A caravan of Central American and South American migrants headed to the U.S.-Mexico border has been halted in southern Mexico, held up by sickness and violence.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 migrants departed the Guatemala-Mexico border headed north on foot nearly two weeks ago. The group was walking through the Mexican state of Chiapas on its way to Mexico City, 800 miles away, but was blocked from continuing out of Chiapas by the Mexican military, as well as a mosquito-borne illness that has led to hospitalizations of children in the group, according to the Mexican government’s National Institute of Migration.National Guard soldiers on Sunday opened fire on a group of migrants who tried to pass through a checkpoint in Chiapas, according to local media reports. Four migrants were injured, and one person from Cuba was killed in the incident.
“How many deaths is necessary for AMLO to understand that the military should not carry out migratory tasks?” Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division, wrote on Twitter about the incident, referring to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The National Institute of Migration disclosed on Monday that six cases of Dengue fever were suspected among the group’s members, including in five children. A local news outlet reported Tuesday that 17 children in the caravan have symptoms of a cough, fever, and diarrhea, but local hospitals have refused to treat the sick because they may have the coronavirus, according to Irineo Mujica and Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, the leaders of the group.
Mujica accused the Mexican government of trying to “create confusion and xenophobia,” according to a translated version of one media report.
“The health sector was used to try to contain the contingent by ensuring that there were cases of Dengue, which is not true,” Mujica said. “They are the tactics of Donald Trump that migrants brought diseases, but it is only to criminalize them.”
“The migrants have had a little dehydration from all they had to go through. They are completely fine. We put 30 (children to be checked), of which the institute checked five, and they were in charge of spreading this, but the INM is lying. They only have dehydration,” he said.
The National Institute of Migration estimated this week that 1,200 people are a part of the caravan.