Mexicos Lack of help frustrates new caravan migrants


The Honduran Madison Mendoza had her face burned and her feet hurt after walking for hours under the hot sun of Chiapas. He was traveling with his two-year-old son and could not hold back the tears even though at last both were able to bathe for the first time, in a stream of water that fell halfway in Escuintla, a town 150 kilometers (93.2 miles) to the north of the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

“I thought that on the way they were going to help me with the baby, my aunt had told me that people helped women,” said Mendoza, 22, who fled two weeks ago from Tegucigalpa with virtually no money in the face of threats from his father. of his son _ an active policeman.

However, the help did not arrive.

The massive solidarity that previous caravans of Central American migrants received when crossing Mexico to the north is now supported by droppers, either due to the fatigue of the residents or, as some experts point out, because a speech has been disseminated that stokes the prejudices against them. .

Gone was the help of churches, individuals and local organizations that offered food or free transport on trailers, trucks or small vehicles to lighten the journey that now only take place very sporadically. And all that has increased the frustration of many of those fleeing poverty or violence in Central America.

“What worries me the most is that the baby asks me for food and there have been days I could not give it,” lamented Mendoza, who on Saturday arrived in Mapastepec, a town a little further north of Escuintla but still in the state of Chiapas.

In the place, thousands of migrants remain stranded waiting for the Mexican authorities to grant them a permit or temporary visa to work in Mexico or, if they do not obtain it, continue their trip to the border with the United States.

The priest Heyman Vázquez, pastor in Huixtla _municipality of the same route_, did not hesitate to indicate the reasons why solidarity has diminished.

“It is due to any campaign of discrimination and xenophobia that is being created through social networks and the media, which blame migrants for the insecurity in Chiapas,” he explained.

This week there was an unsuccessful attempt to block the passage in that town to one of the groups of migrants, and local authorities even issued a statement in which they declared an emergency and advised the closure of businesses because the caravan, they argued, represented a danger to local security

Oscar Perez, a merchant who sells pork carnitas in another point of the same route, the community of Ulapa, said that the population got tired of supporting the migrants because they say “they have become aggressive and therefore do not give them help. “

“What are they for, if they do not let them pass (to the United States)?” Perez asked, although he admits that he does not know of anyone who has been assaulted by migrants, insists that the people of Chiapas are poor but work instead of asking for help.

According to Father Vázquez, the only one that received support was the first caravan, which left Honduras last October and had more than 7,000 members. From then on, he maintained, hatred has been promoted. His parish is one of the few that has brought water and food to the families of Central Americans because “the rest of the Catholics are left with the idea they have and do not come close, they have many prejudices.”

This environment causes frustration to increasingly take over Central Americans such as Geovani Villanueva, a 51-year-old Honduran who has been in the Mapastepec sports center for 25 days waiting for a permit, a visa or some document that allows him to follow the route with his wife. his two small children and four other relatives who travel with him.

“I think it’s a government strategy to tire us out,” said Villanueva.

The National Migration Institute estimated Friday at 5,336 migrants who are being served in shelters or at the Siglo XXI migration station located in Tapachula, almost on the border with Guatemala, and said in a statement that more than 1,500 of them were at wait to be returned. Without offering more figures, the INM assured that there are other groups in movement.

The National Human Rights Commission said this week that there are more than 8,000 migrants along the 150 kilometers (93.2 miles) that separate Mapastepec and the border of Chiapas with Guatemala and urged the authorities to expedite measures to assist them .

The United States has pressured Mexico to control migration flows, and even President Donald Trump recently threatened to close the border again, which is overwhelmed on both the Mexican and American sides. In March alone, Border Patrol agents detained 53,000 parents and children.

Apart from the figures, there are tired families that sleep on the floor on cardboard or blankets, and with little to put in their mouths.

Nancy Valladares, a Honduran from Progreso, was walking hurriedly Saturday with her husband and two daughters in two baby carriages. Once again, they could not find a vehicle that would take them a stretch of the road.

Along with them, along 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), marched a hundred migrants that the federal police got off the platform of a truck.

The family of Valladares hopes that in the United States they can cure their two-year-old daughter, Belén, who does not walk, talk and eat with difficulty because, as a result of Zika, she was born with microcephaly.

Annoyed and tired, some migrants no longer want to talk to the press and move slowly through the exhaustion of many of the children. Along the way, they look for trees to shelter from the burning asphalt of the road and collect mangoes and wild fruits from the trees along the way.

However, they do not give up. Villanueva and his family left the Honduran city of Tela because some gang members wanted to kill him for not paying extortion. He had several commercial stores. His departure was to save his life, so he is very clear: there is no turning back.

A migrant, part of a caravan heading to the border between Mexico and the United States, pushes the wheelchair of a minor on the road in Escuintla, Chiapas, Mexico, on Saturday, April 20, 2019

Source: AP, elnuevoherald

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