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Walking, boat and dog, a trip to reach the United States

Walking, boat and dog, a trip to reach the United States
Venezuela immigrant Gilberto Rodriguez (center) crosses the Susieet River with his dog Negro and immigrant Darwin Montiel (right) on a Tequila in Guatemala on May 20, 2022, on the outskirts of Mexico. Ortones AFP

About two months ago, Gilberto Rodriguez left his wife and two small children in Caracas and embarked on a dangerous trek north of eight countries with his dog Negro.

He slept on the streets, avoided criminals and had to bribe corrupt Guatemalan police officers, but nothing robbed him of the hope of reaching out. United States.

Before reaching Rio Grande, he had to cross another river on the Suzuki border between Guatemala and Mexico if he could be detained by Mexican police and reach the last border without being deported.

She holds her Mongol dog in her arms and pays more than a dollar to board the boat with the inner tubes and planks.

Arrived in Mexico in 10 minutes.

“We have a very difficult situation in the economy there,” he said. [en Venezuela] And we have to run. Your salary is not enough, you buy everything for a dollar, and they will not pay you back for what you pay for in Bolivar, ”explains this skinny 27-year-old woman from Ciudad Degon Oman, in southwestern Guatemala, before crossing the river. .

Gilberto and his dog wander through the dangerous jungle of Darian, between Colombia and Panama. Then until it reaches Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala Mexico.

Its ultimate goal is for the United States to raise Chapter 42, an order approved during the Donald Trump administration in 2020 that would allow the immediate expulsion of detainees who enter the country due to infection.

Government decision Joe Biden Raising topic 42 creates a huge influx of migrants in search of employment and out of poverty and violence.

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But like Gilberto, most passers-by do not know what Title 42 is, or whether it will be repealed.

“Ant Project”

Unlike previous months, the border was crowded with migrants and now the flow is low. On the highways, Guatemalan police regularly board buses to check the identity of passengers.

Alejandra Godínez of the Office of Migrant Assistance in Ciudad Tecún Umán says that migrants via Guatemala arrive in “small groups” that do not take long to cross Mexico.

“They scattered into many groups and then they grouped together on the Mexican side,” Codeines says.

“They do it like an ant,” explains Ruben Mendes, mayor of Ayutthaya, the municipality where Degan Oman is located. He assures that the activities will be a deterrent, especially as immigrants do not attempt to build new caravans as they have left Honduras since 2018.

Between January and May, Guatemala expelled 303 people from Honduras, El Salvador and Honduras who did not meet the immigration and health requirements required for the epidemic.

It expelled 69 Venezuelans and 165 Cubans, as well as 86 other nationals.

The last caravan of about 500 migrants was broken into in January when it entered Guatemala soil. One year ago, the evacuation of about 7,000 people was controlled by batons and tear gas canisters.

Gilberto, with a backpack on his shoulder, says that in some parts of Guatemala uniformed men asked him for money to allow him to continue.

“Pod [asunto] He is with the police who take our money, ”he says.


With his small two-year-old Mongol dog with dark fur, Gilberto has overcome various dangers.

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“We came with some women in the Dorian forest, they raped them, they stole our phones,” he says of this road full of criminal gangs.

Along the way, the pet and the master survived by charity and shared the same food. They are also sleeping on the street as animals are not allowed in some shelters.

The day before the descent into the river, Gilberto, Negro and nine walkers stop at the Gaza del Micrande, a humanitarian organization located on this border. There they feed.

“We have come between mountains, rivers, streams, (and) the police robbing us,” says 25-year-old Nicaraguan Moises Ayrti, who says he is fleeing poverty and oppression in his country, where he left his wife and 3 others. – Old daughter ..

They all want to get a job in the US to send money to their families.

A rural boat in Suu Kyi is pushed by a man with a long stick. As soon as they touch the shore on the Mexican side, the Negro jumps out of his master’s hands and advances along the path.

Gilberto says he’s not a dog anymore, he’s an immigrant, “still smiling.

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