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  • Carol Santos, a Central American migrant from Honduras traveling to the United States, sits with her baby as she and other migrants try to hitch a ride north.

    Carol Santos, a Central American migrant from Honduras traveling to the United States, sits with her baby as she and other migrants try to hitch a ride north. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 November 2018

Members of the first contingent reach Guadalajara fleeing violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle, but also effects of drought climate change.

The Central American Exodus or migrant caravan of mainly asylum seekers hoping for refuge in the United States is making its way to Irapuato, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato after traveling through the state of Queretero over the weekend.

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Rogelio, from Honduras, told local media that it was hard to get a ride so he was forced to walk the 43km from Queretaro city that took him some five hours. Janz from El Salvador along with her husband and young son also arrived soon after.

"We are tired. Leaving Queretaro we walked for two hours, then we got a lift and (but had to) walk for half an hour" before they got another ride to Irapuato. Around 400 other Central Americans are receiving food, medical attention, and shelter in the city.

Government officials from Queretaro said via Twitter that 6,531 migrants traveled through the state over the weekend, a number higher than official counts made by officials when the group was in Mexico City for several days last week, raising the possibility that some from the second Exodus had caught up to the first one that left Honduras one month ago. Since then three other caravans have left Guatemala and El Salvador.

About 125 migrants from the first Exodus have already arrived in Guadalajara in Jalisco state where they are taking up shelter in the Benito Juarez Auditorium.

TeleSUR correspondent in Mexico, Pablo Perez reports that the caravan asylum seekers are getting rides in flatbed trucks and an RT video shows at least a hundred migrants getting into livestock trailers to hitch rides north after traveling since Oct. 12.

Nubia Morazan, 28, is from Honduras heading to the United States with her husband and two children. "We can earn more (in the U.S.) and give something to our family. But there (in Honduras) even when we want to give something to our children, we can't because the little we earn it's just for food, to pay the house and the light, nothing else," Morazan told AP.

Migrants are fleeing not only rampant violence and extreme poverty in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - but climate change. These three Northern Triangle countries experienced prolonged, extreme droughts mainly from an El Niño that lasted between 2014 and 2016.

Dr. Marshall Shepherd argues in a Nov. 11 Forbes article that some of "in the so-called 'migrant caravan' may be examples of climate refugees fleeing starvation and drought.”

In 2016 farmers in Honduras protested the government’s lack of long-term solutions and support to ameliorate the drought. “There is no support,” Franklin Almendarez of the National Center for Rural Workers said at the time. “The government campaign called 'Live Better' is a total lie. More than 76,000 families that were affected by the drought still haven't received any support.”

At that time more than 2.8 million people in the Northern Triangle were having difficulting accessing food on a regular basis and in “drastic need” of humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

As late as last Oct. 23 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported a 2018 drought from March until August in Honduras had affected some 570,000 people.

The organization added that children and poor households are particularly vulnerable.

"Some families are selling their belongings and livestock to secure food for survival, while others are migrating to escape the effects of the drought," said the Red Cross' statement from late October.

The U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of over 5,200 military troops to the southern border to support immigration officials there and threatened to revoke birthright citizenship in an attempt to deter Exodus members from entering the U.S.

The administration and its supporters have repeatedly made baseless claims that the caravan is made up of criminals and that the leftist Venezuelan government is behind the mass migration.

Some 2,697 in the four Exodus waves have accepted temporary visas from the Mexican government allowing them 45-day asylum or work visas, but most are aiming to reach the United States.


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