Pa­tience wear­ing thin as mi­grant car­a­van con­tin­ues north

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By So­nia Perez D.

ISLA, Mex­ico — Pa­tience among 4,000 Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants ap­peared to be wear­ing thin Satur­day, as ex­hausted mem­bers of the car­a­van jour­ney­ing to­ward the United States openly dis­agreed with or­ga­niz­ers who are shep­herd­ing the group through south­ern Mex­ico.

Sev­eral thou­sand mi­grants opted to rest in the towns of Juan Ro­driguez Clara, Ver­acruz and Isla, Ver­acruz. An­other con­tin­gent splin­tered off by hitch­hik­ing rides and walk­ing to Tierra Blanca, Ver­acruz, which lies about 80 ex­tra miles to the north.

Many said they no longer had faith in those or­ga­niz­ing the large group af­ter con­fu­sion broke out re­gard­ing buses that would have taken mi­grants on a route to Mex­ico City.

On Fri­day, Ver­acruz Gov. Miguel An­gel Yunes re­neged on a brief of­fer to pro­vide trans­porta­tion.

In the lapse be­tween his de­ci­sions, or­ga­niz­ers told mem­bers of the car­a­van that buses would in­deed be avail­able.

“Peo­ple are mad and con­fused,” said Saira Cabr­era, a 36-year-old trav­el­ing with her hus­band and two chil­dren aged 7 and 13.

Ger­ardo Perez, a 20-year-old mi­grant, said he was tired.

“They’re play­ing with our dig­nity. If you could have only seen the peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness last night when they told us that we were go­ing by bus and to­day we’re not,” he said.

On Fri­day, an­other car­a­van — this time from El Sal­vador — waded over the Suchi­ate River into Mex­ico, bring­ing 1,000 to 1,500 peo­ple who want to reach the U.S. border.

Mex­ico is now faced with three car­a­vans stretched out over 300 miles in the states of Chi­a­pas, Oax­aca and Ver­acruz, with a to­tal of more than 6,000 mi­grants.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has or­dered U.S. troops to the Mex­i­can border in re­sponse to the car­a­vans. More than 7,000 ac­tive duty troops have been told to de­ploy to Texas, Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia. Trump also plans to sign an or­der next week that could lead to the large-scale de­ten­tion of mi­grants cross­ing the south­ern border and bar any­one caught cross­ing il­le­gally from claim­ing asy­lum.

Though some mi­grants clashed with Mex­i­can po­lice, they have re­peat­edly de­nied com­ing with any ill in­ten­tions, say­ing they’re flee­ing poverty and vi­o­lence.

“We aren’t killers,” said Stephany Lopez, a 21-year-old Sal­vado­ran with the first car­a­van.

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