(April 28, 2019) Thousands of people fleeing conflict or poverty in Nigeria, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Haiti and Cuba have traveled across the oceans, through the jungles and mountains of South America, through Central America, in a route that, until now, ends in the City of Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala.
More than 1,500 migrants spend weeks or months waiting for exit visas that never seem to arrive.
Their lives are a daily round of boredom, lack of response from the authorities, dirty and overcrowded bathrooms and insufficient food. Some scurry to buy their own food to cook over an open fire.
According to Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and migrant rights in the Washington Office in Latin America, attention to the large caravans that meandered north to the United States last year, combined with Mexico's fast track for thousands of humanitarian visas in January and the difficulties for migrants in Asia or Africa to reach Europe, has made Mexico more attractive to international smuggling networks.
Now the Mexican government is trying to better control flows, and perhaps even limit transit visas, amid pressure from US President Donald Trump to suppress migration to the United States.
The accumulation on the southern border of Mexico also seems, in part, to be a function of budget cuts in Mexico, as well as the country's limited capacity to handle a large number of migrants, especially those from distant countries, some of which lack of the infrastructure to handle them. repatriations
Many of the displaced migrants in southern Mexico take the endless wait for visas calmly; They have gone through much worse in their long tortuous journeys.
"The thief took everything: my cell phone, my document, my passport, I lost everything at gunpoint, it's very difficult," says Paul Eneceron, a 21-year-old economics student from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who left on January 13 from Chile, where she worked packing fish and baking cakes for 2 and a half years, hoping to get to Mexico, where she has relatives among the thousands of Haitians who have settled in Tijuana.
He crossed Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, but like most, he found that the border between Panama and Colombia is the most dangerous.
It was there where the thieves came out of the jungle, he said.
One of the longest routes was the one run by Musa Kolo, a Nigerian welder. He said he fled the violence of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in the state of Borno in Nigeria several months ago.
He went to Côte d'Ivoire, where he was kept on a freighter to Brazil.
"Brazil was not easy for me, so I decided to continue the trip to the United States to have a better life," said Kolo, who said that once it was discovered, the crew took pity on him and left him in Brazil, and he He made His way through Colombia and to Panama.
From there, the route, now worn, leads to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and finally to Mexico.
Like Eneceron, Kolo fought in the border zone without Colombia-Panama roads known as Darien Gap.
The large number of transcontinental migrants going through this dangerous route speaks of the desperation of their situations at home.
Charles Lwanga, a 38-year-old teacher, said he fled Cameroon two months ago to escape violence against the English-speaking population of the Francophone majority government.
Lwanga traveled to Ecuador and then headed north, hoping to seek asylum in the United States.
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