Tapachula, Mexico, Aug 23 (EFE).- The caravan of about 500 migrants who departed earlier this week from Mexico’s southern border on Tuesday advanced about 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the town of Villa Comaltitlan amid complaints from members of the group of robberies and rape.
The caravan, including people from about 10 nations, left Tapachula on Monday and members say they have suffered assaults and have been robbed of their belongings, while one pregnant woman was raped by unknown attackers as she was walking along the roadway between Huehuetan and Huixtla.
Lenin Sanado, a Venezuelan migrant, said that he and his fellow caravan members have been the victims of a lack of security and of the alleged robbers and rapists simply because they avoided checking in at an immigration post.
“We’re peaceful people, … and we just want them to give us free passage to our destination. Here, you can see a melting pot of races who are suffering because of the bad weather,” Sanado told EFE.
Sanado said that Mexico is the country through which it’s been most difficult to cross.
Another Venezuelan migrant, who asked not to be identified, said that the caravan members are not asking for food, money or a place to sleep, but rather for temporary permission to transit the country en route to the US border.
“If the Mexican authorities ask us to pay $100, we do so and we leave, because we’re not looking to stay in their country, but they’re forcing us to do these things like the caravan, where women and children are being placed at risk in order to advance,” he said.
Fredy Calderon, another migrant walking with a group of people toward Mapastepec, said he was asking the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president, to show solidarity with the caravan, since the members of it who have left Venezuela are fleeing a dictatorship.
The caravan has largely broken up in Villa Comaltitlan, and its members are now moving forward in small groups, some of them riding in buses while others don’t have the money to pay for bus fare and are having to trek on foot along the roads in temperatures above 36 C (97 F).
The migrant caravan is being accompanied by National Guard personnel, an ambulance and National Immigration Institute (INM) agents.
Some of the migrants have already been deported from the United States and are hoping to be able to get to the US border where they intend to cross illegally.
Migrant caravans are adding to the record flows of illegal immigrants to the US, where Customs and Border Protection has intercepted more than 1.7 million people so far during Fiscal Year 2022, which began last October and runs until Sept. 30.
In addition, Mexico has received a record of more than 58,000 asylum requests in the first six months of this year, an annualized increase of almost 15 percent, according to the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (Comar).