Migrants in caravan shrug over US vote, eye change at home

  • In Business/Economy
  • 2018-11-07 23:04:07Z

MEXICO CITY (AP) - The migrants in a caravan used by President Donald Trump as a campaign issue were almost universally unaware of the results of the U.S. midterm elections.

The Central Americans were more concerned with the dangers of northern Mexico as they struggled to reach the U.S. border, still hundreds of miles away, than with who controls the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Kenia Johana Hernandez, a 26-year Honduran farmworker, left her country with her 2-year-old daughter because she couldn't afford child care or schooling. Asked if her decision to emigrate had anything to do with the U.S. elections, the answer was a simple, "No."

For her, the caravan was merely a safety measure. "If I had come alone with just my daughter, maybe I wouldn't have even made it this far because it is so dangerous," she said.

Gilberta Raula, 38, from Samala, Guatemala, joined the caravan at the Mexican border because it seemed her best chance to get her 15-year-old daughter out of the country. She left six other children behind, but wants to give her daughter an opportunity to study and work.

She had only the vaguest idea of the issues surrounding Tuesday's U.S. midterms.

What she did know, she said, was that "the U.S. president has acted badly."

"The way we hear it, he doesn't like anybody," she said of Trump. Told that Trump's Republican party had lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives she said, "Ah, good." She, like others, expressed hope that somehow it might help their chances of finding refuge.

Franklin Martinez, a 46-year-old farmworker from La Esperanza, Honduras, said Wednesday he'd probably stay in Mexico City for a while before setting off again northward, to see if things changed following the U.S. elections.

"Because now it's an anti-immigrant wave," Martinez said. "They're not well-received at the border."

Experts agree that the formation of this latest caravan and the others that have set off for the U.S. border before it have far more to do with politics in Central America and current conditions in Mexico, where drug gangs frequently kidnap migrants to demand ransom from their families in the U.S.

"The first concern is collective security, there is safety in numbers," said Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope. "There is a political logic to this, but it's not exactly aimed at influencing the U.S. elections."

"It brings pressure on the authorities of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador more than anything else," he said. "This sends a message that there is a human rights crisis in the Northern Triangle of Central America."

That view was shared by former Honduran lawmaker Bartolo Fuentes, who helped formed the caravan of just a few hundred migrants that set out from Honduras on Oct. 13, before growing to as many as 7,000 at its peak. Fuentes told a news conference at the Mexico City stadium where the migrants are staying that the caravan embarrasses the Honduran government "because now the world is seeing the tragedy we live with."

Raul Benitez, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said the Republican losses in the House suggest that Trump tried to use the migrants "politically, to depict the caravan as an invasion, and it didn't work."

Benitez said the caravan has put as much pressure on Mexico as the United States. After the migrants entered, Mexico came under pressure to accelerate the refugee and asylum process for Central Americans.

"The caravan shows that Mexico could give more humanitarian treatment to these people," said Benitez, "that Mexico should treat these people the way Mexico wants the U.S. to treat migrants."

On Wednesday afternoon, Christopher Gascon, the Mexico representative for the International Organization for Migration, estimated there were about 6,000 migrants at the sports complex and maybe another 4,000 in caravans that are working their way through southern Mexico.

But some migrants had been visiting the organization's tent asking about how they can return home.

"They perhaps didn't have a very clear idea of what they faced," Gascon said. He said the first bus leaving Mexico City to take migrants back to their countries was scheduled to depart Wednesday night with 40 to 50 people.

Meanwhile, other migrants were focusing on the daunting task of reaching the U.S. border and presenting asylum requests there. The U.S. elections occupied only a small part of their thoughts.

Nora Torres, a 53-year-old Honduran, anxiously asked a reporter: "How did he (Trump) do? Did he do well or poorly?"

Torres had run a small restaurant but closed it because gangs were demanding too much protection money.

For her, Trump's threats to make attaining asylum even more difficult, of detaining applicants in tent cities and of sending as many as 15,000 U.S. troops to the southern border were hard to understand.

"The United States needs Hispanic labor, because it is cheaper," she said. "So why do they discriminate against us?"


More Related News

Migrants get cool reception in Mexican border town
Migrants get cool reception in Mexican border town

Many of the nearly 3,000 Central American migrants who have reached the Mexican border with California via caravan said Saturday they do not feel welcome in the city of Tijuana, where hundreds more migrants are headed after more than a month on the road. The vast majority were camped at an outdoor sports

As Florida recount wraps up, Democrat Gillum concedes
As Florida recount wraps up, Democrat Gillum concedes

Democrat Andrew Gillum ended his hard-fought campaign for Florida governor Saturday with just hours remaining for counties to turn in official recount results, conceding to a Republican whose party has held that office since 1999. Gillum, in a video he posted on Facebook, congratulated Republican Ron

The Latest: White House writing up rules for reporters
The Latest: White House writing up rules for reporters

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the legal challenge to the White House's decision to strip CNN reporter Jim Acosta of his White House press credentials (all times local):

Judge: White House must return CNN
Judge: White House must return CNN's Jim Acosta's credential

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing in Washington. The judge said Acosta

Bitter battle for Florida Senate seat goes to hand recount
Bitter battle for Florida Senate seat goes to hand recount
  • Tech
  • 2018-11-16 00:28:22Z

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's acrimonious battle for the U.S. Senate headed Thursday to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Economy

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.