Migrants: Mexico deploys troops on border with Guatemala

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Mexico has deployed troops along its border with Guatemala upon news of the arrival of the caravan of Honduran migrants who are currently crossing Guatemala in an attempt to reach the United States, defying threats of arrest from the president Guatemalan.

“There will be hundreds of members of the immigration services, the National Guard and the armed forces,” Francisco Garduño, director of the National Institute for Migration (INM), said on Friday. “They are not going to pass”, he assured the press, calling on migrants to “respect the law on immigration”.

“It is not a crime to come to the country, but it must be done in full respect of the law. Welcome everyone, but in order, ”he said.

Earlier in the morning, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had suggested that this caravan was “formed” with the aim of involving Mexico in the US presidential campaign.

“It’s very strange that this caravan sets off on the eve of the election in the United States (…) I don’t have all the elements, but I believe that there are clues (which show) that it was formed for this purpose, ”he said.

According to images broadcast by local television stations, immigration officials and the military patrol the shores of the Suchiate River, which separates Mexico and Guatemala and flows into the Pacific Ocean.

And the crossing point on the Rodolfo Robles border bridge, leading to Ciudad Hidalgo, is closed by a fence.

If around 300 candidates for the American dream, however, decided to turn back after the arrest and deportation order given by the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, the caravan of some 3,000 Honduran migrants continued on Friday through Guatemala. .

In small dispersed groups, some are heading for the capital Guatemala, then reaching the Suchiate River (south), others heading for the north of the country, AFP journalists noted.

“We will treat all people with respect, we will guide them and we will make them aware of the immigration law of our country,” said Vicente Sánchez, commander of the Mexican military zone of Tapachula (south).

The announcement, Thursday evening, of the Guatemalan president “that all those who have entered the country illegally” are arrested in the territory of Guatemala and “returned to the border”, did not cool the majority of the candidates to embrace the American dream.

“Whatever happens, we will continue! “, Launched provocative Carlos, who does not wish to give his last name. “I left Honduras because the situation is bad, there is no work, we were told that we were going to be helped, that we would not need to leave (…), but it’s the hunger that we endure, ”he said indignantly.

Angel Martinez, 19, had decided to return “because the trip is very hard”. “I’ve been walking for three days and in Guatemala, the police are scoundrels,” he told AFP among a line of tired migrants returned to the Corinto border post (north-eastern Honduras).

A few hours earlier, along with thousands of other migrants, they had all partly forced the border crossing between the two countries.

The caravan set off on the night of Wednesday to Thursday from San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second city, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa, the candidates for the trip wanting to flee poverty and violence in their country.

As in previous caravans, migrants cited unemployment, poor education and health services, and gang violence as the reasons for their flight. Reasons to which are now added the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus.

Guatemala reopened on September 18 its sea, land and air borders, closed for six months due to the pandemic.

The country had some 93,090 coronavirus cases and 3,267 deaths as of Friday, according to the health ministry.

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