Hon­duran mi­grants mov­ing again to­wards United States

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

MORE than 2,000 Hon­duran mi­grants trav­el­ing en masse through Gu­atemala re­sumed their jour­ney to­ward the United States on Wed­nes­day as US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sought to turn the car­a­van into a po­lit­i­cal is­sue three weeks be­fore midterm elec­tions.

A day after warn­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can gov­ern­ments they risk los­ing US aid if they don’t do some­thing and say­ing that any­one en­ter­ing the US il­le­gally would be ar­rested and de­ported, Trump turned his sights on Democrats and urged Repub­li­can al­lies to cam­paign on bor­der se­cu­rity.

“Hard to be­lieve that with thou­sands of peo­ple from South of the Bor­der, walk­ing unim­peded to­ward our coun­try in the form of large Car­a­vans, that the Democrats won’t ap­prove leg­is­la­tion that will al­low laws for the pro­tec­tion of our coun­try. Great Midterm is­sue for Repub­li­cans!” Trump said in a Wed­nes­day morn­ing tweet.

“Repub­li­cans must make the hor­ren­dous, weak and out­dated im­mi­gra­tion laws, and the Bor­der, a part of the Midterms!” he con­tin­ued.

In Gu­atemala, the mi­grants rose early and many left with­out eat­ing break­fast, bound for Za­capa, the next city on their route. Over­cast skies and a light driz­zle took the edge off the swel­ter­ing heat and hu­mid­ity, mak­ing the trek more bear­able.

Luis Navar­reto, a 32-year-old mi­grant in the car­a­van, said he had read about Trump’s threats to his coun­try but was un­de­terred.

“We are go­ing to con­tinue,” Navar­reto said. “It is God who de­cides here. We have no other op­tion but to move ahead.”

The mi­grants are flee­ing wide­spread poverty and gang­land vi­o­lence in one of the world’s most mur­der­ous coun­tries, and many blame Hon­duran Pres­i­dent Juan O lando Her­nan­dez for what they call un­liv­able con­di­tions back home.

“We are here be­cause of Juan Or­lando,” said Nel­son Zavala, a 36-year-old la­borer.

The pre­vi­ous day the mi­grants ad­vanced about 30 miles (40 kilo­me­ters) from the Hon­duras-gu­atemala bor­der to ar­rive at the city of Chiquimula.

That is a tiny portion of the al­most 1,350 miles (2,200 kilo­me­ters) they would have to travel to reach the clos­est U.S. bor­der.

Some were able to hitch rides, pack­ing the flatbeds of pick­ups and farm trucks, and even cargo holds of semis, while many more con­tin­ued on foot with back­packs, strollers and Hon­duran flags. Hun­dreds ad­vanced far­ther and faster than the main group to reach the Gu­atemalan cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to the Casa del Mi­grante shel­ter there.

The car­a­van has snow­balled since about 160 mi­grants de­parted Fri­day from the Hon­duran city of San Pe­dro Sula, with many peo­ple join­ing spon­ta­neously while car­ry­ing just a few be­long­ings. Es­ti­mates of their num­bers ranged up to 3,000.

Three weeks be­fore the U.S. elec­tions, the car­a­van was bound to draw Trump’s ire. But he did not fol­low through on a sim­i­lar threat to cut aid to Hon­duras in April over an ear­lier car­a­van, which even­tu­ally pe­tered out in Mex­ico.

On Tues­day, Hon­duras’ pres­i­dent ac­cused un­named “po­lit­i­cal groups” or­ga­niz­ing the car­a­van based on lies in or­der to cause prob­lems in Hon­duras.

“There are sec­tors that want to desta­bi­lize the coun­try, but we will be de­ci­sive and we will not al­low it,” Her­nan­dez told re­porters.

Ear­lier the For­eign Min­istry al­leged that peo­ple had been lured to join the mi­gra­tion with “false prom­ises” of a tran­sit visa through Mex­ico and the op­por­tu­nity to seek asy­lum in the United States.

In a joint state­ment Wed­nes­day, Mex­ico’s For­eign Re­la­tions and In­te­rior de­part­ments said any­one in the car­a­van with travel doc­u­ments and a proper visa will be al­lowed to en­ter, and any­one who wants to ap­ply for refugee sta­tus can do so.

But the state­ment said all cases must be pro­cessed in­di­vid­u­ally, sug­gest­ing that au­thor­i­ties have no in­ten­tion of let­ting the mi­grants sim­ply cross the bor­der en masse with­out go­ing through stan­dard im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures.

It warned that any­one who en­ters Mex­ico in an “ir­reg­u­lar man­ner” faces de­ten­tion and de­por­ta­tion. – AP SATSUKI Katayama, the only fe­male min­is­ter in Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s Cab­i­net, de­nied Thurs­day a re­port in a weekly magazine that she ac­cepted money from the owner of a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in re­turn for help lob­by­ing tax au­thor­i­ties.

The re­gional re­vi­tal­iza­tion min­is­ter told re­porters the Shukan Bun­shun ar­ti­cle con­tains fac­tual er­rors and she is pre­par­ing to file a li­bel suit.

The magazine said the owner paid 1 mil­lion yen ($8,900) to Hiroji Na­mura, one of her sec­re­taries, in July 2015 re­quest­ing that tax au­thor­i­ties be lob­bied for spe­cial treat­ment on the com­pany’s be­half.

But Katayama’s of­fice told the Shukan Bun­shun that Na­mura had quit in May that year and the law­maker in­tro­duced him to the owner as a tax ac­coun­tant friend.

Katayama, a 59-year-old for­mer elite Fi­nance Min­istry bu­reau­crat, ob­tained her first min­is­te­rial post in the Cab­i­net reshuf­fle last month. She dou­bles as min­is­ter in charge of women’s em­pow­er­ment.

The magazine, renowned for its re­port­ing on po­lit­i­cal scan­dals, quoted the owner of the com­pany as say­ing that Katayama called a re­gional tax­a­tion bu­reau chief dur­ing a Septem­ber 2015 meet­ing, but her call went unan­swered.

The owner said Katayama claimed the bu­reau chief was her ju­nior when she worked at the Fi­nance Min­istry.

Although Katayama’s re­quest to give the com­pany owner spe­cial treat­ment did not bear fruit, Na­mura told the owner that the money had passed into the law­maker’s hands, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Her of­fice de­nies she re­ceived the money.

Katayama first en­tered pol­i­tics as a House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives mem­ber in 2005, but lost her seat in the 2009 lower house elec­tion.

She turned to the House of Coun­cil­lors in 2010 and was re-elected in 2016.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.