donated by the people of the city.
The caravan was then split into groups, each person submitted to a different fate. Women and children were given priority, crossing the border into military bases, border patrol stations, and eventually into Guatemala. Some decided to turn back in buses sent by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who sent these buses to the Mexico-Guatemala border to bring back those who may had changed their minds about heading to the US, or who were too exhausted to carry on. Others were, and still are, waiting to be processed into Mexico to continue their journey north.
This caravan began traveling from San Pedro Sula, Honduras with the plan to cross into Mexico, and travel all the way to the US where they plan to seek asylum. Most of the marchers were fleeing their homeland because there are no jobs, especially for people over 30, and the jobs that are available don't provide enough income to support the living costs for one person, let alone a family. "There is no work back home," 20-year-old Honduran migrant William says, "No future."
Their lives are under constant threat from gangs that are deep rooted in the region, gangs that exert power over those in the area by demanding money and threatening the lives of families. Many of those in the caravan also expressed fears of government repression after a controversial presidential election last year.
News of the caravan came through when a former lawmaker published a poster containing news of the caravan on Facebook. From there news of the caravan spread though all platforms of social media and through local and national news.
The idea of traveling in a large group is why this caravan has grown so large in popularity and in size. Traveling in a group rather than alone provides a safer journey, especially for the young children and women in the group. Taking this journey in caravan ensures a safer journey, even if it is slower.
“Going alone is risky. You're risking an accident, getting jumped by robbers, and even your life,” Amada Roero told BuzzFeed News. “All of that, and then you don't get to the United States. The caravan is slower but you know you're going to get there safely.”
While this caravan may have grown in popularity with the public, the same can't be said about United States President Donald Trump. President Trump has shown his distaste about the caravan since it was released that they planned to make it all the way to the US, threatening to cut off the funding that the US provides to Southern American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, all the locations where people are trying to leave. "Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.," Trump tweeted. "We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.
President Trump has also criticized Mexico for not doing a better job of detaining those in the caravan. "Sadly, it looks like Mexico's Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States," President Trump continues. "Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergency. Must change laws!"
Despite the threats from President Trump those traveling in the caravan have shown no sign of stopping. "We have sunburn. We have blisters. But we got here. Our strength is greater than Trump's threats," migrant Britany Hernández told AFP news agency.
Regardless of what the world has been saying about the caravan, those taking the long and risky journey from South America have made one thing clear, they plan to get to the United States, and nothing is going to stop them.