Migrant caravan in Mexico heads for US border as Americas Summit starts

Several thousand migrants, many from Venezuela, set off from southern Mexico early Monday aiming to reach the United States, timing their journey to coincide with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles this week. The caravan is said to be one of the largest in recent years.

On Monday, the group began its 1,270 mile (2,000 km) journey to the US from the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the country’s border with Guatemala. It is unclear when they will arrive at the northern frontier.

Caravan organizer Luis Garcia Villagran said the group represented many nationalities of people who are fleeing hardship in their home countries.

“These are countries collapsing from poverty and violence.  We strongly encourage those who attend the summit to look at what is happening, and what could happen even more often in Mexico, if something is not done soon.” Villagran said.

Robinson Reyes, 35, a Colombian migrant, said he was traveling north after waiting in vain in Mexico for a month for a humanitarian visa. “We want a future for our family,” he told Reuters. “We are not violent. We just want a better future.”

Reyes added that the caravan timed its departure to coincide with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, where regional leaders are expected to announce new plans to address mass migration from Latin America. “That’s why we went out today,” he said. “God willing, they can talk and resolve this.”

Earlier this week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would not attend after the White House announced that Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

A senior administration official cited a “lack of democratic space” and deteriorating human rights situations in all three countries as the reason for their exclusion. The official added that Mexico is still expected to sign despite López Obrador’s absence.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a meeting with regional leaders to sign a declaration aimed at addressing migration. A senior official told reporters on Monday that Biden would also discuss a “bold” new plan aimed at “responsibility sharing and economic support for countries that have been most impacted by refugees and migration.”




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