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Guatemala clarifies plan to face possible Honduran migrant caravan

Guatemalan authorities defined on Thursday a preventive and care plan for an eventual massive caravan of Honduran migrants that will try to reach the United States on foot, informed an official source.

“In order to attend in a comprehensive and coordinated manner the possible massive movement of people that would be formed next January 15 from Honduras” a “protocol of action” was established, told reporters the general director of the Guatemalan Institute of Migration, Stuard Rodriguez.

The protocol establishes the installation of checkpoints along the migratory route to identify people who enter irregularly and without presenting the requirements established by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health.

Rodríguez clarified that Guatemala is “in favor of orderly and safe migrations without exposing vulnerable groups”, after concluding a multisectoral meeting in which 15 state institutions participated, as well as the Vice-Presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Health, the Social Welfare Secretariat of the Presidency, the National Civil Police, the Ministry of Defense and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, among others, also took part in the meeting.

In addition, the meeting was attended by member organizations of the United Nations (IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF), Non-Governmental Organizations and delegates from the embassies of the United States, Honduras and Mexico.

The alleged formation of the caravan was revealed by declarations made by Itsmania Platero, a Honduran human rights defender.

According to Platero, the movement would be made up of some 2,500 people, seeking to transit through Guatemala and then enter Mexico, with the aim of reaching the United States.

However, the Honduran National Migration Institute stated that the movement would only be made up of approximately 60 people, according to a press release.

“In Guatemala we are prepared to prevent irregular mass movements, prioritizing now the health of Guatemalans” in the face of the spread of contagion of the coronavirus pandemic, Rodriguez added.

In January last year, a caravan of some 7,000 Honduran migrants was broken up by Guatemalan security forces near the border between the two countries by firing tear gas.

In recent years, undocumented migrants, mostly from Central America, have sought to travel through Mexico in massive caravans to protect themselves from both authorities and criminal harassment.

The advance of the caravans towards the northern border has provoked tensions with the United States, especially with the administration of former President Donald Trump.

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