Izabal, Guatemala. Once again, nearly nine thousand people have begun the exodus from Honduran lands. The reality of extreme economic precariousness facing much of the Central American region has been exacerbated in recent months by both the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the devastation caused by Hurricanes Iota and Eta. In addition, the population is threatened by a climate of widespread violence, unemployment and increasing state repression.
In the days that the caravan has been advancing, throughout Honduran and Guatemalan territory, it has already encountered situations of tension and confusion. The crisis has a regional scope, while the migratory flow causes diverse reactions in the countries that migrants pass by or hope to arrive.
Among the people in the caravan are many minors and older adults. There are even entire families who have chosen to leave their country of origin, having lost everything. Most of the people are hungry and do not know where to go to spend the night or where they can receive health or civil assistance. Nevertheless, the Church works in unity and collaboration, through the Houses of Migrants in Guatemala and Mexico, as well as through solidarity networks of Religious Life and civil society.
Our brothers in the Province of Centroamérica, specifically in the community of Semají, Izabal, Guatemala, are also part of this solidarity network that welcomes and offers help, food and shelter to our migrant brothers and sisters. “It is moving to see the children soaked by the rain and with sores on their feet,” commented our brother Fr. José Abel Carbajal Calles, cmf, a member of that community, who, together with the other brothers and members of the parish, takes care of various groups that manage to evade the military fences with the firm purpose of reaching the border and being able to cross into Mexico.
Certainly the “state of prevention” measures issued by the governments and the actions of the police who try to disperse migrants, even using violence and disrespecting the rights of individuals, are of concern. Nevertheless, our brothers continue to join the call so that each government in the region, faced with the caravans of the Central American exodus, can guarantee their rights and attend to humanitarian needs.