The deal with Mexico by last May’s Trump tariff threat is still holding firm and may yet prove to be one of Trump’s most successful policies.
Not only Mexico, but other countries have been pressured by the policy, with Guatemala now moving to work together with Mexico.
It’s a result of Trump’s thinking outside of the box by using trade policy as a lever to secure our border. In doing so, Trump moved much of the border action from the Rio Grande (separating the U.S. and Mexico) to the Suchiate River (separating Mexico from Guatemala), which was no small feat.
Of course, all this could be reversed by (1) a change of policy in Mexico or (2) a Democratic victory in November. So we’ve been warned.
After two caravans failed to get past Mexican security forces in January, a new caravan, called La Caravana del Diablo (“The Devil’s Caravan”) was formed.
This ambitious caravan departed San Pedro Sula, Honduras en route to the Guatemala/Mexico border. It was supposed to supposed to exact revenge for the previous deportations of some of its members.
As of February 2nd, “the Devi’s Caravan” was reported to have 1,000 persons on the border and was threatening to cross on February 3rd.
But a curious thing happened. “The Devil’s Caravan” disappeared:
It was on January 31 when a group of Honduran migrants calling themselves the Caravan of the Devil left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with the intention of arriving to the United States, passing through Mexico. This caravan was composed of at least 150 persons, but as of today there is no trace of them on the southern border with Guatemala.
…it is believed it could have dissolved on the way to our country [Mexico]…Mexican authorities continue monitoring the southern border, but…no concentration of migrants has been reported in Tecun Uman, Guatemala…[where] the caravans have met previously.
[No hay rastro de la Caravana del Diablo en la frontera sur de México (“No Trace of the Devil’s Caravan on the Southern Border of Mexico”), La Verdad Noticias, February 4, 2020]
Another source, Cuarto Poder de Chiapas (Chiapas being the Mexican state bordering Guatemala) quotes a certain Luis Garcia Villagran, director of the Centro de Dignificación Humana (the Center For Improving Human Dignity) who claims that there are small groups of Hondurans and Salvadorans in the area, who plan to enter through more isolated routes “although the risks are greater”. [Desarticulada la “Caravana del Diablo” (‘Devil’s Caravan’ Broken Up”), Rafael Victorio, Cuarto Poder, February 4, 2020]
But as of now, the much-hyped “Devil’s Caravan” seems to have fizzled out.
Many businessmen make money off of immigration, both legal and illegal. But on the Mexican side of the Suchiate River, there is discontent with the caravans.
Recently, while waiting for the arrival of the aforementioned “Devil’s Caravan” some Mexican merchants
…closed the customs station of Ciudad Hidalgo [Mexican border town and main crossing point from Guatemala] to demand a stop to the migrant caravans, since their presence affects the commercial activity of the region.
[Sin rastro de la llamada Caravana del Diablo en Chiapas (“No trace of the so-called Devil’s Caravan in Chiapas”), by Lizette Coello, Uno TV, February 4, 2020]
How are the caravans bad for business?
Well, the article quotes a certain Isidoro Rodriguez Solano, who is the General Secretary of the Union of Triciclos of Ciudad Hidalgo. Here is a photo of an actual triciclo en Ciudad Hidalgo. It’s a three-wheeled vehicle used by mobile vendors.
Quoth General Secretary Rodriguez:
“They [the caravans] affect all the commerce, all the town… they come, they destroy things, they commit outrages. You all have seen it.”
It sounds to me as though the Mexican merchants are accusing the caravans of having criminals and troublemakers among their ranks. In the U.S., saying that would be denounced as racist.
A group of merchants approached the customs house to ask for dialogue and deliver the petition to the authorities, but they were not received. So the merchants blocked the pedestrian route, but were removed by elements of private security...After that, the merchants blocked the vehicular route until they were heard.
And, after all was said and done, no caravan crossed the border. But you can see they were alarmed about the possibility.
On January 14, a new president took office in Guatemala: Alejandro Giammattei, pictured. Giammattei is a dual citizen of Guatemala and Italy, and has multiple sclerosis, forcing him to use crutches.
On February 6, Giammattei arrived in Mexico City for a visit and addressed the Mexican senate.
Mexico’s Milenio reports that Giammattei made an offer to Mexico:
Let us [Guatemala and Mexico] work together in the construction, not of physical walls, but of walls of prosperity, not of walls of weapons, but walls of prosperity that encourage persons to stay and not take the risk [of emigrating].
[Presidente de Guatemala pide a México construir "muro de prosperidad y no de armas" (President of Guatemala asks Mexico to Construct ‘Wall of Prosperity and not of Weapons’), by Silvia Arellano, February 6, 2020]
The Guatemalan President told the Mexican Senate that
“Persons and entire families go north to try and find the opportunities that we have denied them. They are a product of the marginalization and the social exclusion, of unemployment, of lack of access to basic services and many other things. “
What Giammattei wants is “an investment bank” which would provide opportunities and “stop the migration.”
This sounds good—especially if U.S. taxpayers don’t have to pay for it.
But without the pressure from the Trump administration, would these leaders be thinking seriously about such things?
Porfirio Munoz Ledo is a prominent longtime Mexican politician, a member of President AMLO’s MORENA party, and until this past September, the Speaker of the Mexican House.
Munoz Ledo doesn’t like the fact that AMLO is stopping Central American migrants from entering Mexico, so he plans to amend the Mexican constitution to make it more open borders oriented:
…Porfirio Munoz Ledo will relaunch his proposal of constitutional reforms to recognize migration as a human right, to guarantee the free passage of persons through Mexican territory and to expressly prohibit the criminalization of migrants on the part of the Mexican state.
[Muñoz Ledo relanza ley para proteger migrantes (“Munoz Ledo Relaunches Law to Protect Migrants”), by Fernando Damian and Elia Castillo, Milenio, February 5, 2020
This guy is a real Open Borders booster, even defying the President, who is the leader of his own party.
What if Munoz Ledo, or someone who thinks like him, becomes the next President of Mexico?
Munoz Ledo has repeatedly questioned the migratory policy of the [Mexican] federal government and the containment of Central American caravans on the southern border…..The initiative stipulates that ‘every person has the human right to migrate, to enter Mexico and leave Mexico voluntarily and with dignity, to pass through its territory and change residence, independently of his migratory status. …the Mexican state would not criminalize the irregular migration and would procure the economic and social condiitons so that its inhabitants would stay within the national territory.”
The comments section, on the other hand, was 100% against this.
Jose A. Toledano’s suggestion: “Let him [Munoz Ledo] pay from his salary the expenses that the invaders generate.”
Notice he calls the Central Americans (and others) “invaders.” We’d get in trouble for that.
Another commenter, Geddy Leyva asks: “And the Mexicans, who will protect them?”
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.