La caravana migrantes sale de Ciudad de México

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Free Google Translator by Kiran Mae on 11-11-2018

EL PAIS, Internet news, 11-08-2018

The caravan of Central American migrants has suffered its first considerable fracture. A group of around hundreds of migrants, mostly men traveling alone, decided early Friday to continue on their own to the United States, after spending five days in Mexico City. The coordinators of the Central American exodus, which brings together more than 6,000 people only in the Mexican capital, had determined in an assembly that was held on Thursday night that they would resume the “yes or yes” path and that they would advance together. Everything changed in the course of the morning, after they were asked to stay a few more hours. But the wait has been too long, the promises have been many and the patience of hundreds has been exhausted. “We did not want to be there anymore, we were fed up, we could not wait any longer,” says Marvin Padilla, a 38-year-old Honduran migrant. It is expected that the rest of the group leave this Saturday.

“Let’s go let’s go!”. Screams, whistles and confusion have appeared before the first rays of sunlight fell at the Jesús Martínez Palillo stadium, which houses the largest and most advanced caravan of migrants on the road to the United States. A swarm of reporters, representatives of Human Rights organizations and government workers tried to decipher what was happening. It was five in the morning and a massive exodus was expected. Instead, there was a tense calm.

The caravan of migrants made crucial decisions for their journey during the last assembly. It had been unanimously resolved that they would not stay on Friday, that the next stop would be Queretaro (220 kilometers from the capital) and that the route to the border would be Tijuana, the farthest option, but also the safest.

The biggest problem for the organizers for a couple of weeks had been to get buses to transport the entire caravan, but above all for its most vulnerable members: exhausted children, pregnant women, elderly and sick men after a journey that has lasted more than three weeks. “Comrades, we are not going to leave here without the buses,” Milton Benítez promised, from one of the pavilions in Ciudad Palillo, as it is nicknamed a shelter that has become a miniature Honduras.

Benítez – who introduces himself as a journalist, Honduran sociologist and supposed close friend of Bartolo Fuentes, indicated by the Government of Honduras as the great orchestrator of the caravan – emerged as an unexpected leader. It was until a few days ago a stranger among the bulk of the caravan and for members of Peoples Without Borders, the organization that had coordinated the exodus in recent weeks. The so-called Yellow Dog, through the eponymous news portal that heads, organized on Thursday the march of a small group of about 200 migrants to the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner in Mexico, with the slogan of getting buses and the threat to continue as it should, blaming the consequences of attrition and the risks to the “ineffectiveness” of international organizations and the Government of Mexico.

Against all odds, Benitez and his entourage returned to the hostel with an air of triumph. “Yes it was possible, yes it was possible!”, Roared the caravan before beginning the assembly. But the promise of the Honduran journalist faltered with every word he uttered. It went from “buses yes or yes”, to “we will go with or without buses”, to “we wait for the UN to respond”. What Benitez demanded from the United Nations seemed unviable: to get around 170 buses overnight with a speech that bordered on the conspiracy and with a questionable legitimacy. Before, the Governor of Veracruz, Miguel Ángel Yunes, had backed down after assuring that he would have the buses after negotiations with Pueblos sin Fronteras. “They are telling us a lot of lies, we no longer trust them,” summarizes Martín Umaña, 54, one of the dissidents. Most of the women and children stayed in the shelter. At a press conference, part of the Benítez delegation has finally announced that the United Nations would not grant the transport and that it would leave on Saturday.

The arrival in Mexico City, however much the Central American exodus has been better served in Mexican territory, was seen as a key stop to recover strength and heal wounds, as well as to establish a dialogue with the Mexican authorities, which has not happened in a visible way. The Government of Enrique Peña Nieto has not solved the migration crisis, the incoming Administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is still waiting to take office on December 1, and the caravan coordinators have already lost control and confidence of a part of the quota.

“We’re on the road again, thank God,” says Elber Peraza, 28, excited. “From here just pa’lante, from here to the border,” Peraza adds without knowing what will be the point of arrival in Queretaro or what the route to the United States will bring, while hundreds of other migrants congregate outside the station. Metro Cuatro Caminos, north of the Mexican capital, to travel on your own. The caravan has arrived at the Corregidora stadium in Querétaro after 12 hours on the road.

 The exodus travels by subway

“This city is huge, look at all the routes, how can you not miss one?” Says Johnny Rivera, a 21-year-old Honduran migrant, after boarding the subway in Mexico City. Hundreds of Central Americans have unexpectedly cramped the coaches of the public transport system of the Mexican capital to approach the road to Queretaro, their next destination. Workers in the network estimated that they had transported up to 800 migrants until eight in the morning this Friday, so it is possible that this figure will increase to more than a thousand people.

“How long is it to get there?” “Where are we going?” “How do you know which side you have to get off?” These were some of the questions that invaded the migrants who decided to continue on their way and who exchanged, for a few moments, the trips by hand on trucks and the exhausting walks along a path with surrealist tints in the underground arteries of the city. populated of Latin America. “I had never climbed a meter,” admits Pablo Ajcac, a 34-year-old Guatemalan migrant, as he watches the symbolic drawings and the tangle of colored routes on the map of the Mexican metro.

The authorities have reserved at peak rush hour trains that travel without stopping from the Ciudad Deportiva station to the Chabacano interchange and from there to Cuatro Caminos, the last station north of line 1, the busiest in the capital. “We are a hundred, we are going on the subway to the United States,” says Ajcac excitedly before the astonished gaze of the usual users on the platforms.

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