By MARIA VERZA and CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, Associated Press
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Thousands of Central American migrants decided to depart Mexico City on Friday and head toward the northern city of Tijuana, opting for the longer but likely safer route to the U.S. border, caravan organizers said.
The decision was made late Thursday in a Mexico City stadium where roughly 5,000 migrants have spent the past few days resting, receiving medical attention and debating how to proceed with their arduous trek. It came shortly after caravan representatives met with officials from the local United Nations office and requested buses to take them to the border.
Caravan coordinator Milton Benitez told the migrants that they were still waiting for a response. He later said to The Associated Press the officials had offered them buses for women and children but organizers demanded that they be for everyone. U.N. representatives could not be immediately reached to confirm this.
The migrants hoped that the buses would arrive but decided to leave Mexico City even if they didn’t.
Roberto Valdovinos, who is working as a liaison between migrants and the press, said Friday morning that a 750-member contingent had left the stadium to continue their journey north.
About 200 migrants, impatient and tired of sleeping in tents at a Mexico City stadium, took the subway to the outskirts of the capital and were provided by the city with a police escort and express trains.
Eddy Rivera, a 37-year-old farm worker from Cortes, Honduras, said he couldn’t take staying at the sports complex any longer.
“We’re all sick from the cold, from the humidity. We want to leave already, we have to get to Tijuana,” said Rivera, who left behind his four children and wife in Honduras and wanted to earn money to build a house.
The immediate goal for most of those heading out Friday was the state of Queretaro, 100 miles to the northwest.
“God, please let the buses arrive, but if not we will walk,” said 18-year-old single mother Delia Murillo who left her girl in Honduras because she feared for her safety on the trek.
“There will be no buses,” said Hector Wilfredo Rosales, a 46-year-old electrician from Olancho, Honduras, who was traveling with his 16-year-old son-in-law. “They have lied to us a lot but we will walk like we have done so far.”
The group’s turn toward the Gulf Coast last week suggested it was aiming to cross in Texas. They then went back inland to Mexico City, where they regrouped and rested this week.
Mexico City is more than 600 miles from the nearest U.S. border crossing, at McAllen, Texas. The crossing at Tijuana is about 1,800 miles away.
A previous caravan in the spring opted for the longer route to Tijuana, across from San Diego. That caravan steadily dwindled to only about 200 people by the time it reached the border.
“California is the longest route but is the best border, while Texas is the closest but the worst” border, said Jose Luis Fuentes of the National Lawyers Guild to gathered migrants.
Rosales said he …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World