Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Large Migrant Caravan Dissolves in Guatemala
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
January 19, 2021

Share

EL FLORIDO, Guatemala — A once large caravan of Honduran migrants that pushed its way into Guatemala last week had dissipated by Tuesday in the face of Guatemalan security forces. Small groups pressed on toward the Mexican border, while others accepted rides from authorities back to Honduras.

Many of the migrants were driven by an increasingly desperate situation in Honduras, where the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and two major hurricanes in November have piled atop chronic poverty and gang violence. That combined with a hope that the new U.S. administration of President-elect Joe Biden would be more welcoming gave birth to the year’s first caravan.

But Tuesday, buses carrying dozens of migrants and police patrol vehicles carrying handfuls arrived sporadically through the morning at the Guatemala-Honduras border crossing of El Florido. They were passed from Guatemalan border agents to their Honduran counterparts and then boarded buses that would take them back to their hometowns.

Some 25 miles into Guatemala where hundreds of migrants had been stalled at a roadblock in Vado Hondo for several days, traffic flowed smoothly Tuesday and few migrants remained. Guatemala’s immigration authorities reported that through Monday more than 2,300 migrants had been returned to Honduras.

If Guatemala’s government had indeed dissolved the year’s first caravan, it would be a relief to the incoming U.S. administration. Biden has promised immigration reform, but for now plans to leave Trump-era border policies in place fearing a surge of migrants when he takes office.

Guatemala’s government had made clear it would stop the caravan for immigration and health reasons before it had even formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras last week. President Alejandro Giammattei said 2,000 police and soldiers would be sent to the border.

Those forces did not stop the caravan at the border, but a series of strategically places roadblocks where forces deployed tear gas and batons dissolved the mass of people.

Central American Migrants Began Turning Increasingly to Caravans

On Tuesday, Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, commended Guatemala via Twitter for “carrying out its responsibilities by responding appropriately & lawfully to the recent migrant caravan.”

Central American migrants began turning increasingly to caravans as a low-cost alternative to hiring a smuggler in 2018. Migrants gain a degree of safety in numbers and initially pushed successfully through Guatemala and Mexico. However, the U.S. government has led an effort to coordinate a more aggressive response from countries along the way to try to keep them from advancing far.

Caravans still represent only a fraction of the overall immigration flow that moves largely undetected.

In the past year, Guatemala has become a critical bulwark against the caravans, egged on by the more aggressive immigration policies of the Trump administration. Guatemalan forces effectively dissolved multiple migrant caravans last year.

In Tecun Uman, across the Suchiate river from Mexico, Rev. Fernando Cuevas said Tuesday there aren’t more than 70 migrants in the border town. Those that arrive do so in small groups, mostly family units, and try to cross to Mexico almost immediately.

Some go to the bridge to request asylum, while others attempt to cross the river.

Where hundreds of migrants massed last January before crossing into Mexico, this time Guatemala’s highway roadblocks appear to have stopped most. Most of those who have made it through carry the required proof of a negative COVID-19 test and passports, Cuevas said.

Cuevas said both sides of the river are militarized. In Tecun Uman, Guatemala deployed large numbers of National Police who made a local community center their barracks and patrol the streets for migrants. Two buses from the Mexican government sit in the central plaza in front of his church waiting to drive migrants back to the Honduras border, he said.

“We are seeing a situation a little different from other years when the migrants had access and free transit,” Cuevas said. His church had prepared for the arrival of migrants like a year earlier, but now he expects few will make it. “We don’t expect them in great numbers nor organized. We don’t expect more than 100 at one time will be here.”

Mexico had sent thousands of National Guard members and immigration agents to that border last week in preparation. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to respect human rights, but also to enforce an orderly, legal migration.

One year ago, Mexican forces in riot gear rounded up hundreds of Central American migrants as they stopped to rest along a rural highway after crossing into the country.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Madera Pharmacist Pleads Guilty in Long-Running Opiate Trafficking Scheme

DON'T MISS

No Fresno Unified Superintendent Search Until After Labor Day

DON'T MISS

Former Clovis West Star Adrian Martinez Does It Again. He’s UFL Title Game MVP.

