The self-named Central American Exodus, or Migrant Caravan, arrived in Mexico City in the early hours of Monday where the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHFF) tells local media they have registered 470 Central Americans who are being housed at the stadium "El Palillo."
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Nashiely Ramirez, president of the CDHFF told reporters from the temporary shelter that more Exodus participants will be arriving in the coming days. "This exodus is going to come at different waves to the city. … We now have 470 people here, 70 percent are male, 30 female (adults) and 17 children,” Ramirez said.
The main portion of the first caravan that left Honduras on Oct. 12 is traveling on foot and hitchhiking through the states of Puebla and Veracruz, east of Mexico City. The CDHFF president said they are expecting this last part of the caravan “to arrive in Mexico City by Wednesday,” taking the total number of caravaners in the capital to 5,000, said Ramirez.
The CDHFF, along with the Red Cross of Mexico and the U.N. Human Rights Commission, is providing those in the Exodus with food, shelter, safety and medical care, Ramirez noted. She added that migrants can meet with the U.N. agency to get information to “make the necessary decisions."
Inspired by this first caravan, three other waves of migrants have left Guatemala and El Salvador over the past two weeks to escape overwhelming violence and inequality in their Central American home countries. Most of who have fled are making the dangerous trek to seek asylum in Mexico and the United States. Caravans two, three and four are making their way through Chiapas and Oaxaca.
While good Samaritans throughout Mexico have taken care of many migrants, human rights violations have also accompanied the caravan through the country, including Mexico’s National Migration Institute. On Saturday night armed men took over two vehicles filled with migrant women and children who were traveling through Puebla state. They haven’t been seen since.
Gustavo Rodriguez Zarate of the Pastoral Migrant of Puebla requested that the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) investigate the case and send more staff to the area, a hotbed of trafficking persons and sex trade, to protect the Exodus.
On Sunday the CNDH, on call since the caravan entered Mexico, is calling for the government to “invalidate” the Internal Security Law it says the state is using to deny “respect for human rights and dignity of people,” including the Central American migrants.
The commission has long denounced the Mexican law passed last January it says legalizes the state’s ability to overstep its constitutional boundaries and to violate human rights within the country.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales will meet with his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez in Honduras, along with the Salvadoran president to discuss the massive Exodus that some estimate to have reached 12,000 people leaving from these Central American Northern Triangle countries.