ESQUIPULAS, Guatemala – More than 3,500 Honduran migrants were making their way across Guatemala to Mexico on Friday with hopes of eventually reaching the United States.
The Hondurans, who set out together from their homeland early Wednesday in the latest in a series of caravans, split into smaller contingents as they moved into Guatemala and were planning to try to enter Mexico through two separate points on the border.
Casa del Migrante, a pro-migrant NGO, said that its volunteers had contact with more than 700 Hondurans in Guatemala City and with roughly 2,000 others elsewhere in this Central American nation.
The Guatemalan Red Cross, meanwhile, reported having provided “pre-hospital attention” to 1,046 Honduran migrants over a 48-hour period.
Around 2,700 of the 3,500 Hondurans who have entered Guatemala since Wednesday did so legally, according to immigration authorities.
The migrants aim to cross into Mexico via El Ceibo, in northern Guatemala, and Tecun Uman, in the west.
At least 700 Honduran men, women and children were gathered Friday in El Ceibo, the Guatemalan national ombud’s office said, while more than 1,000 other migrants were headed toward Tecun Uman, just across the border from Hidalgo in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Leading the contingent that departed early Friday from Esquipulas was Yarlin Antonio Lorenzo, 30, who described himself as a “enthusiast for human rights.”
Lorenzo, who carried a replica of the Black Christ figure that draws religious pilgrims to Esquipulas, is a veteran of the first caravan in October 2018, which made the migrant crisis in Central America a global story.
And that experience is the reason for his presence now in Guatemala. Lorenzo’s goal is not to reach the US, but to shepherd his compatriots safely across the 500 km (311 mi) separating Honduras from Mexico.
What awaits the Hondurans in Mexico is unclear, as authorities in the Aztec nation closed the border at El Ceibo and vowed to prevent anyone from crossing the boundary illegally.
Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said Friday that his administration is ready to offer 4,000 jobs to the Honduran migrants.
The Mexican government, under threat of economic sanctions from Washington, has adopted a policy of treating migrants humanely while at the same time preventing them from approaching the US border.
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador make up the “Northern Triangle” of Central America, one of the most violent, poverty-ridden regions of the world.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from those countries undertake the arduous and dangerous journey northward in pursuit of a better life in the US.