January 16, 2020
New year … More Hondurans forced to flee into exile
New year … Same underlying conditions caused partly by U.S., Canada and “international community”
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Mexico says it will stop hundreds of migrants trying to reach US
BBC, January 16, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51133304
Migrants arrive in Guatemala from Honduras on Wednesday @ AFP
Mexico says it will not grant transit visas or free passage for hundreds of migrants who have left Honduras in an attempt to reach the US border. The interior ministry said officers would check the status of each migrant and offer them the option of remaining in the country legally.
On Wednesday, Honduran police fired tear gas after people tried to enter Guatemala without going through checks. Many of the migrants say they are fleeing violence and poverty.
They left San Pedro Sula, one of region's most violent cities some 40km (25 miles) from the Guatemalan border, on Tuesday. More people joined them as they made their journey on foot and hitchhiking.
The movement is similar to other groups of Central Americans who tried to reach the US in recent years in what has become known as "caravans". They attracted the ire of President Donald Trump, who has urged countries on their path to do more to stop them.
Mexico's Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero said a task force with immigration agents would assist the group and that the country would welcome the people interested in staying there. "Mexico is not only a transit country... In no way we have transit visas or safe passage," she told journalists, estimating that some 600 migrants had left Honduras.
Earlier, Guatemala's new President Alejandro Giammattei said Mexico would "do everything in their powers to stop" the group, after a meeting with the Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. Mr Ebrard has not commented. Mr Giammattei also said he would respect a deal between Central American countries that allows Hondurans to enter Guatemala as long as they have the required documents.
After entering Guatemala on Wednesday, the migrants split into smaller groups, according to the Associated Press news agency. It reported US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were accompanying Guatemalan officials in their checks.
Last year, the countries in the region known as the Northern Triangle - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - signed controversial agreements with the US administration amid President Trump's efforts to stop people from trying to reach the US through Mexico.
They require migrants to request protection in the first country they enter and allow the US to deport those who fail to do so. So far, the deal with Guatemala - which agreed to it after being threatened with sanctions by President Trump - is the only one that has been put into effect. A critic of the agreement, Mr Giammattei has not detailed how he will treat it.
The Mexican government has already deployed the National Guard in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants travelling north. Those who manage to get to the border are forced to remain in Mexico while they await court hearings on their asylum requests.
Human rights activist Itsmania Platero told AP: "The truth is, it's going to be impossible for the [migrants] to reach the US. The Mexican police have a large contingent and they're going to catch all the migrants without documents and they'll be detained and returned to their home countries."
The "caravans" attract migrants who cannot pay for a smuggler and offers relatively greater security than travelling alone or in smaller groups. "Here there's no work, there's nothing. That's why we are fleeing to the US," a man travelling with his wife and two children told Honduran television.
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Shithole countries: U.S., Canada & international community helping produce forced migrancy from Honduras & Guatemala
By Grahame Russell, Rights Action, October 2019, https://mailchi.mp/rightsaction/shithole-countries
Why do 10s of thousands of Hondurans & Guatemalans flee home and country, year after year?
The U.S. and Canadian governments, the World Bank and global businesses and investors (hydro-electric dams, mining, African palm, sugar cane and fruit production, garment “sweatshop” factors, tourism, etc.) maintain profitable relations with anti-democratic, corrupt, repressive governments in Honduras and Guatemala, participating in or benefitting from exploitation and repression, environmental harms and human rights violations, corruption and impunity.
The U.S., Canada and “international community” help keep in place the very regimes and conditions that force Hondurans and Guatemalans to flee their countries, every year, decade after decade. There is no political or legal oversight or accountability in the U.S. and Canada for our complicity in Guatemala and Honduras’ nightmare.
Rights Action (U.S. & Canada)
Since 1995, Rights Action funds human rights, environment and territory defense struggles and projects in Guatemala and Honduras; funds victims of repression and human rights violations, health harms and natural disasters; works to hold accountable the U.S. and Canadian governments, multi-national companies, investors and banks (World Bank, etc.) that help cause and profit from repression and human rights violations, environmental harms and forced evictions, corruption and impunity in Honduras and Guatemala.
Act – Stir up the pot – Chip away
Keep sending copies of Rights Action information (and that of other solidarity groups/ NGOs) to family, friends and networks, politicians and media – always asking the question as to why our governments, companies and investment firms benefit from and turn a blind eye to poverty, repression and violence, environmental and health harms that caused the forced migrancy / refugee crisis in Guatemala and Honduras.
Other solidarity/ NGO groups in U.S. and Canada
T (Canada & U.S.)
o support our land, human rights and environmental defender partner groups in Honduras and Guatemala, m
- U.S.: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
- Canada: (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8