Guatemala tries to block caravan of 9,000 Honduran migrants

Guatemalan soldiers blocked part of a caravan of 9,000 Honduran migrants not far from where they entered the country in an attempt to reach the US border

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan soldiers on Saturday blocked part of a caravan of 9,000 Honduran migrants at a point not far from their entry into the country in an attempt to reach the US border.

The soldiers, many of whom wore helmets and wielded shields and sticks, formed ranks on a highway in Chiquimula, near the border with Honduras, to block the procession of migrants.

“The government of Guatemala regrets this violation of national sovereignty and calls on the governments of Central America to take measures to avoid putting their inhabitants at risk amid the health emergency caused by the pandemic,” the statement continued. Giammattei.

Guatemala has set up nearly a dozen checkpoints on the highways and could start busing more migrants back to Honduras, as it has done before, arguing that they pose a risk to them- themselves and for others while traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Governments across the region have made it clear that they will not let the caravan pass.

On Friday evening, two groups of more than 3,000 Honduran migrants each entered Guatemala without registering, part of a larger migrant caravan that had left the Honduran town of San Pedro Sula before dawn. A third group entered Guatemala on Saturday.

Migrants left San Pedro Sula around 4 a.m. on Friday, young men and entire families carrying sleeping children. Some quickly caught rides while others walked along the highway escorted by police.

Mainor Garcia, a 19-year-old laborer from San Pedro Sula, wore a purple backpack as he walked along the highway early Friday. He said he was afraid of the trip, but was willing to take the risk. “(Hurricanes) Eta and Iota destroyed all of our homes,” he said.

“There is no other choice” than to leave, said Oscar Zaldivar, 25, driver of Cofradia. “You have to get out of here, this country because we are going to die here.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement on Friday that “ The combination of COVID-19, social exclusion, violence and climate-related disasters occurring at the same time on a scale rarely seen previously in Central America raises new humanitarian challenges. “

Migrants leave with little certainty as to the distance to be covered. Regional governments have recently appeared more united than ever in stopping their progress.

Francisco Garduño Yáñez, head of the National Institute of Immigration of Mexico, said in a statement on Friday that his country should “guarantee our national territory” and called for “orderly, safe and legal migration with respect for human rights. human rights and humanitarian policies ”.

On Wednesday, the Regional Migration Conference of 11 countries “expressed concern over the exposure of irregular migrants to situations of high risk to their health and life, mainly during the health emergency.”

Mexican officials on Thursday said they discussed migration with the choice of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and discussed a possible agenda for the development of northern Central America and southern Mexico “in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and recent hurricanes in the region.”


Escalon reported from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

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