The ongoing tussle between Hondura migrants and Guatemalan police has been a heated debate for over the past few days. When the migrant rights are violated, when they are barricaded from building up their settlements in a new pasture, who is to be blamed?
A few kilometres outside the city of La Lima in Central America lies Honduras which was ravished by the anger of mother earth. More than four million people in Honduras were affected by the tropical storms that triggered mass floods and landslides. COVID-19 lock downs have since paralysed local economies and health systems across Central America, and new caravans of migrants heading for North America are being organised on social media as many people see no other option than to flee.
Of late, Honduras has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and the hurricanes that hit the country in November leaving its most productive northern regions in tatters. Many of the migrants hope for a warmer reception from the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden who will be inaugurated Wednesday. As a result of this the migration of Hondura inhabitants has met with an unexpected surge over the past few days. But the villainy of COVID-19 pandemic has caused a stumbling block on their way. Since the migrants are barging in like swarms of bees the risk of the epidemic curve getting augmented is high and hence cannot be completely neglected. This is the primary reason why they were physically barred from entering by the Guatemalan soldiers which unfortunately turned out to be brutal and oppressive.
What will the Honduras’ do? Where will they go?
Prohibiting the entry of the migrants, Guatemalan soldiers blocked part of a caravan of as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants on Saturday at a point not far from where they entered the country seeking to reach the U.S. border.
The soldiers, many wearing helmets and wielding shields and sticks, formed ranks across a highway in Chiquimula, near the Honduras border, to block the procession of migrants.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei issued a statement calling on Honduran authorities “to contain the mass exit of its inhabitants.” On Friday, the migrants entered Guatemala by pushing past about 2,000 police and soldiers posted at the border; most entered without showing the negative coronavirus test that Guatemala requires.
“The government of Guatemala regrets this violation of national sovereignty and calls on the governments of Central America to take measures to avoid putting their inhabitants at risk amid the health emergency due to the pandemic,” Giammattei’s statement continued.
Also, Guatemala has set up almost a dozen control points on highways, and may start busing more migrants back to Honduras, as it has done before, arguing they pose a risk to themselves and others by travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Governments throughout the region have made it clear they will not let the caravan through.
But the Honduras have not yet left behind their faith and efforts. Many of them hope for a warmer reception from the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden who will be inaugurated Wednesday. So far, Biden’s team has indicated it will not make immediate changes to policies at the U.S.-Mexico border.