Guatemala Violently Blocks Honduran Migrant Caravan

Numerous injured reported

Photo: EFE

Por EFE / 100% Noticias

HAVANA TIMES – Guatemalan security forces detained and violently reprimanded a migrant caravan made up of thousands of Hondurans this Sunday, who intend to reach Mexico and later the United States hoping for asylum.

According to EFE, members of the Guatelmalan Army attacked the migrants with sticks and tear gas. Stranded since Saturday, they tried to advance on a highway in the west of the country.

The Hondurans are part of a migrant caravan of more than 9,000 fellow citizens, according to official calculations. They left San Pedro Sula in different waves last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Guatemalan Immigration told journalists there are “several injured.” These include its own personnel, members of the Guatemalan Army and Honduran migrants. No further details were forthcoming.

Honduran migrant caravan blocked by Guatemalan police and army forces. Photo: EFE

Stuck near the border

The group stranded includes around 6,000 migrants. Meanwhile, some of the other 3,000 Hondurans managed to advance in some cases, while others started the journey back home.

The first group managed to enter illegally between Friday night and Saturday through the El Florido border post, in the department of Chiquimula, 200 kilometers west of Guatemala City.

However, the security forces imposed a police barrier at the end of Saturday about 20 kilometers beyond the El Florido border. Thus those stranded migrants couldn’t advance.

Clash on Sunday morning

At the stroke of 07:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Sunday, thousands of Hondurans tried to break through the police barrier. However, members of the Guatemalan Army and the Police violently repressed them , forcing their retreat.

Guatemalan Immigration chief, Guillermo Díaz, informed that segment of the caravan Saturday afternoon that “they cannot and will not pass.”

The official’s words came on the road where the migrants were stranded since Saturday. The standoff occurred in the municipality of Quetzaltepeque, in the department of Chiquimula.

According to Diaz, more than 20 police checkpoints are in place on the highway that would lead migrants from their current position in western Guatemala to the border with Mexico in the east of the country.

“It is impossible for them to continue their route. They already tried and it was not possible. Those who did pass have already been arrested. We invited them to return to their place of origin,” added Díaz on Saturday afternoon before the thousands of migrants.

Dramatic scene between migrants trying to head north and the Guatemalan security forces trying to stop their progress. Photo: EFE

The Guatemalan government had maintained its position throughout the week of not allowing the thousands of Honduran migrants to enter the territory.

However, given the large number of people who gathered at the border on Friday, the agents of the National Civil Police decided to step aside and let the crowd advance.

The authorities had warned they will not allow migrants to enter the country if they do not meet the requirements established in this regard, especially a negative test for covid-19.                                 

Hondurans seek to reach the United States to have better living conditions. They flee the poverty and violence that plague the Central American isthmus. The situation became worse with the pandemic and then hurricanes Eta and Iota in November.

Read more news from Latin America here on Havana Times.