Representatives of the Central American Exodus, or Migrant Caravan, announced that they will meet with incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) Thursday in Mexico City, where thousands of members of the first caravan continue to stream in after walking and hitching rides for thousands of kilometers for the past 25 days.
"We want to announce that the day after tomorrow (Thursday) we will meet with (president-elect) Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to offer more solid arguments for our compatriots," they told the media. AMLO, who will be sworn in on Dec. 1, has vowed to address the roots causes behind migration and stated several times migrating is "not a crime".
AMLO's team has not confirmed this meeting so far.
The representatives added that they condemn the United States government’s xenophobic policies against the roughly 13,000 Central American asylum seekers who left their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador between Oct. 12 and Oct. 31. People from these Northern Triangle countries are fleeing extreme poverty, lack of jobs and moreover, unpunished violence and death threats.
According to local media 2,697 migrants have received interim visitor visas from Mexico's National Institute of Migration (INM), which enables them to work in the country while waiting for a more permanent status. In total, 3,230 have sought permanent asylum in the country, according to the Mexican Commission For Refugee Assistance (Comar).
On Oct. 19, AMLO announced that his incoming government would grant work visas to Central American migrants.
"This is a plan we have. Anyone who wants to work in our country will have the support, will have a work visa," said Lopez Obrador weeks ago, prior to the Exodus’ arrival in the country.
Mexico City mayor Jose Ramon Amieva said their goal is to better organize shelters. The Magdalena Mixhuca sports complex where over 7,000 Exodus members are staying is already over capacity. Newly-arrived migrants have had to set up tents around the stadium. Another 5,000 or so are traveling in a dispersed line through the state of Oaxaca to Veracruz. They are expected to arrive in the capital in the coming days.
Also at the conference was a caravan organizer, journalist, and former Honduran legislator Bartolo Fuentes.
"I am responsible for guiding the comrades and I say: Migrants, go with your head up because you are not criminals and go to the Mexican authority to ask for refuge," he said.
In previous interviews at Tuesday's press conference, Fuentes said that the Honduran government is "corrupt" and imprisons government opposition. He told the press that he wants to return to his country but explained he will do so “when my security is guaranteed." Fuentes has been outspoken on the fact that he fears for his life.
Last month, Fuentes was illegally detained by Guatemalan authorities as he entered the country accompanying the Exodus.
The Honduran Foreign Ministry warned in October that "for several years Mr. Bartolo Fuentes has promoted irregular migratory movements, under deception and false promises for nationals,” holding Fuentes partly responsible for last April’s caravan of U.S. refugee seekers.
"This irregular mobilization was promoted and organized by the same actors that in the past, and always, have generated destabilization and ungovernability in the country," the foreign ministry asserts.
In an interview with CNN, the journalist described the accusations as "absurd," adding: "They are awarding me a kind of superpower. The government is looking for scapegoats not to recognize that in Honduras there is a terrible human tragedy," he told CNN.
Fuentes, spoke in front of Mexico's Senate Tuesday explaining why the migrants want to reach the United States.