Monday, 12 November, 2018

The contrasts of Mexico's southern and northern borders

Honduran migrants heading to the United States rest at a gymnasium of a Catholic church in Chiquimula Guatemala on Oct. 16 2018 Trump threatens to send army to US-Mexico border in migrant row
Lloyd Bates | 20 October, 2018, 11:12

Frustrated by Congress' failure to fully fund his proposed wall at the border with Mexico, Trump in April ordered National Guard personnel to help the Department of Homeland Security secure the border in four southwestern U.S. states.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray plans to make the formal request during a meeting Thursday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in NY.

"It's a very hard situation for the Mexican government", says Ana Maria Salazar, a former Pentagon official who's now a security analyst in Mexico City.

Military officials instructed troops to alert border agents if they encountered migrants, rather than intervene themselves, except in cases of self-defense.

US President Donald Trump has warned the Central American caravan must be stopped before it reaches the United States, and Honduras and Guatemala said late last night they were mobilizing to assist the return of Honduran migrants to their homeland.

"I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"

Even by those standards his Thursday morning tweet storm - coming less than three weeks from midterm legislative elections where the Democrats may take the lower house from Trump's Republicans - was especially fierce.

Trump has already seen some progress with his threat to end foreign aid. Later, he retweeted a video of Mexican federal police arriving at the Guatemalan border and wrote: "Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!"

In contrast to the earlier caravan, which moved deeper into the interior of Mexico before officials began intensive efforts to process the migrants, the Mexican government has focused on the new group right on its southern border with Guatemala.

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Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala says his country has made a decision to enforce a policy of "metered entry" since thousands of migrants are clamoring to cross.

"We don't want them", Trump said.

These Honduran workers and impoverished peasants are fleeing a country ravished by imperialist exploitation and US-backed death squads and thrown into disarray by the 2009 coup that overthrew the country's elected president Manuel Zelaya-an worldwide crime overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And local media report that growing numbers of migrants have reached the Guatemalan city of Tecun Uman, across the winding Suchiate River from Mexico.

Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala rank among the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas.

Trump did not detail his military threat, nor his comments on the trilateral trade deal.

Trump insisted that there were criminals in the group.

But Moreno told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that the border was not closed and that Mexico would allow some 100 migrants a day into the country to review their humanitarian and asylum requests.

Trump's stance, he said, was "what he has always presented", adding he saw "nothing surprising in it".

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