Guatemalan military confronts migrant ‘caravan’

By Natalie Hensel

Fleeing from violence, poverty and the results of two disastrous hurricanes which hit Latin America in November 2020, thousands of migrants have started their journey to find a better life in the United States. The Mexican TV-channel “TV Azteca” reported about more than 9,000 people gathering at the border.

TV and social media footage shown pictures of huge crowds gathering in Vodo Hondo to pass security forces and being stopped by them. The migrants have been held back by the forces which used police batons to keep the crowd away but were using tear gas after stones had been thrown at them.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of Middle America, Jordán Rodas Andrade, stated that several people had been injured and the UN-refugee relief organisation UNHCR reported about eleven migrants and two soldiers being injured in the process. According to the Migration Office of Guatemala, more than 1,300 people have been sent back and authorities.

Every year, thousands of migrants from Latin America, known as “caravans”, reach the American border hoping to be granted asylum and pursue the American Dream away from the difficulties in their home countries. Guatemalan foreign minister, Pedro Brolo has asked for help to assists “an orderly and safe passage home for those in this caravan”, according to the BBC.

A statement released by the Guatemalan president’ office read, that the “illegal mass movements will not be accepted” and the concerned countries “are working together with the neighbouring nations to address this as a regional issue.”

Mexico reacts by increasing security at the border in the federal state of Chiapas. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hopes for principal reforms of American immigration policy under President-elect Joe Biden. “In Joe Biden’s campaign, he offered to finalise immigration reform and I hope that he is able to achieve this. That is what I hope.”, Lopey Obrador said, counting on Biden working together closely with leaders of Latin American countries.