Caravan migrants cross river into Mexico, throw stones at police

Mexico City, January 21 (RHC)-- Hundreds of Central Americans waded across a river into Mexico on Monday, some clashing with waiting security forces, in a new challenge for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador efforts to contain migration at the bidding of the United States.

Scattered groups launched rocks at a few members of Mexico's National Guard who were on the banks of the river attempting to thwart any illegal crossings, as hundreds of others ran past into Mexico, video footage of the scene showed.

The mostly Honduran migrants appeared to grow impatient on the bridge over the Suchiate River that connects the two countries, after some were denied permission to cross by assembled Mexican migration officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to punish Mexico and Central American countries with economic sanctions if they fail to curb migrant flows, resulting in a series of agreements aimed at taking pressure off the United States in absorbing the numbers.

At least 2,000 migrants had been camped in the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman, opposite Ciudad Hidalgo on the Mexican side.  Mexico has offered migrants work in the south, but those who do not accept it or seek asylum will not be issued safe conduct passes to the United States, and most will be deported, the interior ministry said.

The Mexican ministry said in a statement that authorities had already received nearly 1,100 migrants in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco and set out various options to them in accordance with their migration status.

According to Guatemala, at least 4,000 people entered from Honduras since last Wednesday, making for one of the biggest surges since three Central American governments signed agreements with the Trump administration obliging them to assume more of the responsibility for dealing with migrants.

In late 2018, a large caravan of migrants sought to break through the Tecun Uman border. At that time as well, many crossed via the Suchiate River dividing the two countries.

Edited by Ed Newman

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'Mexico Won't Let the Caravan Pass' Guatemala's President Says

Mexican Foreign Ministry has not made any official comments on Giammattei's words.

Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei Wednesday revealed that Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told him that the Honduran migrants' caravan heading towards the United States would not be allowed to enter into Mexican territory.

RELATED: Honduran Migrant Caravan Repressed On Guatemala Border Crossing

"The Mexican government told us that they won't let it pass," Giammattei said, adding that they told him "they will do everything in their powers to stop it from passing."

So far the Mexican Foreign Ministry has not made any official comments on President Giammattei's specific remarks. 

Nevertheless, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) administration warned that it will not deliver safeguards so that the pilgrims can cross its territory to the U.S., although it will study the refuge requests of those seeking to stay in Mexican territory.

"Mexico is not simply a transit country," the Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez said.

@GranadosCeja
If the caravan manages to cross the Honduras-Guatemala border, Mexico’s AMLO will face a big test: how will he respond to the exile of thousands fleeing poverty and violence? He claims to want a humanitarian approach toward migration but his record says otherwise. https://twitter.com...
 
@hondurassol
The second & largest group of the #migrantcaravan left this morning on foot. Some say the 2020 caravan bigger than the first caravan, involving over 10,000 people but hard to get an estimate. #Honduras
 

In October 2018, thousands of Central American migrants, who were fleeing poverty and violence in their homelands, entered Mexico intending to reach U.S. territory.

Their caravans caused tensions between the Government of the United States and Mexico, especially in June 2019 when President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all Mexican products if Central American migration flows were not reduced.

Both countries reached an agreement whereby the AMLO administration deployed the National Guard on Mexico's border with Guatemala, which has reduced the flow of migrants by 60 percent over the last year.

 

"It is a country that opens its doors to people who want to enter and migrate to our country; however, in no way, we have transit visas."​​​​​​​

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Cuban deputy prime minister attends inaugural ceremony of Guatemala's new President

Guatemala City, January 13 (RHC)-- Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca arrived this Sunday morning in Guatemala City to participate in the inauguration of the new president, Alejandro Giammattei Falla, taking place on Monday.

Upon his arrival, he was received at La Aurora International Airport by Guatemala's Minister of Culture and Sports, Elder Súchite Vargas.   Accompanying the Cuban official, are Ambassador Gustavo Daniel Véliz Olivares, director of Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the ambassador to Guatemala, María del Pilar Fernández Otero.

According to Prensa Latina news agency, during their stay in the land of the Quetzal, the delegation will carry out a parallel agenda that reinforces the close historical, cultural and cooperation ties between both peoples and governments.

The most significant events include placing a floral wreath at the foot of the José Martí monument in the Plaza Jardín in the capital city and an encounter with members of the Cuban Medical Brigade.  The brigade has been serving in the most remote places in that nation for the last 21 years.

