The migrants traveling through Mexico on the now-famous “refugee caravan” have filmed a video featuring what the group referred to as a “general statement” about who they are, what they want, and why they are on the move.
Caravan organizers with the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which shared the video with Splinter, said the statement was written by the migrants themselves without being prompted by the organization. The video was shot during a pre-caravan action that took place in Tapachula, Mexico on Friday, March 23, just two days before more than 1,200 people began their journey north.
In the video, a caravan participant speaking Spanish identifies members of the group as “migrants and refugees” and lists a set of demands for Central American countries, the United States, and Mexico.
“To Mexico and the United States, we demand that you respect our rights as refugees and our right to dignified work to be able to support our families,” the man says in the video.
The caravan is now entering its 12th day. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR have all reported that the Mexican government has deported 400 members of the caravan. Other agencies reported that Mexican officials were able to halt the caravan. But representatives with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, who organized the caravan, say that is simply not true—though some members of the caravan have dispersed as Mexican officials begin handing out visas.
The caravan is headed to Puebla, Mexico, where participants will meet with attorneys who will give them “legal preparation” and evaluate their asylum claims.
The Trump administration has announced it intends to send National Guard troops to “to secure the border.” But it’s important to note that participants in the caravan who intend to go the United States said they plan on going to a U.S. port of entry and request asylum, which is their legal right.
The “general statement” heard in the video was translated by Splinter. The English transcript is below.
March 23, 2018
To the governments of Central America, Mexico, and the United States, the media, human rights organizations, and to civil society:
We are a group of migrants and refugees of different nationalities, religions, and representations of sexual and gender diversity. We have come together in order to work as a team to defend our rights as migrants and refugees. We want to become one by supporting ourselves side by side and demonstrating that together we can knock down borders. We Central Americans form this caravan all united in the struggle.
We left on March 25 from Tapachula, Chiapas. If everything goes well, we will be in Puebla, Mexico from April 5 to 9, where we’ll participate in legal preparation and workshops. So, we wait for God, the solidarity of the Mexican people, including human rights organizations. We hope they join our fight, help with supplies and what is within their reach. We thank the Mexican and American people for their collaboration. Let us hope to be an example of solidarity and fight in the world.
To our Central American countries:
We demand an end to political corruption.
An end to violence against women and the LGBT community.
An end to failures of justice for victims of domestic violence, extortion, threats, and discrimination for sexual orientation.
An end to corruption between gangs, the police, and governments.
An end to murders with impunity and recruitment of youth to belong to the illicit groups called gangs or “maras,” etc.
To Mexico and the United States we demand:
Respect our rights as refugees and our right to dignified work to be able to support our families.
Open the borders to us because we are citizens, just like the people of the countries where we are or travel to.
Stop deportations because these people have families to support.
No more abuses against us as migrants.
Dignity and justice.
That the US government does not end TPS for those who need it.
We demand that the government of the United States stop paying large sums of money to the Mexican government to stop immigrants and refugees from Central America and to deport them to their countries of origin.
That the rights the nations of the world have signed, including the right to freedom of expression, be respected.
That the conventions on refugee rights are not empty rhetoric.
The borders are stained red because there, the working class is killed!
The 2018 Caravan
Stations of the cross
Migrants in the struggle
Town without borders