ISLA, Mexico – The Latest on the caravans of migrants making their way through Mexico to the United States (all times local):
Ordinary Mexicans are helping Central American migrants headed to the U.S. border.
Catalina Munoz said she bought tortillas on credit to assemble tacos of beans, cheese and rice when she heard the caravan would pass through her tiny town of 3,000 inhabitants in the southern state of Oaxaca.
She then gathered 15 members from her community of Benemerito Juarez to help make the tacos, fill water bottles and carry fruit to weary travelers on the roadside.
Manuel Calderon, 43, a migrant from El Salvador, said he felt blessed when he saw the townsfolk waiting with food and water.
“I hadn’t eaten and I was very thirsty,” he said, before slinging his backpack over a shoulder and placing a straw hat on his head to resume the long journey planned for Sunday.
Many in the caravan have now been on the road for more than three weeks.
Mexico’s Interior Ministry estimates that more than 5,000 migrants are currently moving through southern Mexico via caravan or in smaller groups.
The ministry said Saturday that 2,793 migrants have requested asylum in Mexico and that around 500 have asked for help returning to their countries of origin.
Thousands of Central American migrants are pushing more quickly through Mexico in the hopes of fulfilling their dream of reaching the United States.
The majority of the roughly 4,000 migrants are headed Sunday toward the town of Cordoba, Veracruz, which is about 124 miles (200 kilometers) up the road. The daily trek will be one of the longest yet, as the exhausted group of travelers tries to make progress any way they can.
The journey now appears to be taking its toll.
A day prior, the group was beset by divisions as some migrants argued with caravan organizers and criticized Mexican officials before setting out on their own toward Puebla and Mexico City. Many are fighting off blistered feet and coughs.
It remained to be seen if the main contingent will continue directly north through the Gulf coast state of Veracruz or veer slightly westward and make a stop in the country’s capital.
Mynor Chavez is a 19-year-old migrant who said he could not get ahead in his home country.
“I have no hope. I graduated as a computer technician and not even with a degree have I been able to find work,” he said.