The delegation will also meet with representatives of different sectors of Guatemalan society and solidarity with the island.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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Young Guatemalan team attempts upset but loses to Cuba

Despite an exciting second-set challenge, Guatemala was not able to hold off the Cuban team today and the match score was 3-0 (25-13, 37-35, 25-14) to open the 2019 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo was top scorer for Cuba with 14 points, and teammates Marlon Yang and Javier Concepción contributed 10 each. Wagner Chacon was top scorer for the losing side with 12 points.

Cuba has already locked up a spot in the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier next January, but still has the goal to win this tournament.

Cuba head coach Yosvany Muñoz Perez: “We didn’t play very well today. We made a lot of mistakes. Guatemala is a young team and with another team with more experience, I don’t know what could have happened. I am happy with the win, but we need to increase our level with the next match.”

Guatemala head coach, Reider Lucas Mora: “We were ready for a really strong game against Cuba. We fought really hard in the second set with six chances to win the set and our players left everything on the court. I am proud of them today…. We are going against another strong team tomorrow, but we will work hard to get better every day of the tournament.”

Tournament note: It was announced on Sunday that this is now a seven-team tournament after Suriname withdrew at the last minute.

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Guatemalan Migrants Go Into Hiding in North Carolina

Guatemalan migrants in N.C. fear an increase in ICE operations, which are now being carried out during the night and early hours of the morning, including weekends.

Guatemalan migrants living in North Carolina are hunkering down inside their homes in fear of being detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during one of their raids.

RELATED: Guatemala: Amnesty Reform Would Excuse Those Guilty of Genocide

“I have lived here [Charlotte] for 16 years and it had never been this hard. There are people who have not shown up for work in four days, because of the ICE waiting in front of their houses or following them to gas stations where they are detained, it is a very sad situation we are living,” said Monica del Cid, a Guatemalan community leader in Charlotte.

The fear these people have is due to an increase in ICE operations, which are now being carried out during the night and early hours of the morning, including weekends. del Cid - talking to Guatemalan publication Prensa Libra, said, it is common to have ICE agents settle in-front of homes and businesses from 5:00am to 5:00pm, so that Guatemalan businesses remain closed. 

‘Irregular’ migrants are the most afraid of going out to conduct work-related activities - a situation which is hurting them financially, according to del Cid.

Shops belonging to Guatemalan’s are closed out of fear of ICE raids, added del Cid.

During the past few days, ICE operatives left more than 200 people detained. This comes two months after a pledge by North Carolina’s two biggest counties to discontinue their collaboration with the U.S. Department of National Security.

President Donald Trump has made anti-immigration policy his campaign platform. He has pushed the issue of funding as far as causing a government shutdown that lasted several weeks after not being granted the billions he requested for the construction of said wall and the strengthening of ICE.

Talks on border security funding collapsed after Democratic and Republican lawmakers clashed over immigrant detention policy as they worked to avert another U.S. government shutdown, a Republican senator said on Sunday.

“The talks are stalled right now,” Republican Senator Richard Shelby told Fox News Sunday. He said the impasse was over Democrats’ desire to cap the number of beds in detention facilities for people who enter the country illegally.

 

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Honduran Migrants Break Police Barrier, Enter Guatemala

Honduran and Guatemalan authorities try to halt the new caravan heading towards the United States.

A total of 709 people from the migrant caravan that left Honduras Monday crossed the Guatemalan border on Tuesday with the intention of reaching the United States in search of better living conditions.

RELATED: US: Human Rights Defenders Protest To Support Migrants

The director of Honduras' Permanent Contingency Commission (Copeco), Lisandro Rosales, said that 359 migrants entered Guatemalan territory in the Agua Caliente's border area.

While another 350 Hondurans broke police barrier to enter the country irregularly, trying to continue on their trip to Mexico.

Rosales indicated that 23 unaccompanied minors were referred to the Directorate of Children, Family and Adolescents (Dinaf) for their accompaniment during the return to their places of origin.

Hundreds in new U.S.-bound migrant caravan cross into Guatemala: Several hundred Honduran migrants in a new U.S.-bound caravan crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump seized on news…

One of those cases is that of two Honduran brothers, aged 12 and 14, who were abandoned by their aunt. The minors will be reunited with their grandmother, who is responsible for their care, since their mother lives in the United States.

On Tuesday, authorities increased immigration control measures in Agua Caliente region in an attempt to prevent the passage of the caravan. The police installed 54 checkpoints at the borders with Guatemala and El Salvador.

The Honduran authorities reiterated the call to their compatriots to not "put their lives at risk on the migratory route."

The latest from leaves San Pedro Sula in the middle of the night. Entire families carry nothing but the clothes on their backs in the pouring rain. Some know the horrors of the journey, but said they are desperate to escape violence, poverty, and extortion.

