On January 20th, a caravan of approximately 4,000 migrants arrived, mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras to the southern border of Mexico. The migrants had left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on January 15th.
Arriving at the Rodolfo Robles International Bridge, which connects Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas and Tecún Uman in Guatemala, at 4:30 a.m., they announced in a statement that “we are going to ask the Mexican authorities to give us free passage, we just want to arrive to the United States, we don’t want to stay here, let’s go calmly, without violence.”Upon submitting a formal request for free passage to the National Migration Institute (INM) and receiving a negative response a few hours later, they went to the Suchiate River to cross the border illegally. Agents of the National Guard (GN) were already waiting for them on the other side and the migrants were forced to return. However, some managed to break the fence of the elements of the GN with stones, sticks and pushes. In the chaos that ensued, several mothers lost their children and some people suffered nervous breakdowns. “We are desperate from the heat that is affecting us too much and more than anything else for the children,” said one of the migrants, adding that “I ask Lopez Obrador to listen to his conscience.”
Most of the migrants were already arrested at the border itself or shortly after crossing, but a group of approximately 400 people managed to advance about five kilometers to the Ignacio Zaragoza community, where they were held by another military siege. ”The caravan was mostly contained,” said a Federal Police officer. Due to the use of tear gas and force, several minors and adults were injured and intoxicated. Hostal La 72 in Tenosique, Tabasco, “noted numerous search operations by the INM and the army. We take care of people injured by attacks received by stones thrown by the military.” In addition, the Human Rights Observation and Monitoring Collective of Southeast Mexico documented that the authorities do not make clear the necessary immigration procedures. “They deceive us, they are deporting those who agreed to register,” said one of the migrant women.
In the end, many of the migrants from that caravan returned to the shelter in Tucan Uman, where they stayed before attempting to cross the border with Mexico. They again affirmed their determination to reach the United States: “We are not going to give up, we cannot return to Honduras because the Maras kill us.”
For more information in Spanish:
Frenan a migrantes que intentaron cruzar a México por río Suchiate (Milenio el 20 de enero de 2020)
“No nos vamos a rendir”, advierte Caravana Migrante (El Universal el 21 de enero de 2020)
Caravana migrante espera en frontera de Guatemala; intentarán ingreso masivo a México (Aristegui Noticias el 19 de enero de 2020)
Guardia Nacional impide el paso de caravana migrante en frontera con Guatemala (El Economista el 20 de enero de 2020)
Gobierno mexicano disuelve la caravana migrante, detuvo a más de 400 (Chiapas Paralelo el 21 de enero de 2020)
Tensión en la frontera sur por falta de claridad de las autoridades migratorias: ONGs (La Minuta el 20 de enero de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Civil Organizations Report on Observation Mission in Tapachula (November 24, 2019)
Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula (October 17, 2019)
(October 8, 2019)