There is a power struggle taking place in Tijuana between two factions within the migrant caravan. Tuesday, one faction led by Pueblo Sin Fronteras called the police to oust the leader of the other faction, Alfonso Guerrero, from a shelter where migrants have been staying. Guerrero is the person who made news when he and his supporters demanded $50,000 per migrant to return to Honduras. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Guerrero’s supporters said he was planning to return to the consulate Tuesday morning with 30 of his supporters but a larger group blocked them.
Municipal and federal police, in a press release, said they detained Guerrero for “altering the public order” by trying to organize a march to the border.
“What he wants to do will hurt the entire caravan, especially the women and children,” said Luis Cruz, 41, of Pueblo Sin Fronteras. “That is why we stopped him and asked authorities to remove him from the shelter.”…
“The problem is that this man wrote a letter demanding $50,000,” said Walter Coello Burtillo, 41, of Honduras.
This appears to show the moment of Guerrero’s arrest. The tweet reads, “Mexican police arrested the Honduran migrant who wrote a note to Donald Trump, requesting 50000 dollars in return for returning to his country. Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa blamed the U.S. government for the poverty and insecurity that is experienced in Honduras.”
La policía mexicana detuvo al migrante hondureño que escribió una nota dirigida a Donald Trump, solicitando 50 mil dólares a cambio de retornar a su país.
Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, culpó al gobierno de EEUU por la pobreza e inseguridad que se vive en Honduras. #UnePrensa pic.twitter.com/7DIDD3wsuo
— UNE TV (@unetvhn) December 18, 2018
Guerrero’s plan to demand money made international news and made the caravan look mercenary at a time when the media was doing its best to make them sympathetic. But his supporters in the caravan say he has been active in making demands of the Mexican authorities whenever the caravan members need something. That won him goodwill among many who say his ouster Tuesday was a power play. Still it’s hard to have much sympathy for Guerrero who was given asylum in Mexico decades ago after he was suspected of setting off a bomb in Honduras that wounded six U.S. soldiers. From the NY Times, back in 1987:
Mexico has granted permanent asylum in its embassy here to a man suspected of planting a bomb that exploded in a Chinese restaurant in August, slightly wounding six United States soldiers and a Honduran civilian.
Charging that the Mexicans are harboring a ”terrorist” in violation of all international conventions, the United States has lodged a ”firm” behind-the-scenes protest with the Mexican Government in Mexico City, diplomats in Mexico said.
But the Mexican Government has dismissed the American protest. Mexican diplomats called the man, Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, 22 years old, a ”freedom fighter” whose life was at risk because of his political views. They said he had a right to asylum and was welcome to stay.
Last night, after Guerrero’s removal, supporters of Pueblo Sin Fronteras began walking around with a bullhorn announcing a new assembly where a committee would be formed to decide what the caravan should do next. But the Union-Tribune suggests a lot of the caravan migrants are just sick of being organized.
To members of the caravan not aligned with either side, Tuesday morning’s events were more of a sideshow than a power struggle. Several groups of people have tried to take control of the caravan and failed, they said. Now migrants are skeptical of anyone who tries to organize.
“I don’t know if [Guerrero] was the leader because there have been a lot of people saying they are leaders,” said Santos Hernandez, 36, of Honduras. “They try to have assemblies but most people stay in their tents.”…
“There is another group trying to organize but we are tired of it,” said Juan Castro, 49, of Honduras. “I don’t care who the leader is because it’s more of the same.”
I don’t know anything about Juan Castro, but the Union-Tribune reports he is working at a restaurant part-time and hopes to get a job as a waiter as soon as his work permit is approved. I like his attitude. Seriously. Telling the left-wing organizer to go to hell and finding work is probably the smartest thing caravan members can do at this point.