Tapachula, Mexico, Aug 31 (EFE).- The new caravan of some 600 migrants that formed up this week on Tuesday departed from the Mexican municipality of Huixtla, in the southern state of Chiapas, after being attacked by Mexico’s National Guard, which had stopped an earlier group from heading northwards.
The hundreds of men, women and children from Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, Honduras and other countries began their trek about 3 am from Huixtla despite being tired, sick and with blisters on their feet.
“They gave me two pieces of bread and a little coffee. That’s what we ate, and water twice. It’s not fair, we don’t want to be in that situation,” one of the men told EFE, preferring to keep his identity secret for fear of being deported.
The region is experiencing a record wave of migration, with more than 212,000 undocumented foreigners having been detained in July along the US-Mexico border while Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) is reporting almost 382,000 “irregular entries” into the country since 2019.
This second caravan is now moving after reports and images circulated earlier this week showing personnel from the National Guard, a national gendarmerie or military police type of force, beating and threatening the migrants making up another caravan also in Chiapas.
After the incident, the INM suspended two federal officers for their actions, but the migrants have said that the persecution is continuing.
“They’re treating us super badly. We’re not criminals and we want to ask the immigration director why they want to keep us locked up in Mexico, because we haven’t found this situation in the nine countries we’ve been through,” one of the migrants complained to EFE.
Doctors and nurses from the Chiapas Health Secretariat provided medical care to Haitian, Central American and other migrants who had walked more than 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Tapachula to Escuintla, Chiapas.
But despite this situation, the foreigners have said that they will not stop their trek northwards because in Tapachula the conditions no longer exist for them to remain waiting for the authorities to process their asylum requests, and so they have opted to begin moving en masse across Mexico toward the US border.
Some of the migrants have even asked the Mexican government to collect some kind of tax from them allowing them to move into northern Mexico.
One Haitian migrant who identified himself as Louis said that if the government wants to keep the migrants in Mexican territory it must either offer them opportunities to make a living or let them start moving.
“For example, if I wanted to stay in Mexico, I would do it for my son and my mother and myself, and I would do whatever work I could get, but there’s no way to get by and they’re not letting us move forward,” he said.
For now, this second caravan is sticking to the coastal highway between Acacoyagua and Mapastepec, some 36 km from where the National Guard dispersed the first caravan.
In Mapastepec, federal forces moved into the center of the city looking for migrants who had hidden themselves in homes there.
Just last Friday, Mexico’s Defense Secretariat admitted that one of its main objectives along the southern border is to “halt all migration.”