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Migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the US are blocked by security forces in Guatemala Migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the US are blocked by security forces in Guatemala  (AFP or licensors)

Caravan of migrants halted on Guatemala border

The latest caravan of migrants originating in Honduras, is facing a markedly different response from the authorities of neighboring Guatemala and Mexico.

By James Blears

A confrontation on a road near the traversed border from Honduras across to Guatemala,  in which hundreds of migrants were held back by anti riot personnel clad in olive green uniforms wielding batons and then firing tear gas, was a portrait etched in sheer desperation.   The Police ranks which were six deep,  held off the attempted break through as the more desperate elements surged forward but the majority backed off.  Starting off from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, numbering three thousand, the caravan has now increased to more than ten thousand people. Its members are  encouraged by Joe Biden, who`ll be elected US President tomorrow (Wednesday) promising a path to citizenship for more than eleven million undocumented people already in the United States.  But they`re ignoring advice that an exodus from their countries to the US border isn`t a fast track solution. The Guatemalan Government is urging its counterparts in Honduras to stop mass exits, and the Mexican Foreign Ministry is supporting this stance. 

However, that doesn`t take into to account the situation in Honduras which has worsened from desperate to critical.  People who have fled their homes, have done so because of acute poverty, no job prospects, the constant menace of organized crime and two hurricanes which hit the country in November, plus the ravages of the pandemic.  Their plight, has caused their flight. 

This isn`t a problem which is going to go away overnight, especially as projections for economic recovery are likely to extend to years. The incoming Administration in Washington has to realize that they will have to deal with a major crisis in Central America.  A viable solution to stem this exit strategy is urgently needed. 

Listen to the report by James Blears
19 January 2021, 19:23