Under surveillance, migrant caravan moves through southern Mexico

By Juan Manuel Blanco

Huehuetán, Mexico, Oct 24 (EFE).- A new caravan made up of some 6,000 migrants, mostly from Central American countries and Haiti, resumed its slow march through the southern Mexico state of Chiapas on Sunday under the strict surveillance of immigration officers and the National Guard.

On their second day of travel, still very close to the border with Guatemala, the caravan sought to cover about 15 kilometers, the distance they traveled on Saturday, and remained firm in their intention to reach Mexico City, and later the United States.

After spending the night and resting in the community of Álvaro Obregón, in the city of Tapachula, on Sunday at 8 am (13:00 GMT) the group headed for the highway towards the municipality of Huehuetán.

After exiting the state of Chiapas, which will take several days, they aim to reach the Mexican capital to regularize their situation before the National Institute of Migration (NIM).

Under the surveillance of official vehicles in the front and rear, the caravan walked the first kilometers of a journey of about 1,160 km to Mexico City.

“This march is for freedom. We go with God – he is the one who is guiding us, and we have the idea of reaching the United States,” Cuban Pablo Iván Cifrian told Efe, adding that he does not mind walking “ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, one hundred or one thousand kilometers.”

He said that to reach their goal they are “willing to break down barriers and everything that lies ahead.”

Honduran Kari Pineda said that she joined the caravan to escape the poverty, insecurity and corruption in her country and to search for better opportunities.

“We hope to go to the United States to work and give our children a better future,” she said.

In the US, Pineda wants to earn money to build a house for her children. The one she had was destroyed last year by hurricanes.

Meanwhile, Denis, a Cuban traveling with his wife, said that they both have passports but joined the caravan to reach Mexico City and begin their legal stay in the country.

Most of the travelers denounce a lack of attention from the Mexican authorities to comply with procedures in the country and some, after more than a year in Chiapas, hit the road in response to the containment policy that the government has deployed in Tapachula on the Guatemalan border.

The NGO Pueblo Sin Fronteras denounced “the conversion of Tapachula, Chiapas, into a prison city.”

In a statement, the organization said that “tens of thousands of migrants have been trapped in this city, which lacks the resources or the political will to meet their needs and guarantee their human rights.”

“The anti-immigrant prison walls of Tapachula must be torn down – it is just and it is necessary.”

The caravan seeks to advance at the same slow pace and wait for women and children to prevent them from being left behind or detained.

The group was launched after the Mexican authorities thwarted the advance of four migrant caravans that also left Tapachula in early September.

At that time, several United Nations agencies and NGOs criticized the use of force in the operations to disperse the caravans.

The region has experienced an unprecedented migration wave since the beginning of the year, with a record 147,000 undocumented immigrants detected in Mexico from January to August, triple that of 2020. EFE

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