A Honduran refugee with a second caravan walking from Central America to the United States border to apply for asylum was killed after being struck in the head by a rubber bullet during a clash with police at the border of Mexico in Guatemala.
On Sunday, over 1000 Honduran migrants and refugees tried to force their way into Mexico at the Tecun Uman crossing. Following the clash with police, sources claim 26-year-old Henry Adalid Díaz Reyes died on his way to the hospital after being struck in the head with a rubber bullet fired by police.
Díaz’s aunt Leticia Reyes was helping his mother Maribel recover his body. Díaz worked as a bus driver at the Honduran capital until he was threatened by gang members known to kill transporters influenced his decision to flee from Honduras. As traveling with the caravan became more dangerous, Díaz refused to return back to Honduras, stating the only way he would return is dead.
The Tecun Uman border crossing is a primary crossing between Guatemala and Mexico. The crossing had been closed for the last week until enough Hondurans gathered to enter Mexico together.
The group broke through the border gate, then tried to force their way past Guatemalan police officers. According to the media, refugees, and observers, police used tear gas, flash grenades, batons, and rubber bullets to keep the group from passing.
The Mexican government claims there were no violent protests at the border. On Sunday Mexican Minister of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete claimed Mexican federal police could not have killed Díaz because they were not carrying weapons that fire rubber bullets, despite the claims from witnesses at the scene. Navarrete claimed people from the caravan were the ones who were armed.
In total, around a hundred people from the second caravan and several federal officers were injured. According to local news outlets, children were among those from the caravan who were injured in the clash.
The first caravan — which began traveling north over two weeks ago — is said to have an estimated 7,000 people. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump stated he would send between 10,000 and 15,000 active-duty troops to the border, on top of the ICE agents and Border Patrol already in the area.
Currently, there are 5,239 active-duty troops deployed to the border. After the next wave of troops, the United States will have more active-duty troops at the border than in Afghanistan. Additionally, there are currently 2,092 National Guard members already stationed at the border. While speaking at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claimed the decision to deploy active-duty troops to the border was not a political stunt for the elections, but instead was similar to the reaction after a major storm.
The support that we provide to the secretary for Homeland Security is practical support based on the request from the commissioner of Customs and Border [Protection], so we don’t do stunts in this department.
We do this following storms, we do this in support of the Department of Homeland Security. This is a different aspect of it, but that’s what we are doing.