05 November, 2018
A large group of Central Americans is continuing toward Mexico City from the south in an effort to reach the United States.
The group is trying to leave a part of Mexico that has been considered dangerous for traveling migrants.
Members of the group held a meeting Sunday at a gymnasium in the city of Cordoba. About 1,000 members voted to try to reach the capital, Mexico City, by walking and asking for rides on Monday.
Cordoba is 286 kilometers from the capital by the shortest path. The trip would be the group's longest one-day journey since the group began walking more than three weeks ago.
Several hundred other migrants have already arrived at a large outdoor sports area in the capital. They rested and watched local people play soccer. City employees offered hot food to the migrants.
The migrants made it to Cordoba after a 200-kilometer trip through the state of Veracruz. Hundreds of migrants have disappeared there in recent years. Many have been taken by kidnappers who demand money for their release.
The migrants hope to gather together in Mexico City to seek medical care and wait for stragglers. The group has grown in numbers as it moves north. Mexicans in small villages have come out to offer food, water and clean clothes.
It is unclear where along the U.S. border the caravan will arrive or how many people will leave the group to cross on their own.
Most of the migrants said they believe traveling in a large group is the best way to reach the U.S. The migrants say they are fleeing poverty and violence in Central American countries. They come from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
"We think that it is better to continue together with the caravan. We are going to stay with it and respect the organizers," said Luis Euseda, a 32-year-old from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Forty-two-year-old Yuri Juarez said he knows there is a "very low" chance he will get asylum in the U.S. But he said there is no work in his hometown of Villanueva, Guatemala. There, he closed his internet cafe after a criminal group demanded money of him, robbed his customers and finally stole his computers.
Mexicans have helped the migrants on their way, although the government has tried to discourage them.
Catalina Munoz said she bought food on credit when she heard the migrant caravan would pass through her town of 3,000 people. She and 15 others gave the food to the migrants.
Mexican officials say three separate migrant groups are traveling through 500 kilometers of roads in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
The largest group entered Mexico first. It was followed by a second group of about 1,000 people who came from Guatemala last week. A third group of about the same size entered the country on Friday.
President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to the Mexican border because of the migrant groups. He will send more than 7,000 soldiers to the border states of Texas, Arizona and California.
I'm Caty Weaver.
The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. The editor was Mario Ritter.
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Words in This Story
caravan – n. a large group of people moving somewhere together
gymnasium – n. a large indoor room for sports
journey – n. a trip
straggler – n. one who is at the very end of the line
discourage – v. to make someone less hopeful