According to Honduras Ministry of Foreign Affairs, none of the thousands of migrants who made caravan trips to the U.S. last October "has managed to obtain political asylum or permission to remain in that territory on a regular basis."

At least 11 Hondurans from the first caravans died while attempting to reach U.S. territory.

Using the motto "In Honduras They Kill Us," the new caravan's occupants began the preparation to leave Honduras on Dec. 14 with hopes to escape their homeland's high instances of poverty and violence.

Honduras is one of the world's most violence-plagued countries with a homicide rate of 43 per 100,000 inhabitants. The figure also falls in line with being Central America's highest extreme poverty rate.

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Body of Migrant Girl Who Died in US Care Arrives in Guatemala

The body of the migrant child who died in the U.S. custody was brought back to her mother Sunday while the U.N. called for a probe into her death. 

The body of Jakelin Caal, the Guatemalan girl who died while in the custody of United States Border Patrol of dehydration, arrived at La Aurora airport in Guatemala Sunday.

RELATED: Family Painfully Remembers Guatemalan Girl Killed in US Custody

The family of the seven year old was not there to receive her body as they did not have the money to travel from the remote municipality of Raxruha in northern Guatemala.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did the necessary formalities. Around 5 pm local time, her body was taken to her village from the airport.

Her death has once again brought to the fore the treatment of migrants by U.S. authortities.

The girl and her father were detained by immigration authorities on Dec. 6 in New Mexico as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in. On Dec. 7, the girl started having seizures and was taken to a hospital, where she died. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the girl’s father signed a document stating his daughter was in good health. However, many question the validity of the statements, given that the girl and her father, Nery Caal, are of Maya origin and did not speak English. It is still uncertain whether they spoke Spanish.

A United Nations human rights expert called on U.S. authorities Monday to conduct a full and independent investigation into the death of Caal and to stop detaining children.

Felipe Gonzalez Morales, the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, also said the family of Jakelin Caal, from the Mayan Indigenous community, should be given access to legal representation in the proceedings in a language they understand.

“Redress to her family should be provided and if any officials are found responsible they should be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

“The government should also address failings within the immigration system, and specifically within the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agency, to prevent similar situations.”

“The U.S. authorities must ensure that an in-depth, independent investigation of the death of Jakelin Amei Caal is conducted,” Gonzalez Morales, a Chilean professor of international law, said in the statement.

Gonzalez Morales called on the Trump administration to halt the detention of children, unaccompanied or with their families, based on their migratory status, and to seek alternatives.

“As repeatedly stated by a series of UN human rights bodies, detention of children based on their migratory status is a violation of international law,” he said.

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Guatemalan Girl Dies of Dehydration in US Custody

A 7-year-old girl, who was detained last week for entering the U.S. illegally, died of dehydration and "shock."'

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, who traveled to the United States with the Central American caravan, died of dehydration while in U.S. custody. She had been detained last week for crossing the U.S. border illegally.

RELATED: Caravan Couple Awaits Asylum Bid After Son's Birth in US

The girl and her father were detained by immigration authorities on Dec. 6 in New Mexico as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in, the Washington Post reported.

On Dec. 7, the girl started having seizures and she was taken to a hospital, where she died.

My God. Shame on our country and shame on Donald Trump. A 7 year old girl was taken into custody by US Border Patrol and died of "dehydration and shock." These aren't thugs & criminals. They are people desperate for safe harbor. This is a grave sin.

The names of the girl and her father have not been released. 

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an official statement saying that U.S. Border Patrol "always takes care of individuals in their custody and does everything in their power to keep them safe."

However, the Associated Press quotes border officials who claim the girl had not had food or water for several days.

The area through which the girl and her father crossed is one of the most dangerous border zones due to the presence of human traffickers and extreme weather conditions.

U.S. President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which resulted in separating children arriving at the border with their parents, has added new dangers for the thousands of migrants who travel north, escaping violence and poverty.

About 400,000 immigrants were arrested between Sep. 2017 and Nov. 2018, according to El Pais.

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro reacted Thursday asking for a full investigation of the girl's death. He published a statement stressing that hardening conditions for asylum requests have not deterred people from migrating north.

On the contrary, migratory flows have increased opting for riskier depopulated areas to cross.

Tension has been mounting in the U.S. southern border as over 7,000 migrants, primarily from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have reached the border in the past days. They trekked around 4,000km to request asylum in the U.S., but Trump has chosen to treat the asylum seekers as "criminals" and "invaders," deploying troops to the southern border.

 
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