June 3, 2020 / 10:25 PM / a month ago

African, Caribbean migrants continue trek towards U.S. border

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Migrants from Africa and the Caribbean, stranded in Honduras after Central American countries closed their borders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, on Wednesday kept marching north in an attempt to reach the United States.

A migrant looks on while shielding from the rain along with fellow migrants from Africa, Cuba and Haiti, who are stranded in Honduras after borders were closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, during their trek northward in an attempt to reach the U.S., in Tegucigalpa, Honduras June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Honduras currently allows only cargo trucks in and out of the country, but migrants and a local official said the group is determined to reach first Mexico and then the United States.

On Tuesday, the group of departed the department of Choluteca, near the border with Nicaragua.

“We’re already on the way, we want to reach the border with Guatemala and then, at least for now, get to Mexico until the situation in the United States improves,” Cuban migrant Armando Hernandez, said in a telephone interview.

“I do not agree to return. I left my country because they were threatening me and my family,” Hernandez said.

The United Nations and a local government organization for children, youths and family welfare provided transportation, the Honduran government said in a statement.

According to civil society group ACI-PARTICIPA, the caravan was made up of 101 mostly Africans and Haitians, but also 12 Cubans and five Peruvians. Honduran migration authorities put the number of people at 70.

About 260 people have been stranded in Honduras since mid-March when countries in the region closed borders.

Carolina Menjivar, director of the National Institute of Migration of Honduras, told reporters the group has rejected a government proposal to help the migrants return to their countries of origin.

“They have no other alternative than a voluntary assisted return to their countries,” he explained.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Leslie Adler

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