It was near 9:00 PM on a Sunday, and since she left Honduras five days ago, Nancy Herrera hasn’t had much fun. First received sticks and gases at Vado Hondo in Guatemala. When she reached the border with Mexico, an immigration agent stopped her and asked her nearly $ 1,000 to let her go on her way. And when the blackmailer in a suit realizes that he does not even carry pesos to pay for the mask he was wearing, the uniformed man proposes an alternative job: he will give him a job in one of the filthy canteens on the banks of the Suchiate River where he can engage in prostitution for 40 quetzals (about five dollars). the service”. The last night before appearing in front of journalists, he spent it in Tikkun Uman Square, until a policeman ordered him, with a kick, to move from there and move into the mud next to the river.
Sunday night, January 17th, was his first joy in several days. He managed to find his brother, who had separated from him while he was fleeing, and regrouped the family. The five of them, she and her son Emerson, her brother Melvin, her grandfather Santos, and Elba, a Nicaraguan woman they met in the caravan, suddenly appeared in the bushes on the Mexican side. They all crossed the Suchiate River after several hours in hiding watching the movements of the Mexican National Guard and immigration agents from shore. Nancy took advantage of the relief and gaps opening in the human wall that Lopez Obrador had ordered to block the passage of the caravan, to cross the river in time. Little Emerson, who is four years old and has four fingers on his left hand, was always walking with his hand, because, according to his mother, the missing person was “cut off by gangs in Honduras.”
When everyone finally dries up and in a safe place like a bank teller in Ciudad Hidalgo, Nancy, 23, goes bankrupt. “People in Honduras do not die from the Coronavirus, but from hunger,” he says. There is no work, no money, no opportunity for anything. “Those who were unable to pass now will try again at a later time,” he says, referring to a convoy that was dismantled with strikes in central Guatemala. Santos’ grandfather puts his hand around his neck, remembering how far the water had reached him in November when hurricanes flooded his home and he decided to leave San Pedro Sula forever.
The first conclusion is that the wall that was initially erected in Mexico has now moved several hundred kilometers south. Today, convoys are the obstacle course where the next trench is the southernmost. This time in Escuintla, eight hours from the border with Mexico. The second is that the size of the caravans is increasing. The latest, which this week collided with the wall of the Guatemalan police and army, which held nearly 9,000 people, was twice the previous number. The third conclusion is the outsourcing of monitoring services. The United States issued the order to Mexico, and Mexico to Guatemala. The model promoted by Trump that helped poor countries use poorer nations to act as gendarmes. Fourth, none of the measures proposed by incoming president Joe Biden will benefit them. The immigration regularization process promoted by the new president applies to those who were in the United States prior to January 1.
Prior to Biden’s inauguration, Lopez Obrador said it was important to put the promise of immigration reform on the bilateral agenda, an issue Mexico has pursued over two decades and is a priority for the more than 38 million Mexican people who used to live in the United States.
With that outlook, one option that’s gaining traction is staying in Mexico, however, she plans to promote Marshall Plan That helps Central America’s economic development so far has remained on paper, after the Trump administration’s indifference and lack of cooperation from Central American countries. Consequently, the response of Lopez Obrador’s government was to militarize the border and deploy thousands of National Guard personnel along the nearly 1,000 kilometers of the Guatemalan-Mexico border. However, after Hurricanes Iota and Eta passed through Central America, the situation is more dire and hundreds of thousands of Hondurans live in near poverty after the floods. The convoys were an escape valve that had been cut off after Guatemala’s active role in stopping them.
Three days later, on Wednesday, we found the Herrera family, Nancy, Santos, Melvin and Emerson, sleeping in a miserable hotel in Tapachula where they got access thanks to the charity of Mexicans. Along with other Central American and Caribbean citizens trying to fulfill their roles as refugees, a huge Haitian following Biden’s party on his cellphone reminds them that even if they hear good words from Biden, nothing will change for them. Michael Ellisie, born in Port-au-Prince, reminds them that he was deported by Obama with a kinder speech than Trump towards immigrants. “The white devil is gone,” he says in Creole, referring to Trump, “but Obama deported me on the first day he set foot on the United States.” His administration broke the record for deportations and brought back 2.5 million illegal immigrants between 2009 and 2015. This time happier news comes from the North and although few believe the situation will change, at least the dialectics is no longer aggressive and bullying. This, seemingly minor detail, is one of the few happy messages that reach my frontier hotel.