HomeNewsBriefMigrant Caravan in Mexico Changes Course, but Dangers Still Lurk
BRIEF

Migrant Caravan in Mexico Changes Course, but Dangers Still Lurk

KIDNAPPING / 13 NOV 2018 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

A caravan of Central American migrants traveling to the United States has changed its intended route to avoid the Texas-Mexico border — a move that shows even such a large group remains vulnerable to powerful criminal organizations operating in Mexico.

The caravan now aims to reach the United States by way of Tijuana, instead of through the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported. The migrants, which left Honduras in October, have rerouted onto the much longer but safer path toward California, to avoid one of the most dangerous Mexican states for migrants.

This decision comes amid a report that prosecutors in the state of Puebla are investigating the alleged kidnapping of 100 migrants, including 65 children, HuffPost Mexico reported. There are, however, conflicting reports about what happened to the migrants.

Oaxaca Ombudsman Arturo Peimbert first spoke of the alleged mass kidnapping on November 5. He said it happened while the migrants were moving through the state of Veracruz, another high-risk region.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Three people who claim they managed to escape the kidnappers have now given statements to authorities. One woman, who was not identified, said eight hooded men had stopped the fruit truck they were traveling in. She also said one attacker boarded the truck and told the group they had been “sold.”

InSight Crime Analysis

The report of an alleged mass kidnapping and the decision of caravan leaders to change course shows that this journey is still one of the most dangerous in the world as criminal organizations continue to take advantage of the steady flow of vulnerable people traveling through Mexico.

Migrants and asylum seekers are exposed to the entire spectrum of criminals in this region: from small independent groups working along the border to large organizations and gangs known to kidnap, extort, prostitute, and even murder migrants.

SEE ALSO: Violence against migrants

For migrants, the shortest route to the United States is to the southern tip of Texas, requiring them to trek through the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, a stronghold for criminal organizations.

For years, the Zetas controlled this area. In 2010, the group orchestrated the massacre of 72 migrants in the municipality of San Fernando.

The later splintering of the Zetas and other cartels in the region led to a rise in violence, particularly against migrants, who continued to be victims of kidnappings and extortion. Corrupt Mexican police and immigration officials only exacerbated this situation, colluding with criminal organizations or even extorting migrants directly.

With the added risks, the journey for migrants has become costlier. Central Americans now pay nearly $10,000 to cross the US border illegally, up from less than $3,000 a decade ago, according to the New York Times.

Reducing costs and gaining safety in numbers were key reasons why such a large group of migrants joined this caravan. Its large size, media attention, and dedicated leadership — all unusual features for caravans — have allowed it to largely remain together, Carolina Jiménez, Americas deputy director of research at Amnesty International, told InSight Crime.

Caravans in the past, however, have tended to fracture as they approach the US border. And that is the point where they become even more vulnerable to criminal organizations, as may have occurred with the reported kidnappings in Veracruz.

When groups are smaller, it’s “difficult to confirm attacks against caravan members," Jiménez said.

More caravans are following the first one. Another group of some 2,000 migrants, mostly Salvadorans, is “getting much less attention,” she said.

“We are afraid not everyone will stay with the larger group,” Jiménez said. "And this could be a situation where they become victims of criminal gangs and organized crime.”

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 15 SEP 2011

The north Mexico state of Nuevo Leon has established a new civil police force which is set to take over…

MEXICO / 4 OCT 2012

The son of a former PRI leader has been gunned down in the northern state of Coahuila, with the hit…

AYOTZINAPA / 28 JAN 2015

Authorities in Mexico have presented the conclusions of their investigation into the 43 missing students from Guerrero state, indicating they…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…