Central American migrant caravan heading north

A caravan of migrants trying to reach the United States in January (CNS/Andres Martinez Casares, Reuters)

Catholic migrant ministries in Guatemala are attending to a caravan that formed in Honduras and is heading northward toward the border with Mexico. Source: CNS.

The caravan of approximately 3,000 migrants entered Guatemala on October 1 after setting out the night before from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras.

It was the first mass caravan to form during the pandemic and reflected the desperation of life in Central America, where cratering economies have deepened poverty and motivated many to migrate.

“They’re leaving in groups and what they’re looking for are life alternatives outside Honduras because Honduras has nothing to offer,” said Scalabrinian Sister Nyzelle Juliana Donde, director of the Honduran bishops’ migrant ministry.

“What most migrants do is leave for basic needs. The pandemic exacerbated hunger, poverty, lack of opportunity. (Criminal) gangs have also worked very hard during this time,” she said.

“What these people want most is an opportunity to work and support their families because the truth is that Honduras is very bleak in terms of poverty,” she added.

Caravans formed regularly in Honduras prior to the pandemic, though Mexico had started deploying its national guard to impede large groups of migrants from transiting the country.

The caravans have also become political issues, especially as a large caravan transited Mexico in late 2018 and drew the displeasure of President Donald Trump.

Sr Nyzelle said most migrants weren’t paying attention to Mr Trump's rhetoric or the US elections and still clung to “the American dream”.

“It’s a matter of survival,” she said. “So what people want and what they’re anxious for is a better life and only look toward the United States.”


New caravan of 3,000 migrants forms in Honduras; first during pandemic (By David Agren, CNS

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