DONAJI, Mexico — After three grueling weeks walking along highways and hitching rides in pickups and flatbed trucks, thousands of Central American migrants traveling in a caravan through southern Mexico learned Friday that they would soon be leapfrogging ahead to the nation’s capital in buses.
As the caravan crossed into the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes announced that authorities there would be providing not only humanitarian assistance but also offering mass transportation for the migrants.
“It is very important that they be able to move soon from Veracruz toward another place,” Yunes said in a video message released in the evening. “For that reason, we also offered them transportation so that, if possible, tomorrow … they may be able to go to Mexico City or to the place they wish.”
During an evening assembly, caravan organizers told the migrants that they would be leaving around 5 a.m. for the capital in dozens of buses, apparently enough to accommodate the several thousand people in the group.
“We are all going!” one the coordinators told the group.
Organizers said women and children would be given priority, and the buses would depart in groups of 10.
The announcement came after the migrants’ request for buses to Mexico City were ignored by the Mexican government days earlier when they were in Juchitan, Oaxaca state.
Earlier in the day, a third caravan of migrants waded over the Suchiate River into Mexico on Friday, bringing another 1,000 to 1,500 people who want to reach the U.S. border.
The third caravan tried to cross the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico, but Mexican authorities told those traveling in it they would have to show passports and visas and enter in groups of 50 for processing.
The Salvadorans expressed misgivings that they would be deported, so they turned around and waded across a shallow stretch of the river to enter Mexico.
Although police were present, they did not try to physically stop the migrants, who later walked along a highway toward Tapachula.
Mexico is now faced with the unprecedented situation of having three caravans stretched out over 300 miles of highways in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, with a total of about 6,000 migrants.