Chasing the american dream in the caravan of hunger

THE WORLD travels the roads of Chiapas next to the thousands of central american migrants who, despite threats from Donald Trump, advance convinced of coming to

Chasing the american dream in the caravan of hunger

THE WORLD travels the roads of Chiapas next to the thousands of central american migrants who, despite threats from Donald Trump, advance convinced of coming to the United States

Trump threatens to deploy to the border guard and the army by the 'caravan' of migration

Mexico promises to humanitarian visas and transit permits to the migrant caravan

The caravan of migrants has, like the moon, two faces that are not always visible. The first is found in the smiles of thousands of children, who believe that they have experienced in the last few weeks is nothing more than an excursion. The second is the smile of your parents, who in reality hides a concern that grows as you go deeper into mexican territory and begin to be aware of the odyssey that have been put in. Although many parents claim that taking the decision to leave the country and take your family to walk half a continent it was easy because they left behind a hell. Today, the Caravan is composed in its greater part by hondurans, but among their ranks is also nicaraguans, guatemalans, and salvadorans.

At the entrance to Mapastepec, the locals more veterans look on in disbelief the arrival of thousands of people sold out that have just completed one more stage of your particular journey. They were waiting for since days ago, but few could have imagined the dimension of the Caravan until they saw it with their own eyes. All the porches of the people are crowded of exhausted migrants in search of shade and rest. Traffic lights and speed humps become the perfect places for the youngest to do business: offer to wash cars or directly ask for tips. The central square of Mapastepec is, as of Huixta and Tapachula in the previous days, "invaded" by thousands of people who shelter from heat and rain under plastic tarps.

From the top of the Municipal House, Carla Valdenegro, the mayor of the place, smiles, excited to see the reception that his people have offered to migrants: "Mexico has always been characterized by having a great human quality and us from humility, we offer what little we have with those who need it most... so that the crossing be made as less painful as possible." Mapastepec, in coordination with the UNHCR team that the follow-up to the Caravan, has conditioned halls, churches, and shelters for migrants to rest this night. They give them food, water, clothing as well as medical and legal assistance.

"No one is here for pleasure, we have endured hunger, sun, rain, cold... we suffered a lot but thanks to God, the mexicans have helped us in everything we have been able to," says Paul Ruiz to THE WORLD. In his 24 years of life, it is the second time that Ruiz is about achieving the "american dream". He was deported from Arizona in 2017 and has been found in the Caravan a second chance to try to reach the united States, although he confesses that: "if Peña Nieto offers us welcoming migrants, many of us are going to stay. Mexico is a very large country and full of opportunities".

In the midst of the uproar Ruiz, become one of the leaders of the group, takes the speaker and throw a simple question to those present: "do you Want to continue tomorrow, with the route?". A big yes unison reverberates throughout the plaza, spreading joy and hope to the exhausted migrants. There are No doubts or complaints, only joy by getting a little closer to the goal. The hardships of the journey they have managed to compact a group that, each time it feels more like a great family of equals, in search of a future away from poverty and violence.

The local vendors feel frustrated in a corner of the square. They hoped to be able to make his August, particularly with the arrival of thousands of people to your town but nothing more far from reality. Migrants save every peso they have for the moment in which you really need. Only a small child dares to approach them with the hope that it will give away an ice cream. And in the end he gets out and runs to share it with his brother. His mother, Jaqueline finds reasons to smile in the midst of the misfortune that supposed to be part of this group. This mother is honduran, decided to leave his country and join the Caravan with her husband and their 4 children: "In all countries there is violence but the insecurity in Honduras has surpassed all limits. I did not want my children to grow up in a place like this, that's why we decided to add ourselves to this path".

The greatest of its sons is 12 years old, the other three less than 8, but confesses that, for the moment, "hold up well" the hard pace of the journey. Only the biggest really know what they are doing and where you are going: "you will not be sorry to have left Honduras, you have the illusion of getting together with their cousins in the united States," recognizes his mother. For the three young ones, the story is another, the same one that told Guido Oferice to his son in the movie Life is Beautiful: "They believe that this is nothing more than an excursion, a family vacation, so to speak," says Jaqueline.

Still separate them more than 3,000 kilometers before reaching his goal, and the worst part is yet to come, as recognized by Jaqueline: "you have Already told us that when we cross the center of Mexico, the situation will be different. More stiff and less friendly, the patience and the good spirits be exhausted, but we have clear that we will follow. My worst fear is that I pass something and not be able to take care of my children or that they are tired of walking because you load them in your arms yes that is heavy".

Leaving behind this family to recharge your batteries, and avoiding to step on the blankets of the thousands of people who flooded the plaza, we dealt with Miguel, a migrant guatemalan desperate to find his nephews: "please report this, agents of migration mexican I took my two nephews under the age of age in the catch of Viva Mexico. I haven't heard of them and no one gives me answers".

This is the other reality of a caravan so crowded that, to date, no one has been able to put a figure to his dimension. There are many who fall by the way, hundreds that have already applied for assisted repatriation and some that fall in the networks of trafficking, and extortion. The idea of the Caravan was precisely to travel in a group to take care of each other from the many dangers of walking Mexico. According to the numbers of Doctors Without Borders, seven of every 10 migrants suffer at least one episode of violence during their route, and three out of every 10 women are victims of sexual abuse.

The impact of this Caravan grows with every step that you take toward the united States. The same Donald Trump has managed to, to the beat of twtse, that each time will add up to more migrants to this project. The last members of a second caravan that crosses these days in Guatemala. Ruiz confesses that in the past few days are taking a more leisurely cruise: "we Want to wait for those who come behind, between more people is better for all".

The silence gets to the very heart of Mapastepec before the night falls. Fathers and mothers ask more young people to tone it down and take away the music, the Caravan starts in a few hours a stage, and need to be rested, is the only way to overcome the difficulties of a route, that only the most desperate dare to take.

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Updated Date: 26 October 2018, 07:00

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