Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

The forlorn Hondurans hoping to reach the US

The forlorn Hondurans hoping to reach the US

"Well, we're looking at a lot of things", he said.

The slow procession north has led President Donald Trump to threaten to cut aid to Central American nations and to send troops to the USA border if Mexico failed to stop the surge. Dozens of Mexican federal police officers are on the border bridge, with hundreds more behind them.

Mr. Pompeo is expected to meet with Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, Foreign Secretary-designate Marcelo Ebrard, and departing President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In recent years, Mexico has deported more Central American immigrants than the United States. Migrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico.

In contrast to the earlier caravan, which moved deeper into the interior of Mexico before officials began intensive efforts to process the migrants, the Mexican government has focused on the new group right on its southern border with Guatemala.

She said: "Why would I want to go to the United States if I'm going to be persecuted" there as well.

"In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have nearly no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" the president noted in follow-up tweet, which was isolated and quoted by many news organizations as a blockbuster headline. Some climbed atop the gate and the USA -donated jeeps as they clamoured to be allowed to pass.

Pompeo's trip to Central America and Mexico came as a caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants prepared to cross Mexico's southern border with Guatemala on their northbound journey, drawing warnings from Trump that he would cut aid to the region, deploy the military and close the US-Mexican border if authorities did not stop them.

"It's a very hard situation for the Mexican government", says Ana Maria Salazar, a former Pentagon official who's now a security analyst in Mexico City.

"I want to get to the States to contribute to that country", Cristian said, "to do any kind of work, picking up garbage".

Aerial images show dense crowds at the Guatemala-Mexico worldwide bridge in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.

Hundreds of Mexican police officers and troops have stationed themselves along the other side of the tall fence which separates it from Guatemala.

Geronimo Gutierrez, Mexico's ambassador to the USA, said his country had reason to believe that the migrant caravan from Honduras was not the result of a grassroots effort but was "politically motivated". Gates at the border crossing were broken as they streamed toward a bridge into Mexico.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said via Twitter on October 19 that he had asked permission from Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to send Honduran civil protection personnel to the bridge to help the migrants.

Selvin Flores, a 35-year-old shopkeeper from the Honduran city of Nacaome, says people who "were causing disorder" have been expelled from the group and handed over to Guatemalan police.

"Whoever wants to work in our country is going to have support, is going to have a work visa", he said.

"Only God on high can stop us", Escobar said. Residents of Mexican and Guatemalan border cities brought water and food to the Hondurans after yesterday's police attack.

"He's making a political calculation", said Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's incoming foreign minister, about Trump's posting on Twitter, in a reference to US midterm elections in November.

Before the arrival of the latest group, authorities said that collectively more than 1400 migrants had been left by smugglers in the broiling desert - or in one case in a drenching thunderstorm - in remote areas by Arizona's border with Mexico since August 20.

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