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Nov 15, 18

‘We Put One Step Forward, Kept Movin’ On’: A Report from the Caravan

One thing missing from a lot of the news coverage of the caravan Donald Trump made noise about before the election – and no so much after. Very few bothered to actually talk with those that are a part of it. A crew from Strikecorps did, and this is their report. Originally posted to Idavox.

Cover Photo: Alexei Wood, Video: Rebecca Centeno

Just got back to San Antonio–for the last few days comrades, media activists, and I traveled to livestream, record, and provide media equipment to the refugee caravan(s).

Erik Forman, a comrade from NYC and member of Strikecorps, reached out to me to see about getting a media team together to document and provide livestream equipment to the caravan, so that people can tell their own stories and challenge the right-wing/Trump propaganda narrative about the refugees who are risking their lives, and the lives of their families, to get to the US. A small media team joined Strikecorps: Matt Hopard on livestream, Alexei Wood on stills, and me on video.

FIRST, the US narrative is so problematic that it’s hard to even know where to begin. A clusterfuck of racism, xenophobia, lies, white nationalism, and right-wing propaganda fill the air waves. Liberal and political media are not much better. Calling it a “migrant caravan” fails them, because it’s inaccurate and doesn’t take seriously that these are asylum-seekers and refugees fleeing violence and extreme poverty in their country. Calling it a “migrant caravan” can and will hurt them. Please stop using that term, and please ask others to do the same.

Trump’s line: “we want them here, but they have to come legally” is gaslighting, a blatant lie. For months, asylum seekers have been stranded on the Matamoros bridge near Brownsville where they camp out in tents to seek asylum at a “legal port of entry,” and they are denied. They are told the bridge is closed. If they cross the river and ask for asylum, they criminally charged with crossing illegally. (…/whats-really-happening-asyl…/)

This Refugee from Honduras is with his young child and fiance

Refugees walking in Faith shot by : Rebecca Centeno – Video Journalist – Saturday morning November, 10 2018 Mexico City

Renegade Media 发布于 2018年11月12日周一

Trump’s “bad hombres,” “they’re bringing drugs…crime…they’re racists” is all a fear-mongering tactic. He ran his campaign on building a border wall to keep the bad brown people out, and it worked…and it still works for other candidates who watched and are using it…Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott here in TX for example.

Photo Credit: Alexei Wood, @LexShoots.

ARRIVAL. We entered Foro Sol Stadium on Thursday, Nov 8th. Lining the street to the entrance were tents, mini camps. It was dark, and at the entrance to the stadium was a table with phone chargers and electricity. There was a GA (General Assembly) happening in the middle of the stadium. Immediately after we walked in, about a thousand people, another caravan, arrived and were met with cheers, water bottles thrown in excitement, clapping.

There was a large media presence in Foro Sol, so we felt comfortable getting our gear out even though we’d just arrived to document this new caravan. Alexei and I approached the stadium seats, and people reached down to lift us up over the edge. Someone took my bags and other people grabbed my hands and lifted me over. We went on the bleachers to get crowd shots and interviews.

The infrastructure in Foro Sol was incredible. Porta potties, a large tent to house mothers and children, another tent with just men, (semi) running water stations for people to wash their hands, a medic tent. Still it was cold at night, and many people were coughing. We were told that a large number had upper respiratory infections and bronchitis.

Photo Credit: Alexei Wood, @LexShoots.

At the GA that night it was decided that the caravan would travel to Querétaro next. They get started at 5am every day. All decisions are made by members of the caravan. They are an autonomous group. There is help from international humanitarian organizations and faith groups.

Since there are thousands of people, people often split into hundreds or thousands, so there are essentially multiple caravans. We were told that younger men wanted to travel to the TX border, which is closer, but after considering the safety of women and children, who are prioritized in all decisions and travel, it was decided that the caravan would travel to Tijuana. Even though it is much further, it is safer. Querétaro is northwest of MX city.

#live from #honduran #refugee camp in #mexico city. #migrantcaravan

Matt Hopard 发布于 2018年11月9日周五

The caravan stayed one more night in MX city. The next GA (the night before leaving for Querétaro) was much praying. Prayer and faith were central to many people we talked to there.

Matt and I stayed in MX city, while Alexei and a small group from Strikecorps traveled to Querétaro, where they said the vibe was completely different. It wasn’t morning mariachis and the infrastructure in MX city. Maybe MX city was an anomaly, maybe a publicity stunt by the government?

Photo Credit: Alexei Wood, @LexShoots.

I witnessed people who were tired, hungry, and sick. People needed shoes. One person asked for money to buy shoes who we interviewed. A child asked for tortillas when we were on the metro leaving MX city.

Even though I didn’t witness the difference in Querétaro, I’ve never been so humbled in my life. I’ve never felt my privilege so strongly as I did there. Having a bed to go home to at night with clean sheets and running water and food, warmth and basic necessities…I told Alexei that I felt I didn’t deserve it. He said they don’t deserve what is happening to them. Both are accurate.

The reality is that as “Americans” in the so-called USA, we are privileged, and we have done nothing to deserve it–our citizenship or the opportunities we have as citizens, the freedom to travel as we do and to pay for things like food in a place like MX, whose currency rate is massively lower.

OBVIOUS TAKE AWAYS. What is missing from the US narrative are the reasons people are fleeing their homes, risking their lives and the lives of their children. Talking about the caravan as if this happened in a vacuum is ignorant and racist. US foreign policies, imperialism, and capitalism have contributed to the destabilization of many countries, including Honduras. In 2009, a military coup ousted the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya. The leader of the coup, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, was a graduate of the School of Americas, and Hillary Clinton admittedly worked hard to support the coup and prevent restoring Zelaya into office.  There is so much more to this, and we all should do our research. There is no denying that our country has helped create the caravan and will continue to create more refugees and asylum seekers, as long as we continue to be an imperialist nation.

#live from #mexico city for #honduras #refugees

Matt Hopard 发布于 2018年11月10日周六

As long as we have borders, nations, imperialism, and capitalism we will see mass waves of refugees fleeing their homes escaping violence and poverty in search of something better. These all create the systems of oppression that force mass migrations. We will continue to see refugees fleeing destabilized countries as long as we continue to exploit them.

We have to look at the root causes. The future is one without borders, without nations, the absence of capitalism.

For true equality to be possible, we have to eradicate these systems that we are conditioned to believe in: hierarchy and the state.

Abolish capitalism. Abolish imperialism. No borders. No nations.

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