TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) – The migrant caravan moving through southern Mexico decided to change its route, so it is now heading to the United States instead of going to the Mexican capital, an activist and group leader said Monday. .
The director of the organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras, Irineo Mujica, announced the above, and said in a video that in ten days he will try to organize another caravan of thousands of migrants that will arrive in the state of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, to join to the group that is walking through the state of Oaxaca.
“Now we are not going to Mexico City. Now we are going to the northern border, we are going to Sonora, ”said Mujica.
The change in plans comes after he denounced that the group has been persecuted and harassed by Mexican government officials. Relations between the government and the caravan deteriorated after a group of migrants attacked National Guard officers with sticks and stones on Thursday, wounding five members of that body.
The caravan left the border state of Chiapas the day before to enter Oaxaca, also in the south, and on Monday began to encounter greater reluctance from the residents for fear that they could transmit diseases.
Adrián Aguirre, from Nicaragua, said that when they arrived in Chahuites, Oaxaca, they had to wait an hour on the outskirts of the town because they did not want to let them in. “There were patrols of the Municipal Police that blocked the passage, and then we entered,” he explained by phone.
The local authorities denied that they were opposed to receiving them and finally the group settled in a park in the town. However, Honduran Tatiana Antillana, who is traveling with her husband and two 4 and 2-year-old children, commented that when they arrived there were several businesses that were open but suddenly began to close their doors.
“We wanted to buy food but we couldn’t,” he lamented, although he acknowledged that later a lady gave them some food.
The group of migrants, which is smaller and smaller but still exceeds a thousand people and continues to have many children, is increasingly worn out after 17 days on the road since they left Tapachula on October 23, 280 kilometers to the south , almost on the border with Guatemala.
Families need to buy food and many children also have to be cared for for dehydration, Mujica said.
In social networks there were messages that encouraged the population not to allow the caravan to enter Chahuites due to the violence that some carried out on Thursday in the town of Pijijiapan when confronting the National Guard.
The National Migration Institute (INM) has not spoken of COVID-19 cases in the caravan, but it did say that there had been several dengue cases, some serious. He has harshly attacked the activists accompanying the caravan, saying that they are putting vulnerable populations at risk by encouraging them to remain in the group and not accepting official proposals.
The migrants left Tapachula because they complain of delays in their regularization procedures. The INM has offered humanitarian visas for vulnerable people, such as pregnant women and minors, and transfer them to other states to process these permits, but the migrants distrust the authorities and therefore the group rejected the proposal.
Francisco Garduño, head of the immigration agency, said Monday in Tijuana that some 350 migrants, mostly families, have left the caravan, although he did not clarify whether or not they had accepted the offer of visas.
According to his data, there would be about 1,300 people left in the contingent. At its busiest, the caravan numbered about 4,000 people, the AP found.