Almost 80 LGBTQI members of the Central American Exodus, or Migrant Caravan, arrived in Tijuana, Mexico on Sunday fleeing violence and discrimination in their home countries only to be berated by wealthy members of the border city with the United States.
The 77 people from the LGBTQI community in Central America arrived on Sunday to their Airbnb in the wealthy Coronado neighborhood only to be confronted by neighbors who yelled at the group’s spokesperson, Cesar Mejia: “you (all) aren’t welcome here. Please go somewhere else.”
The 77, trying to escape poverty and persecution in their own Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are being helped by U.S. lawyers who donated a bus ride for them to the border city because of discrimination they experienced while traveling among the first migrant caravan that left Honduras one month ago on Oct. 12.
"Even to bathe was a big problem. When we wanted to shower there was no water...same with food," Mejia, told a San Diego affiliate of NBC.
The leader said that while the group hadn’t faced physical violence while traveling with the Exodus, they received verbal abuse.
They were faced with the same verbal violence upon arriving at their rented Airbnb, also financed by the lawyers.
A woman member of the neighborhood association in Coronado, Vecinos de Playas de Tijuana (Neighbors of Playas de Tijuana) verbally accosted at Mejia in front of dozens of reporters saying they weren't welcome in the neighborhood because their presence made the area “unsafe.”
The woman in the video posted by El Financiero said the group should stay at a human rights shelter.
The Neighbors of Playas de Tijuana posted a Facebook statement late Sunday night saying they were, "very surprised because we did not know about the caravan’s arrival," insisting they should have been notified prior to the group’s arrival.
The statement went on to say that the LGBTQI group is being “guided and supported by US lawyers” who are helping the group gain asylum in the United States.
“They estimate that their stay will be one week in the house they rented (in Coronado),” read the statement.
The association’s Facebook statement went on to say that the Human Rights Commission of Tijuana will buy and deliver the group’s food and that “they will avoid walking around the streets, talking loudly, and avoid making noise at night. They were warned that there is insecurity in the area.”
The statement read that “Cesar apologizes because he was upset when he was approached by some neighbors and that if (the group) does not resolve the (immigration) issue in a week it will look for a shelter.”
Leaders of the association concluded by asking neighbors “for tolerance” and that they would be assuring the safety of association members.
Over the past month, an estimated 12,000 people have fled extreme violence, poverty and the negative effects of climate change they experience in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
By Monday the majority of the first of four caravans had managed to find rides traveling on top of livestock trailers in the western Mexico states of Guanajuato and Jalisco after spending several days in Mexico City. The fourth caravan is catching up and is now in Oaxaca.