Caravan returnees hope to try again
Hundreds headed back to Honduras
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The Metropolitan Grand Central bus terminal in this city where the migrant caravan traveling through Mexico originated more than three weeks ago is a place of crossing destinies for Hondurans dreaming of seeking a better life in the United States.
Some of the dozens of people sleeping on the concrete floor or outside on the grass underneath palm trees bathed by the light of street lamps are awaiting buses to the Guatemalan border to begin the journey north. Others are arriving after failing to complete the trip and are being ferried back to the precarious lives they left behind.
Hundreds of the mostly Honduran migrants who set out with the caravan that has traversed hundreds of miles through three countries before arriving in Mexico City this week have returned home, according to the Mexican government. Some grew disillusioned. Others simply wore out. Still others were detained and returned, or gave up on waiting for possible asylum in Mexico and accepted bus rides back home.
Disembarking at the bus station in San Pedro Sula, nearly all of those returning said the same thing: Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they intend to try again.
“I would go 30 times more if possible,” said Daniel Castaneda, an 18-year-old from the central city of Comayagua.
He was detained shortly after migrants in a caravan following in the footsteps of the first one clashed with police on a bridge on the Mexican border with Guatemala late last month.
“I can’t say when, but I am going to keep going. … This country is going to be left empty,” he said.
Reny Maudiel a fresh-faced 16-year-old in a green T-shirt, a mop of curly hair sticking skyward from his head, said he was turned off by the violence of last month’s border clashes. He was also exhausted, and his feet hurt — but already his mind was turning northward.
“I hope another opportunity emerges,” he said.
While U.S. President Donald Trump seized on the caravan as a campaign issue for Tuesday’s midterm elections and suggested that criminals had infiltrated the group, the migrants say they are fleeing poverty, lack of jobs and rampant violence.
According to data from Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, on average 136 Honduran migrants per day have been returned to their country this year.
Hondurans rest on the grass underneath palm trees, bathed by the light of street lamps outside the Metropolitan Grand Central bus terminal in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, last month.