Friday, November 2
As night fell on a Mexican highway heading south from La Tinaja in the state of Veracruz on our way to meet the Honduran caravan, we came upon the first group of 200 Honduran refugees. They had walked more than 25 miles today in the humid heat, without water or food of any kind. Those we spoke with had entered Mexico from Guatemala on October 15. Although some 7,000 people, almost all Hondurans, entered en masse, some groups are separated by distance if they were transported by sympathetic people.
The group of 200 Hondurans we met had women and men of all ages, including pregnant women, babies and children.
About 5:45 pm, the autumn sky was darkened by rain clouds. We came upon them and stopped our car to hear their stories. Kensy, an 18-year-old woman, ran across the highway asking for water and food. We crossed the highway with her to meet the caravan members. They were exhausted and dehydrated, pleading for water as most had had none all day. We emptied our car and gave them what we had, and drove back quickly to a rural store to buy dozens of 1.5 liter water bottles, hundreds of bananas, and milk for the children.
As they received the water, milk and bananas, their closeness and collective spirit of sharing, taking care of each other along the arduous journey, was a touching sight. Their determination to journey some 2,000 miles, despite the terrible suffering and complete lack of money or resources, is what also has inspired many in Mexico to come to their aid.
Fani, a young pregnant woman and her husband Gustavo, said, “The Mexican people have been nothing but kind, giving us food, water and love. But today was very hard on this long, remote highway with no pueblos or people on the route.”
What we experienced with this humble and determined people tonight completely upends the racist, immigrant-bashing lies of Donald Trump.
When asked, they strongly rejected Trump’s claims of being criminals, they told us over and over they seek safety from a dangerous situation, and they need jobs. Leaving from various parts of Honduras, many have already walked more than 800 miles at this point in their journey.
One man, Dennis Alfredo, with his wife, teenage son, and four-year-old daughter, said, “We have done nothing wrong in our country.”
Patting his pocket, he said, “My wife and I have all our papers ready to present. We invite Donald Trump to investigate us one by one, he will find no problem.”
Yovani is with five family members. “There is a lot of crime in Honduras. The gangs are affecting us very much. They want to kill us because they shake us down for money, and we don’t have any because we are poor. So they threaten us with death. That is why we come here.”
On Friday night, Veracruz governor Miguel Ángel Yunes, announced that the state will provide 160 buses to transport the more than 5,000 refugees to Mexico City, or other destinations they wish, as well as provide humanitarian aid, water, food, and social services to them, starting Saturday, November 3.
Despite this hopeful pronouncement, the Honduran refugees and other Latin American immigrants face even greater danger given the ominous threats by Trump — calling for the shooting of immigrants, the deployment of 15,000 troops — when they reach the border.
Solidarity is urgently needed.