Yes, it’s been all over the news. There is another migrant caravan from Honduras. But what exactly does this mean? It means that a group of Honduran citizens have gotten together and decided to march together towards the north, to Mexico and the United States, in search of better opportunities. Why are they traveling together? Because there is safety in numbers! Many migrants from Central America are kidnapped, raped or murdered on their journey to the north. They have become an easy target of organized crime and gangs who extort them and their families. If they travel together, they are safer. As they say, the more, the merrier!
So, who organized this migrant caravan from Honduras? Mainly regular citizens who have decided to travel north in search of opportunities. Why? Because there is a high level of unemployment in Honduras, and although the economy is growing, they can no longer wait to get a job. They need to work now! How did they organize themselves? Basically, through the social digital networks, such as Facebook. Few know each other, and the only common thing they have between them is the need of opportunities.
As a rule, traveling in numbers has become more and more common for migrants. For sure it is a lot safer. There are daily caravans leaving from all Central America and headed towards the North. So why then has the media made such a ruckus over this caravan? Because it is a great opportunity for the opposition to prove their point as to perceived lack of results and solutions by the current government. Thus, they have made a serious impact on local and international media.
The result has been that many more people have decided to join the caravan in the spur of the moment. Thus, the number has swollen to over 2000 people and is growing. Just yesterday, 10 young men from the community of El Naranjo, in the Cuenca del Rio Cangrejal in La Ceiba sped off towards the border to join the caravan that is currently in Chiquimula, Guatemala.
The media has inspired other Honduran citizens. As an example, there is another migrant caravan from Honduras that has just started their journey today. They are from Choluteca and San Lorenzo, on the Pacific Coast of Honduras and their route will take them into Tegucigalpa and on to Guatemala. From there they hope to get into Mexico and then eventually make it up to the US border. It is interesting to note that there are many unaccompanied minors with the migrant caravan from Honduras.
In the end, the only way to avoid these migrant caravans is to create jobs in Central America. If Hondurans can get a job in their country, they will not leave. Over the last years, Honduras had been dubbed the Murder Capital of the World. Therefore, the current government has been relentless in its fight with organized crime and drug trafficking. By reducing the levels of violence, Honduras is now a much more attractive destination for foreign investment. This is the only way that Honduras will be able to offer more jobs to its citizens.
One of the fastest ways to create more jobs in Honduras is developing tourism. Honduras has World Class archaeological sites, the most biodiverse barrier reef in the World, and fantastic National Parks. The beaches on the Caribbean coast are the best in Central America. Best of all, there are many good hotels and tourism related businesses that have the capacity for an increase in tourism. In other words, Honduras is ready for tourism.
Can the USA and Other Countries do Something to Stop a Migrant Caravan from Honduras?
The government of the United States, through the USAID office has many projects that seek to promote employment opportunities in Honduras. These are all fine and dandy and more than welcome. But there is something that would be far more efficient and immediate that would spur tourism growth in Honduras. Of course, I am referring to the Travel Warning that the USA State Department has against travel to Honduras. Let’s face it, tourists are not targeted by crime in Honduras. The homicide rate is way down and there are several cities in the USA that are just as dangerous than the worst cities in Honduras.
Eliminating the Travel Warning and issuing a travel advisory would make a huge difference and create many thousands of new jobs in Honduras. This will give many the opportunity to get a job or become entrepreneurs. It will also provide much needed hope for many who are seeking a job. But then again, World politics are not that easy, are they? Until bold decisions like the one I propose above, there will me more migrant caravans from Honduras heading north is search of better opportunities.