Social Issues

Blockades and political crisis in Guatemala slow migrant flow in Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico, Oct 12 (EFE).- Road blockades in Guatemala and the country’s political crisis have temporarily slowed the arrival of thousands of migrants at Mexico’s southern border, several of them told EFE.

Gabino Antonio is a Honduran migrant who left his country to reach the United States and has faced numerous problems crossing Guatemala in recent weeks.

“There is no passage, not even on foot, because of the blockades and the chaos in Guatemala. I had to walk for almost a week: there was no way in or out. They are not even selling gasoline in Guatemala, the same for food. The stores are closed,” he told EFE.

The Viva Mexico camp, located 7 kilometers from Tapachula, has no migrant presence. At the same time, the temporary offices of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (Comar) also registered a notable reduction in the flow of people.

Guatemalans have been holding demonstrations and road blockades for 11 days in more than 100 points of the country.

Protester demand the resignation of the Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, and the leadership of the Attorney General’s Office, whom they accuse of trying to reverse the election results, which left the progressive Bernardo Arévalo de León as the new president for the 2024-2028 period.

Arévalo de León has repeatedly accused Porras of carrying out a “coup d’état” against him to prevent his investiture.

Similarly, Franklin Rodriguez, a Venezuelan migrant, narrated that his crossing through Guatemala was “fatal” because he had to walk with his pregnant wife and three children, with whom he crossed around 12 blockades.

“Only in the lot we were coming from, there were more than 5,000 people walking and others leaving, said Franklin, a professional welder who left his native Venezuela to seek a better life in the US.

Extortion by the authorities compounds this. Another Honduran migrant, Miguel Angel Cortejo, reported that many of those seeking to cross the border are being charged by police officers.

He noted that some migrants take a week or ten days to cross Guatemalan territory because they can only cross on foot.

“As it is right now, it is a bit complicated, from 8 days to a week, fifteen days or more. Because they cannot transport, they are not even selling gasoline, which affects us. It was complicated, but we got there on foot with much effort. Thank God we are fine in Mexico,” Cortejo said.

Mexico and Central America are facing an “unprecedented” migratory flow towards North America, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with up to 10,000 migrants arriving daily at the border with the United States, according to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

On Monday, López Obrador announced that he will host a summit on migration with leaders from 11 Latin American countries on October 22 in Chiapas, a state bordering Guatemala.

“We are going to hold on the 22nd of this month a meeting of presidents and foreign ministers of neighboring countries facing the migratory phenomenon we are going to meet. I am inviting them to meet in Palenque, Chiapas, on October 22”, said the president in his morning press conference.

The Mexican president informed of the presence of the presidents of Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Panama. EFE

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