Mi­grant car­a­van back on the road

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

MEX­ICO CITY — About 500 Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants headed out of Mex­ico City Fri­day to em­bark on the long­est and most dan­ger­ous leg of their jour­ney to the U.S. bor­der, while thou­sands more were wait­ing one more day at a mas­sive im­pro­vised shel­ter.

The group that got a head start bun­dled their few pos­ses­sions and started off, tak­ing a sub­way to the north part of the city and then hik­ing down an ex­press­way with a po­lice es­cort.

For many, it was the first time they had ever been in a metro sys­tem, and they had lit­tle knowl­edge of the city or the 2,800-km route to Ti­juana that lay ahead of them.

Car­los Cas­tanaza, a 29-year-old plumber from Gu­atemala City, wrapped him­self from head to toe in a blan­ket against the cold and asked by­standers where the first toll booth was.

When told it was in a town about 30 km away, he care­fully wrote the name of the town on his hand with a pen to re­mem­ber where he was go­ing.

De­ported for driv­ing with­out a li­cence af­ter a decade work­ing in Con­necti­cut, Cas­tanaza was des­per­ate to get back to his two U.S.-born chil­dren.

“I’ve been want­ing to get back for more than a year, but I couldn’t un­til the car­a­van came through,” said Cas­tanaza. “That’s why I joined the car­a­van.”

The ad­vanced group hoped to reach the north-cen­tral city of Quere­taro, about 170 km to the north­west, by night­fall.

Mean­while, an­other 4,0005,000 mi­grants milled around the mas­sive shel­ter im­pro­vised at a Mex­ico City sports com­plex, im­pa­tient to leave.

“Let’s go, let’s go!” shouted Eddy Rivera, 37, a rail-thin mi­grant from Hon­duras who said he couldn’t take stay­ing in the camp any longer. “We are all sick, from the hu­mid­ity and the cold,” said Rivera, who left be­hind four chil­dren and a wife in Hon­duras.

Thou­sands of mi­grants have spent the past few days rest­ing, re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion and de­bat­ing how to pro­ceed with their ar­du­ous trek through Cen­tral Amer­ica and Mex­ico which be­gan in mid-Oc­to­ber.

RO­DRIGO ABD/AP

A Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grant by­passes a sub­way turn­stile af­ter leav­ing the tem­po­rary shel­ter at the Je­sus Martinez sta­dium in Mex­ico City yes­ter­day.

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