photo from Worship Media
While most protesters are traveling by foot, others are driving. The “caravan,” as the group of protestors is known, is currently riding onboard the notorious train known as “La Bestia” (the beast). Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans hitch rides on this train each year in order to reach the border. It’s a dangerous journey on which countless people have died.
For over a decade, similar mobilizations have been organized to end to the persecution of migrants. The groups of protesters are called caravans because they stop in every town they pass, inviting other migrants to join their struggle and calling attention to the terrible conditions in which they emigrate. For the past decade, migrants have met on the southern border of Mexico with Guatemala to organize these caravans. This year, in light of the Trump presidency and its full-scale attacks on immigrants, the caravan is focusing its demands against the xenophobic U.S. president. Protesters are demanding an end to Trump’s racist policies including the border wall, the free movement of migrants, and full rights for immigrants in the U.S.
This year’s caravan, which set out on March 25 and which consists of 700 people, was organized by the Central American Migrant Movement. The protesters are marching under the slogan “a people without borders,” emphasizing the international character of this struggle. It is not only Mexico, but Central Americans countries such as Guatemala and Honduras which have been and continue to be devastated by the effects of U.S. imperialism.
Trump against the caravan migrants
While most U.S. presidents have simply ignored these caravans, Donald Trump decided to target them directly. On Twitter, the president’s favorite means of communication, he called on Mexico to stop these Central American protesters from entering the U.S., whom he labeled as “dangerous.”
Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large “Caravans” of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
For the hundreds of migrating protesters, however, Trump and the border patrol represent the real danger. Their actions have not only ignited the anger of the caravan participants, but that of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans.
The Mexican government against Central American migrants
In recent decades, tens of thousands of Central American workers have fled their home countries, which have been devastated by the effects of U.S. imperialism; for example, U.S.-backed, right-wing military coups, as well as neoliberal policies dictated by the IMF. They flee the extreme violence driven by the U.S.-led “war on drugs,” as well as the militarization of their countries. The caravan follows the path that has been taken by millions of men, women and children who have made and continue to make the long trek from Central America to the U.S., while facing persecution from the Mexican authorities.
Migrants fleeing from Central America in search of the “American dream” suffer numerous forms of harassment in their passage through Mexico. Because they are considered “illegal” in Mexico, the National Migration Institute of Mexico often details and deports them, frequently committing serious human rights violations, including rape and torture. These migrants are also victims of drug traffickers, who kidnap them and often force them to join paramilitary groups. Thousands of women suffer sexual abuse at the hands of the Mexican military as well.
Organizations set up to help migrants are also repressed; they are subject to forced closures and are also barred from distributing food to the people making the journey northward.
Against the militarization of the border with Mexico
In the song “La Bamba Rebelde,” the Chicano band Las Cafeteras boldly states: “No creo en fronteras, yo cruzare” (“I don’t believe in borders, I will cross them.”) On both sides of the US-Mexico border, culture, music, foods and products move freely. In the spirit of the song by Las Cafeteras and the migrants making the journey to the U.S. border, we believe that people should be able to move freely as well.
Participants in the caravan have assured the press that “migration will not end even if Trump decides to build 10 walls.” So many people’s lives and livelihoods are connected to both sides of the border.
On both sides of the border we must struggle for the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. National Guard and an immediate end to the border wall. We must fight for the rights of Dreamers in the U.S. and for a society without borders. As the migrant workers’ caravan demonstrates, workers have no country and recognize no borders.