A massive migrant caravan charged into Guatemala, the first since the coronavirus pandemic hit Central America in March. Videos show thousands of Honduran migrants pour across the Guatemala border as they march toward their final destination of the United States.
More than 3,000 migrants illegally crossed from Honduras and into Guatemala by midday on Thursday, The Guardian reported. New York Times correspondent Brent McDonald said, "Guatemala border officials expect another 3,000 migrants to enter from Honduras" on Friday. "That makes 6,000 so far en route to Mexico and the U.S. Just in time for the U.S. election."
Guatemalan authorities had planned to register the migrants and offer assistance to anyone willing to turn around and go back to Honduras. However, the caravan stampeded through the border and past the massively outnumbered armed guards in the Guatemalan city of El Corinto.
Guatemala border officials expect another 3,000 migrants to enter from Honduras tomorrow. That makes 6,000 so far e… https://t.co/uKU6EDXLcq— Brent McDonald (@Brent McDonald)1601582431.0
Here comes the latest caravan, gleefully smashing through Honduran police on their way to the US southern border. V… https://t.co/GDD9cLV03u— Todd Bensman (@Todd Bensman)1601639087.0
One Honduran man died during the chaotic scene.
"The Guatemalan Institute of Migration said the man, who was not identified, was traveling aboard a tractor-trailer in the border town of Entre Ríos when he fell to the ground and was subsequently run over by the truck," the Daily Mail reported.
"The migrants who arrived at the Guatemala border on Thursday had set out walking the previous night from San Pedro Sula, and many wore masks," according to The Guardian. "They appeared to be mostly young men, though there were the occasional small children being pushed in strollers."
"They're leaving in groups and what they're looking for are life alternatives outside Honduras because Honduras has nothing to offer," Scalabrinian Sister Nyzelle Juliana Donde, director of the Honduran bishops' migrant ministry, told the Catholic News Service. "What most migrants do is leave for basic needs. The pandemic exacerbated hunger, poverty, lack of opportunity. 'Maras' and gangs have also worked very hard during this time."
Guatemalan officials have concerns about a massive caravan traveling through the country.
"We're talking about a caravan in the middle of a pandemic," said Guatemala's migration director Guillermo Díaz. "The situation is complicated because they broke the health protocols and we don't know who has entered (the country)."
Guatemala has had over 3,200 COVID-19 deaths, and Honduras has had nearly 2,400 coronavirus deaths, according to Worldometers. Guatemala only opened its borders last week after being closed for six months to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Guatemalan government promised to detain and deport anyone caught illegally crossing its border.
In October 2018, President Donald Trump said he would be ending or "substantially reducing" foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador if they didn't do something about the caravans flowing into the United States.
In June 2019, Mexico and the U.S. reached a deal to curb migrants flooding across the border.
"Given the dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States, both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation," the joint agreement states. "The Governments of the United States and Mexico will work together to immediately implement a durable solution."
On Friday, journalist Todd Bensman posted a video of Mexican federal troops at the Guatemalan border preparing to stop the migrant caravan from entering Mexico.
The last time Mexico marshaled federal troops like this for a migrant caravan (January 2020), every single migrant… https://t.co/eNhtv9VTj8— Todd Bensman (@Todd Bensman)1601662026.0