US-bound migrant caravan forced to sleep on highway amid Guatemala crackdown

As many as 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers have entered Guatemala in hopes of reaching the US 

Luis Echeverria
Monday 18 January 2021 13:08 GMT
Comments
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan heading to the United States, walk along a road in Camotan, Guatemala on 16 January, 2021.
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan heading to the United States, walk along a road in Camotan, Guatemala on 16 January, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Hundreds of Honduran migrants huddled overnight on a highway in eastern Guatemala after domestic security forces used sticks and tear gas to halt the passage of a US-bound caravan just days before US president-elect Joe Biden takes office.

As many as 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and lawlessness in a region rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November.

"There's no food or water, and there are thousands of children, pregnant women, babies, and they don't want to let us pass," said a Honduran stuck at the blockade, who gave his name only as Pedro.

Guatemalan authorities say they have sent hundreds of migrants back to Honduras.

A Reuters witness said about 2,000 migrants were still camped out on the highway near the village of Vado Hondo, about 55km from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador, after clashing with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday.

Read more: Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants

"We're starving," said one Honduran mother, stuck behind the cordon with her 15-year-old son, her daughter, nine, and her four-year-old niece.

"All we have is water and a few cookies," said the woman, who declined to give her name, but added that she and other travelers had formed a prayer circle as they camped out.

Other migrants evaded the gridlock by fleeing into the hills to continue onward to the border of Mexico, where the government has deployed police and National Guard troopers.

"We ran into the mountains because I'm traveling with my one-year-old," said Diany Deras, another Honduran.

Mexico's border with Guatemala was quiet.

"All is calm here," said a National Guardsman in charge of a border crossing directly opposite Tecun Uman, Guatemala, where caravan leaders hope to cross into Mexico. He sought anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.

"I hope Guatemala contains them," he added. 

Reuters

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in