AGUA CALIENTE, Honduras – Warnings from the US, Mexico and Guatemala have not stopped the migration of thousands of Hondurans, who now number some 3,000 according to the United Nations, and who set out a week ago in a caravan to the United States.
The first group of migrants left Honduras last Oct. 13 from San Pedro Sula and proceeded to the customs station at Agua Caliente on the border with Guatemala, through which men, women and children have continued to pour all week, under strict control, in a drama that has increased the breakup of Honduran families.
An advance party of the caravan reached Mexico on Thursday, where the government reported it was already receiving asylum applications.
On Wednesday, hundreds of migrants left their country by another route, through El Amatillo on the El Salvador border, where authorities registered 1,235 Hondurans up to Thursday, though with no certainty that all of them intended to catch up with the caravan that set out last Saturday.
The massive migration got a political slant when Tegucigalpa and Washington accused opposition political parties of causing it, though migrants in Agua Caliente told EFE they were leaving their homeland of their own accord.
The US has threatened to block any further aid to Honduras if doesn’t stop the caravan.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, meanwhile, has said that “this irregular mobilization was organized for political purposes.”
The opposition’s intention is to “erode the governability, the image and good name, the stability and peace of Honduras and other countries on the route to the United States,” he said.
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has said that the US is “legally and morally obliged to provide asylum” for the migrants “because of the state of terror and death brought on by the military violence, fraud, privatizations and organized crime of the JOH (Juan Orlando Hernandez) dictatorship that it maintains and supports.”
More than 1 million Hondurans living in the United States, either legal residents or undocumented migrants, represent an important contribution to their homeland through the family remittances they send home, which in 2017 amounted to some $4 billion.
Honduras has a population of some 9 million, of whom more than 60% live in poverty and over 2 million are either unemployed or underemployed, according to various sources.
Many employees are paid extremely low wages, a contrast with the high cost of food, medicines, education, public services – generally inadequate – and fuel, among other products and services.