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The "2018 Refugee Caravan" has been touring Central America and southern Mexico for two weeks. Photo: Reuters
The "2018 Refugee Caravan" has been touring Central America and southern Mexico for two weeks. Photo: Reuters

A Caravan South of the Border

For five days, hundreds of Central Americans have decided to march towards the border between Mexico and the United States, defying military controls and law…

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One of the worst nightmares for the Trump Administration seems to be taking shape south of the border.

As reported by Buzzfeed, for five days now "hundreds of Central Americans - children, women and men, most of them from Honduras - have boldly crossed immigration checkpoints, military bases, and police in a desperate, sometimes chaotic march toward the United States."

The mass of immigrants seems to have been the fire that fueled President Trump’s string of Tweets last Sunday when he referred to "a series of caravans of immigrants moving through Mexico to the United States border," CNN explained.

The president attacked the Mexican government and the Democratic caucus in Congress, blaming them for the border problem and dismissed the Deferred Action for Children's Arrivals (DACA) negotiations.

The march of these immigrants took place in Honduras in the middle of last March and until this Sunday it had about 2,000 people in the southeast of Mexico, according to the BBC.

"Called 'Caravan of refugees 2018', the mobilization crossed the border between Guatemala and Mexico on March 26," explains the newspaper.

Adolfo Flores, a Buzzfeed reporter, has been following the caravan directly from San Pedro de Tapanatepec, informing that most of the immigrants don’t have the authorization to establish themselves in Mexican territory, but that didn’t prevent them from gathering under the organization of the voluntary group Pueblos Sin Borders and flee from the violence and instability that undermine their countries of origin.

"About 80% of them are from Honduras," Flores explains in his report. "Many said they are fleeing from poverty, but also political unrest and violence that followed the swearing-in of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández after a highly contested election last year.”

Between buses, rides and even unsafe trains, thousands of immigrants try to protect each other from the dangers of pilgrimage to the border, where finally some hope "that the US authorities grant them asylum" (about two thirds of the marchers, according to the organizers) while others will seek refuge within Mexican territory.

In the midst of his despair, President Trump has warned that "many people are coming because they want to take advantage of DACA", as the BBC reported, which has been widely contested by politicians, analysts and journalists, because the Deferred Action program created by Barack Obama proposed protecting immigrants "who have lived in the United States since 2007, who arrived before they turned 16 and who had less than 31 on June 15, 2012," the Washington Post explained. Anyone who has arrived later does not qualify for the protection of the program.

Flores also refuted the president's allegations through his Twitter account, where he wrote that "for whatever reason Trump is conflating two different issues, DACA and reasons these people are on the Caravan. I’ve spoken with dozens of people who cite violence, instability, and poverty as reasons for leaving. Not one has mentioned DACA."

Likewise, the president blamed Mexico for "doing very little, or NOTHING, to stop the people flooding Mexico through its southern border and then to the United States." But as Alex Horton refutes in his column for the Post, "Mexico is doing something, with the help of the United States."

Horton refers to the economic assistance of up to 320 million dollars a year that the United States has provided to the Central American country to help it "strengthen its border with Guatemala, where immigrants usually cross."

This type of aid has been threatened by the Trump Administration, in a move that shows little awareness of the reality of Central America.

The caravan started in Tapachula and by Friday had already traveled 200 miles to the northwest in less than a week without any law enforcement agency trying to stop them. However, and as the Flores report continues, during last Tuesday some officers were trying to impede the marchers to leave the areas where they were spending the night.

To keep up with the course of the march you can follow Adolfo Flores' Twitter experience minute by minute

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