Honduran migrants separate in Guatemala, remain steadfast towards US
By Esteban Biba
Poptun, Guatemala, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- More than 1,900 Honduran migrants Friday went through various parts of Guatemala and remained firm in their struggle to seek the American dream, despite the obstacles of the route and the inspections of local security forces.
The migrant caravan that entered Guatemala illegally on Thursday morning, with more than 3,000 people, dispersed Friday into groups and although around 100 Hondurans began to return, most of them continued their journey.
The Guatemalan Migration Institute told journalists that a group of approximately 700 people is heading to the department of Petén, in the north of the country, “using heavy transport or minibuses.”
Another 800 Hondurans, divided into small groups of 25 people, are going through the department of Izabal, on the Guatemalan coast to the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the same source, 400 Hondurans were traveling to Guatemala City, both on foot and on buses. The route of other smaller groups is unknown at the moment.
The goal of all Hondurans is to overcome the Mexican border to later reach the US in search of better opportunities.
The Guatemalan authorities have treated at least 20 unaccompanied minors who were in the group.
In contrast, more than 100 Hondurans of the caravan voluntarily left Guatemala this Friday and returned to their country of origin, according to various sources.
“I was excited to go to the United States. We thought we were all going to reach the border with Mexico together. But everyone here in Guatemala was distributed. And it’s not worth it because I’m going without money,” Ricardo Pineda, one of the migrants who began to return to his country told EFE.
“I came because we wanted to see if we could do it with the caravan. I had that hope,” added Pineda, 39, from Puerto Cortés.
The migrants who voluntarily returned to Honduras were transported in some cases by “trucks from the Guatemalan Army and police units,” the Guatemalan government said.
Many of the Hondurans who decided to suspend their trip were in the department of Izabal, some 250 kilometers northeast of the country’s capital.
In Izabal, soldiers with megaphones tried to convince Hondurans to return to their country, in an “awareness campaign,” as cataloged by a soldier who preferred not to identify himself.
The Guatemalan security forces have conducted tours and checkpoints in various parts of the north of the country to allegedly control migrants, although at the moment data on deportations has not been released.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, ordered on Thursday night the state of prevention in six of the 22 departments of the territory due to the illegal entry of the migrant caravan.
The state of prevention, according to Guatemalan law, limits outdoor gatherings and allows the dissolution of unauthorized demonstrations or groups.
The provision, according to the president, is due to the illegal entry this Thursday of Honduran migrants and their “disrespect” for the health protocols implemented by the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to Guatemalan regulations, all foreigners entering the country must show proof that they are negative for the disease.
“Not only did they violate entry into the national territory, but they also caused disorder in the immigration station,” emphasized the 64-year-old retired doctor and surgeon.