MEXICO, CITY.- The Mexican government on Thursday foiled an attempt by 300 Cuban migrants to reach this capital while keeping thousands of Central American migrants contained for months along the border with Guatemala.
Federal Police agents on Wednesday night in Huixtla, Chiapas state, intercepted the five buses in which about 300 Cubans were traveling with the aim of getting to Mexico City, after which they intended to continue northwards toward the US border.
The Cubans said that police positioned their vehicles on the road to prevent the passage of the contingent who left from Tapachula, a city near the Guatemalan border.
Authorities told the Cubans that they had to return to Tapachula, where the immigration station is located that is handling the regularization of foreign migrants’ status in Mexico.
This incident raised the tension between migrants and the Mexican authorities, although the majority of the Cubans elected to make the return journey to Tapachula.
However, around 50 Cuban migrants decided to spend the night in Huixtla and join the caravan of about 3,000 Central American migrants who are also pursuing their dream of reaching US territory, where they intend to ask for asylum.
Denis Hernandez, one of the Cubans who joined the northbound caravan, told EFE by telephone that police «did everything possible» to prevent the Cubans from continuing on their northward journey.
In addition, his voice hoarse from the shouts he had directed at police, Hernandez said that «(the police) grabbed some comrades by force.»
The group of Cubans has been stranded for several weeks on Mexico’s southern border after traveling through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.
Hernandez said that «the Mexican people are doing what their government didn’t do,» given that the residents of the municipalities through which he and his fellow Cubans had passed had provided food and other amenities to them.
The National Immigration Institute (Inami), when contacted by EFE, said that it did not know the details of the incident involving the Cubans and attributed the blockade to the Federal Police.
When Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office as president on Dec. 1, the Mexican government pushed forward with a plan to provide visas for humanitarian reasons for the Central American migrants who are crossing the country en route to the US.
However, this procedure was ended in January and, since then, Mexican authorities have been trying to keep thousands of migrants on the country’s southern border and deport those who have not regularized their status.
The incident comes amid diplomatic tension between Mexico City and Washington, with US President Donald Trump exerting pressure on the Mexican government not to allow the caravans to continue on their way.