Chiapas/International: Mexico and Guatemala Close Borders to Migrant Caravan


On October 1st, thousands of members of a migrant caravan that left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the day before, entered Guatemalan territory on their way to the United States.

From the beginning, it was reported that Honduran police officers tried to obstruct the passage of migrants in San Pedro Sula itself. Later, on the border with Guatemala, they ran into a police barrier set up by the authorities, due to the new sanitary measures that, among things, imply the obligation to have proof that shows that one does not suffer from the COVID-19 virus.

This same October 1st, the National Migration Institute (INM) in Mexico reported the risk of incarceration if they did not respect the sanitary measures imposed by COVID-19: “Any civil, military and private authority that uses the INM facilities, such as the areas of internment in the country, must comply with health protocols. The Federal Penal Code and the penal codes of Chiapas and Tabasco provide penalties of five to ten years in prison for those who put the health of another in danger of contagion”, the website of the Government of Mexico states.

Despite the fact that the border between Guatemala and Mexico was reopened on September 18th having been closed due to the pandemic, it was reported that the governments of Mexico and Guatemala declared, for the safety of the inhabitants in their respective countries, that they would not allow migration during the pandemic. On the Mexican side, the border crossing areas are monitored by immigration agents, the National Guard and the Secretariat of National Defense of Mexico (SEDENA) with the support of drones on the Mexican side.

The Collective for the Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in the Mexican Southeast, reported in its monitoring update, on October 5th, that “there was a strong presence of INM agents and a deployment of the National Guard, the Army and the Navy on the banks of the Suchiate River, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas.” It also reported that the Guatemalan Migration Institute had deported 2,159 Hondurans and that “the Guatemalan authorities prohibited carriers from carrying Hondurans, even paying for the passage.” They also denounced “the use of narratives, speeches, and intimidation and deterrence operations use messages that criminalize and cause xenophobia and discrimination.”

On October 4th, newscasts also reported that the INM commissioner and the Guatemalan ambassador in Mexico, accompanied by officials from the National and State Human Rights Commissions (CNDH and CEDH), as well as the Secretary of Health in Chiapas, visited various points of this border region.

More information in Spanish:

México sella frontera con Guatemala (Cuarto Poder, 5 de octubre)

“No es momento de migrar”, advierten gobiernos de México y Guatemala a caravana de migrantes (ChiapasParalelo, 4 de octubre)

Disuelven caravana migrante pero los operativos siguen en la frontera sur de México (El Heraldo de México, 4 de octubre)

Actualización de monitoreo (Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, 5 de octubre)

México y Guatemala declaran desarticulada la caravana migrante en Chiapas(El Proceso, 4 de octubre)

Caravana migrante: más de mil ingresan en Guatemala pese a barrera policial(Animal Político,1 de octubre)

More information from SIPAZ:

National/International: REDODEM Presents “Migrations in Mexico: Borders, Omissions and Transgressions” Report (October 4, 2020)

National: Over 40 Organizations Demand Protection from the State for Migrants in the Pandemic (July 4, 2020)

National/International: HRW Asks Mexico for “Immediate” Release of All Detained Immigrants Due to Coronavirus (April 19, 2020)
International/National: USA Closes Southern Border to Asylum Seekers Due to Coronavirus(March 25, 2020)
Chiapas/International: Caravan of 4,000 Reaches Southern Border – Stopped by National Guard(January 21, 2020)

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