DON'T MISS

Long Prison Stint for Fresno Man Busted in Child Solicitation Sting

DON'T MISS

3 Days in Space Were Enough to Change 4 Astronauts’ Bodies and Minds

DON'T MISS

An Emotional Win for Theaters, Hollywood: ‘Inside out 2’ Scores Massive $155 Million Opening

DON'T MISS

Oxfam CEO Slams UK Arms Sales Amid Gaza Crisis

DON'T MISS

Israeli Airstrikes in West Bank Claim Child Victims Amid Escalating Tactics

DON'T MISS

Gavin Newsom and the Legislature Far Apart on College Spending as Budget Deadline Nears

DON'T MISS

Visalia’s Stephen Vogt Has Guided Young Guardians to Top of AL Central

UP NEXT

Oxfam CEO Slams UK Arms Sales Amid Gaza Crisis

UP NEXT

Israeli Airstrikes in West Bank Claim Child Victims Amid Escalating Tactics

UP NEXT

‘A Hellscape’: Dire Conditions in Gaza Leave a Multitude of Amputees

UP NEXT

2 Killed When Vintage Plane Crashes During Father’s Day Event at Southern California Airfield

UP NEXT

Putin to Visit North Korea Amid Concerns Over Military Cooperation

UP NEXT

Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet After Key Partner Exits, Say Israeli Officials

UP NEXT

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

UP NEXT

Squaw Valley Man Allegedly Killed by Lifelong Friend

UP NEXT

Tyson Foods Heir Suspended as CFO After Second Alcohol-Related Arrest

UP NEXT

G7 Leaders Agree to Lend Ukraine Billions Backed by Russia’s Frozen Assets. Here’s How It Will Work

Long Prison Stint for Fresno Man Busted in Child Solicitation Sting

59 mins ago

3 Days in Space Were Enough to Change 4 Astronauts’ Bodies and Minds

1 hour ago

An Emotional Win for Theaters, Hollywood: ‘Inside out 2’ Scores Massive $155 Million Opening

2 hours ago

Oxfam CEO Slams UK Arms Sales Amid Gaza Crisis

2 hours ago

Israeli Airstrikes in West Bank Claim Child Victims Amid Escalating Tactics

2 hours ago

Gavin Newsom and the Legislature Far Apart on College Spending as Budget Deadline Nears

2 hours ago

Visalia’s Stephen Vogt Has Guided Young Guardians to Top of AL Central

2 hours ago

‘A Hellscape’: Dire Conditions in Gaza Leave a Multitude of Amputees

3 hours ago

Will Finishing Touches to $2B Fresno Budget Occur in Public?

3 hours ago

Man Plotted Mass Shooting in Atlanta to Incite ‘Race War,’ Officials Say

3 hours ago

Madera Pharmacist Pleads Guilty in Long-Running Opiate Trafficking Scheme

Fresno residents Ifeanyi Vincent Ntukogu, 49, and Kelo White, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and distributing oxycodone and ...

32 mins ago

32 mins ago

Madera Pharmacist Pleads Guilty in Long-Running Opiate Trafficking Scheme

42 mins ago

No Fresno Unified Superintendent Search Until After Labor Day

50 mins ago

Former Clovis West Star Adrian Martinez Does It Again. He’s UFL Title Game MVP.

59 mins ago

Long Prison Stint for Fresno Man Busted in Child Solicitation Sting

1 hour ago

3 Days in Space Were Enough to Change 4 Astronauts’ Bodies and Minds

2 hours ago

An Emotional Win for Theaters, Hollywood: ‘Inside out 2’ Scores Massive $155 Million Opening

2 hours ago

Oxfam CEO Slams UK Arms Sales Amid Gaza Crisis

2 hours ago

Israeli Airstrikes in West Bank Claim Child Victims Amid Escalating Tactics

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend