One of the four so-called migrant caravans headed to the United States from Central America has reached Mexico City. Some members of the various groupings arrived on Sunday, while others arrived on Monday. Some of the migrants are at the cities of Puebla and Veracruz. According to Rev. Alejandro Solalinde -- a Catholic priest and human rights advocate -- the majority of the approximately 5,000 Central American migrants will split into two groups. One would continue northward to the U.S., while the other group will seek to be reunited with relatives or find employment in Mexico.
Solalinde and other activists have reportedly told the migrant groups of the security that President Donald Trump has added at the border. Last week, Trump ordered thousands of troops to bolster the Border Patrol and National Guard units that are already at the border. The first of the groups left Honduras on October 19, pushing its way through Guatemala and into Mexico. According to the priest, 20 percent of the migrants will probably remain in Mexico, He is encouraging them to stay in the country.
On Sunday, Nashieli Ramirez -- who heads the human rights commission in Mexico City -- said on Sunday that 500 migrants arrived on Sunday and that another 1000 were expected to come from Puebla on Monday. Mexico City has accommodations for as many as 6,000 migrants, where Ramirez said that food, health services and lodging are available at the Jesus Martinez soccer stadium in the national capital. The migrants were given hot food and blankets at the stadium overnight, where 1,500 were lodged. Mexican authorities are expecting another 3,000 migrants to arrive by Wednesday.
On Sunday, a group of migrants left Cordoba -- a city southeast of Mexico City -- and began the trek of 180 miles to the capital city. Some blocked the highway between the two cities, demanding rides from passing truckers. No truckers were seen to give transportation to the migrants, according to local reports.
Over the weekend, Mexican government authorities calculated that approximately 5,000 migrants are transiting the country in several groups. Mexico’s Office for Domestic Affairs said that 2,793 migrants have requested asylum, and 500 have asked to be repatriated. Most of the migrants are believed to be from Honduras. There are also migrants from El Salvador and Guatemala, where criminal violence and poverty have been cited as the reasons for the migrants’ flight to the north.
At the Jesus Martinez stadium in Mexico City, authorities are providing mobile health care units, mattresses, blankets, and water for bathing and washing. Warm clothing and blankets were donated by Mexican people to the migrants. Some were seen charging their cell phones, while others hung their wash to dry on fences around the stadium. Mexicans are donating clothing at a reception area at the Zocalo at the center of Mexico City.
Dubbed the “humanitarian bridge,” the stadium in Mexico City is being staffed by Mexican police and local authorities, as well as representatives of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. According to the human rights office of Mexico City, 70 percent of the 500 migrants counted at the facility are men, while the remainder is composed of women and children. To reach Tijuana, which is across the border from San Diego, California, the migrant caravan will need to travel approximately 1,800 miles yet.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.