Freddy Rivas, second right, of Tocoa, Honduras, sits with his sons Josue, left, and Elkin, center, and his brother Mario, as they wait with scores of other migrants hoping to join a caravan to travel to the U.S. border, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Mexico braces for new caravan of Central American migrants

This caravan is being called the ‘mother of call caravans’

Mexico is bracing for the possible arrival of the “mother of all caravans,” even as doubts arise over whether the group of Central American migrants will be all that big.

Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero has said a caravan of migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala could be forming.

“We have information that a new caravan is forming in Honduras, that they’re calling ‘the mother of all caravans,’ and they are thinking it could have more than 20,000 people,” Sanchez Cordero said Wednesday.

But a WhatsApp group calling for people to gather Saturday in El Salvador to set off for Guatemala only has about 206 members.

Activist Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied several caravans in Mexico, said reports about “the mother of all caravans” were false, claiming “this is information that (U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen) Nielsen is using to create fear.”

READ MORE: New migrant caravan sets out from Honduras for U.S.

His group, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said in a statement there was no evidence the new caravan would be that large, noting “there has never been a caravan of the size that Sanchez Cordero mentioned.” Indeed, past caravans hit very serious logistical hurdles at 7,000-strong.

She and others suspect the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump may be trying to fan fears of a big caravan to turn the U.S. national agenda back to the immigration issue.

Honduran activist Bartolo Fuentes, who accompanied a large caravan last year, dismissed the new reports as “part of the U.S. government’s plans, something made up to justify their actions.”

A caravan of about 2,500 Central Americans and Cubans is currently making its way through Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. The largest of last year’s caravans in Mexico contained about 7,000 people at its peak, though some estimates ran as high as 10,000 at some points.

Mexico appears to be both tiring of the caravans and eager not to anger the United States. It has stopped granting migrants humanitarian visas at the border, and towns along the well-travelled route to Mexico City sometimes no longer allow caravans to spend the night.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday that Mexico is doing its part to fight immigrant smuggling.

“We are going to do everything we can to help. We don’t in any way want a confrontation with the U.S. government,” he said. “It is legitimate that they are displeased and they voice these concerns.”

READ MORE: Tired and angry, migrant caravan splinters in Mexican state

Sanchez Cordero has pledged to form a police line of “containment” around Mexico’s narrow Tehuantepec Isthmus to stop migrants from continuing north to the U.S. border.

The containment belt would consist of federal police and immigration agents, but such highway blockades and checkpoints have not stopped large and determined groups of migrants in the past.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read