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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hundreds of migrants leave Honduras in caravan to US

Hundreds of people departed Saturday from San Pedro Sula, northern Honduras, in a new caravan of migrants with intentions of seeking better living conditions in the United States, where they are rejected by authorities at the border with Mexico.

With few belongings in bags and backpacks, some 500 people left the large transport terminal in San Pedro Sula, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa, heading for Corinto, on the border with Guatemala, observed an AFP photographer.

They are looking for “a better future for the family,” said a Nicaraguan who said his name was Ovaldo and did not give his last name.

Originally from Managua, Ovaldo lamented that the situation in his country “is quite difficult”, so he traveled with his family knowing that “it is a very hard road”.

Like him, dozens of men and women, some with children, had gathered since Friday afternoon at the terminal. 

In the early morning about a hundred people left and with the first light of Saturday the others began to walk along the side of the road, under a strong sun and high temperature.

“We ask God and the Honduran government, since we are still in Honduran territory, please accompany us to the border with Guatemala, that they don’t put any more checkpoints,” Ovaldo implored.

“We are going with practically no resources, to the Guatemalan government, if they are watching, please let us pass, we do not want to be in the way in any of those countries, we want to continue our walk,” he told AFP.

The Hondurans were joined by Nicaraguans, Haitians, Venezuelans and Africans who cross different borders through blind spots, walking towards the United States in an endless migratory stream, although the vast majority do not manage to cross from Mexico.

A 17 year old young man who identified himself as Daniel, originally from Villanueva, 10 km from San Pedro Sula, told reporters that he migrates because of “economic necessity basically”.

There is no good education and there is no support from the government to be able to study,” he lamented.

In Guatemala, security forces, police and military, as well as personnel from the Guatemalan Migration Institute, redoubled controls in Corinto to verify that the people comply with the requirements for entering the country, otherwise they are prevented from passing through.

The last caravan of about 7,000 people left in January 2021. It was broken up in Guatemala, when it was attacked with sticks and tear gas by hundreds of soldiers, so the migrants had to return to Honduras.

A dozen caravans have undertaken the march since October 2018 in San Pedro Sula. Most have failed due to blockades by U.S. authorities.

Migrants cite lack of opportunities for a dignified life, violence from drug traffickers and gang members who scourge them in their communities, and natural phenomena such as floods and droughts caused by climate change.

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