Last Monday, Guatemalan police and soldiers repressed a caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants, among them hundreds of children, who had stormed the border since Friday without presenting documents or negative proof of covid-19, required by the governments.
MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Guatemalan security forces cleared the caravan of U.S.-bound migrants in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on January 18.
The governments of the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala agreed on Friday to ban the passage through their territory of migrant caravans due to the pandemic, days after one from Honduras was forcibly disbanded inside Guatemalan territory.
“To any intention to form a caravan, our message is clear: our border remains closed to those who attempt to enter illegally,” said U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp. “Migrants who cross the U.S. border irregularly will be returned immediately as a matter of national health security,” he said.
Popp made the warning after meeting with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo and Mexican Ambassador to Guatemala, Romeo Ruiz, to address the issue.
Last Monday, Guatemalan police and soldiers repressed a caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants, among them hundreds of children, who stormed the border since Friday without presenting documents or negative proof of covid-19, required by the government.
The security forces acted under a decree of President Alejandro Giammattei. He ordered to stop their advance due to the pandemic’s risks, which has left 153,000 people infected and 5,420 dead in Guatemala.
Human rights organizations have rejected the action.
“We call on friendly countries to demonstrate with facts that any attempt to conform massive flows of people will not be tolerated and will be counteracted,” added Brolo.
For his part, the Mexican ambassador alerted migrants that the situation is “extremely more complicated” to move because of the pandemic, which adds to the crossing’s usual risks, such as organized crime and human trafficking. “Please don’t abandon your homes, don’t put your families at risk, don’t put your children at risk,” Ruiz pleaded.
Popp added that his country would work for “alternatives and economic opportunities for more prosperity” in Central America. Thousands of undocumented migrants leave for the United States every year.
Since October 2018, illegal migration to the United States from northern Central America took a turn with the departure of caravans of thousands of people, mainly from northern Honduras.
The members of this last caravan assured that they are fleeing poverty, violence and the crisis left by the passage of two hurricanes in November and that they were marching in the hope of relaxation of migratory conditions with the arrival of Joe Biden to power in the United States.
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