On April 20, 2020, about twenty cars joined a rally in the streets of downtown Northampton, Massachusetts calling for national and international solidarity as we face the Covid-19 pandemic. Signs were placed on cars calling for an end to the US sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea; to allow Cuban medical staff and medicine to enter our country to help fight the Coronavirus pandemic and save lives; to end the blockade of Gaza; to bail out people not corporations; and to fund Medicare for all, not endless wars and the military-industrial complex. The rally was organized by The Latin America Solidarity Coalition of Western Massachusetts together with the Resistance Center for Peace & Justice of Northampton, and co-sponsored by Code Pink of Western Massachusetts and...
A broad coalition of prison abolition activists took to Philadelphia’s streets in over 120 cars—most with just one occupant—to demand officials massively decarcerate jails, prisons and detention centers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Four separate car caravans—decorated with signs and banners—circled City Hall, the Criminal Justice Center, Gov. Tom Wolf’s Philadelphia office and the federal court building near the Liberty Bell. Sarah Morris with the #No215Jail Coalition stated: “It is completely unacceptable that elected officials have not taken sufficient steps to release people in Philadelphia’s prisons, jails, and detention centers.” Morris, who also represents the Youth Art and Self Empowerment Project, continued: “Their inaction is putting thousands of incarcerated people, workers and their family members at extreme and unnecessary risk. "
The new year began with the ongoing exodus of Central Americans as part of caravans of migrants and asylum seekers, which gripped international media in 2018. With continued pressure from the United States, migrants face an increasingly hostile and militarized response from Mexico. The first caravan to leave formed two groups as they set out from San Pedro Sula in Honduras on January 15...
Another migrant caravan will leave Honduras while stranded Central American migrants in Tijuana face violence from U.S. officers. Reports of stranded migrants in the Mexico-United States border being fired with tear gas shells by United States border patrol surfaced Tuesday as another migrant "caravan," estimated at 15,000 people, is reportedly getting ready to leave Honduras on Jan. 15. "They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan," said Irma Garrido, a member of the Reactiva Tijuana Foundation migrant advocacy group. The new caravan will probably be joined by more people from El Salvador and Guatemala. According to Garrido, they will not immediately attempt to reach the Mexico-U.S. border...
Democrats called Murdock’s comments “disturbing,” especially since Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has often told asylum seekers to go through the process rather than crossing into the country illegally. CBP officials say that the comments by Murdock were taken out of context. “During this briefing, CBP reiterated what we have said numerous times, that with the influx of Central American family units arriving at our ports of entry without proper documentation, and crossing our borders illegally, the processing system at CBP and our partner agencies has hit capacity,” Corry Schiermeyer, CBP press secretary, told BuzzFeed. “As more people are processed, the capacity challenges increase, and become unsustainable.”
The Trump administration announced a new policy that effectively guts the right of asylum for refugees from Central America. From now on, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin expelling non-Mexican refugees as soon as they have made application for asylum after crossing the US-Mexico border. They will be immediately deported to Mexico instead of being allowed to stay in the US pending the adjudication of their asylum claims. The Mexican government, taking its orders from Washington, will not oppose these deportations or bring any legal action against the United States for a policy that is in flagrant violation of international law. Its only concession to the refugees is that Mexico will not confine them in US-style detention camps.
Two groups of Central American migrants made separate marches on the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana Tuesday, demanding that they be processed through the asylum system more quickly and in greater numbers, that deportations be halted and that President Trump either let them into the country or pay them $50,000 each to go home. On the one-month anniversary of their arrival into Tijuana, caravan members are pressing the United States to take action but they are dwindling in numbers since more than 6,000 first arrived to the city’s shelters. Approximately 700 have voluntarily returned to their country of origin, 300 have been deported, and 2,500 have applied for humanitarian visas in Mexico, according to Xochtil Castillo, a caravan member who met with Mexican officials Tuesday.
U.S. authorities arrested 32 people at a demonstration Monday that was organized by a Quaker group on the border with Mexico, authorities said. Demonstrators were calling for an end to detaining and deporting immigrants and showing support for migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum seekers. A photographer for The Associated Press saw about a dozen people being handcuffed after they were told by agents to back away from a wall that the Border Patrol calls "an enforcement zone." The American Friends Service Committee, which organized the demonstration, said 30 people were stopped by agents in riot gear and taken into custody while they tried to move forward to offer a ceremonial blessing near the wall.
I remember sitting across the table from my friend Pavel in a coffee shop in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa in 2014. The conversation was casual and frank, as it often is, when talking to Hondurans about the imminent possibility of death. ‘The worst thing is that I know I could die in the dumbest way. It’ll happen while I’m leaving the grocery store, walking out of a coffee shop, or driving to band practice.’ Pavel was a well-known musician and activist. His rock band had played an important role in denouncing the 2009 military coup in Honduras and reaching popular audiences about themes of poverty and structural inequality.
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — U.S. border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants protesting near the border with Mexico on Sunday after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries, and American authorities shut down the nation’s busiest border crossing from the city where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum. The situation devolved after the group began a peaceful march to appeal for the U.S. to speed processing of asylum claims for Central American migrants marooned in Tijuana. Mexican police had kept them from walking over a bridge leading to the Mexican port of entry, but the migrants pushed past officers to walk across the Tijuana River below the bridge.
Thousands of migrants from Central America have made politically and socially visible the structural violence and systematic violation of their human rights that they experience on a daily basis, without governments attending to the causes or the basic necessities of survival, through their organisation into caravans. These are some of the reasons that forced them to flee their countries, with only what they carry on their backs and suffering the hardships of a long journey towards an uncertain destination. They flee from capitalist criminal, institutional, state and patriarchal violence. They advance in defiance of the threats of the police and military who guard the different borders, as if at war with the wretched of the earth.
Central American migrants, both desperate and courageous, have thrust themselves into the center of Mexican and U.S. politics with their demand for refuge and asylum. As the head of the NGO Pueblos Sin Fronteras told a reporter, “This isn’t just a caravan, it’s an exodus created by hunger and death.” The thousands of migrants organized in caravans and walking north from Central America, through Mexico, and to the United States—some 3,000 miles—have raised a challenge to the governments and to the people of North America. Driven by poverty and violence, their long march is an implicit critique of the Central American governments that have failed to protect them and have made it impossible for them to earn a living.
Today marks 31 days of the historic exodus of Central American migrants, known as the “Migrant Caravan,” which departed from Honduran territory on October 13, 2018. Our exodus is a consequence of forced displacement caused by the widespread systematic violence suffered by men, women, children and entire families who flee from poverty and impunity in our countries of origin. The whole world is watching with great concern as more than 13 thousand people in Mexican territory advance towards the U.S. border. This monumental collective rejection of violence has reached the dimension of a humanitarian crisis. In an exercise of autonomy as a displaced group, we named a delegation to dialogue with United Nations authorities in Mexico on behalf of the more than five thousand migrants housed at the shelter in Mexico City, Mexico.
By the time this blog is published, the results of the US midterm elections will be known. I’m willing to bet now that if the Democrats hoped-for “Blue Wave” does not materialize, their number one scapegoat will be the caravan of refugees from Central America which is slowly crossing Mexico. I have been astounded at the number of people, even people who in the past have been solidarity activists, who think that the desperate families escaping State violence in Honduras, later joined by Guatemalans and Salvadorans escaping gang violence and drought, should time their flight to safety according to the US electoral calendar. Until President Trump publicized the caravan that began as a couple hundred people in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, few in the US were aware of it.