Caravan migrants in Mexico fill new border shelter after rains force exodus

Earlier in the day, streams of migrants laden with heavy backpacks, tents and blankets, much of it soaking wet, loaded buses leaving their original migrants shelter within sight of the border. (AP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Caravan migrants in Mexico fill new border shelter after rains force exodus

  • The move to a former outdoor concert venue after torrential rains a day earlier reduced the old shelter to a muddy, smelly mess was a welcome relief
  • Trump has dubbed the migrants an invading force that must be stopped, even threatening to shut the US border if Mexico does not deport those gathered in Tijuana

TIJUANA, Mexico: Hundreds of mostly Central American migrants poured into a new shelter on Friday as bus loads fled a filthy, flooded sports complex on the eve of a presidential inauguration in Mexico that could recast the border crisis with US President Donald Trump.
Earlier in the day, streams of migrants laden with heavy backpacks, tents and blankets, much of it soaking wet, loaded buses leaving their original migrants shelter within sight of the border.
Helicopters swooped down nearby a few times and lines of people formed quickly when bottles of water were passed out. Diapers and milk for children were also distributed.
For those among the at least 6,000 migrants who have descended upon the Mexican border city of Tijuana, just south of San Diego on the US side, the move to a former outdoor concert venue after torrential rains a day earlier reduced the old shelter to a muddy, smelly mess was a welcome relief.
“Here it’s better,” said Victor Manuel Argeta.
The 44-year-old native of Usulutan, El Salvador, spoke alongside his wife and two children as he surveyed the limited indoor space while many other caravan migrants set up simple camps in an open square in the middle of the property.
“It’s dry. We have a dry blanket. They gave us mattresses, too,” said Argeta.
He said he joined the caravan to find better job prospects in the United States.
Many of the migrants who made the trek to the East Tijuana property, some 7 miles (11 km) from the border, appeared thankful to be out of the muck even if most will sleep on thin mattresses on a cold, hard floor.
Jorge Alberto Lobo, 21, also from El Salvador, was eager to leave the old shelter as he packed up his few belongings.
“I have the dream, I think we all had it, to get to the other side, to the United States,” he said, but quickly adding that if he does not make it he will likely stay put in Mexico and look for work.
’Respect’
On Saturday, Mexico’s leftist president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will take the oath of office in the capital as he seeks to make good on campaign promises to alienate poverty and inequality, in part to help stem the flow of Mexico’s own migrants.
The former mayor of Mexico City has welcomed the caravan migrants in speeches, pledging to offer work visas and even jobs building a major train line he has proposed.
The day before his inauguration, Lopez Obrador was resting with friends at this ranch in southern Chiapas state, near the border with Guatemala, and reaffirmed his support for the migrants.
“Progressive, democratic governments respect migrants, respect the right all of us have as human beings to search out a better life. It’s the most important human right,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
He made a point of reflecting on the history of migrants north of the border.
“The United States is a country that became a powerhouse because of the work, effort and intelligence of migrants,” he said.
Trump, conversely, has dubbed the migrants an invading force that must be stopped, even threatening to shut the US border if Mexico does not deport those gathered in Tijuana.
To date, Mexican officials have ignored the threat.


India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal. (AFP)
Updated 37 min 46 sec ago
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India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

  • The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP will try to canvass and galvanize its activists across India before a general election due next May, after losing power in three heartland rural states, senior leaders said after a meeting on Thursday.
Disgruntled voters blamed the slow pace of job creation and weak farm prices for the Hindu nationalist party’s defeat in the states, two of which it had ruled for three straight terms.
“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who attended the meeting. “They’ll have to be tackled, and we will take suggestions from wherever needed.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) various wings — representing women, farmers, lower castes, Muslims and young members — will all hold deliberations after losses in the supposed stronghold states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“These meetings are aimed at preparing for the 2019 election and spreading the party’s message in various sections of society,” Bhupender Yadav, a BJP national general secretary, said after the meeting, which he said had been scheduled before the state election results came out on Tuesday.
He also announced that a planned national convention would be held in New Delhi on Jan. 11 and 12.
Senior BJP minister Nitin Gadkari told the ET Now business channel on Thursday that the agriculture sector may have been neglected under their government.

JOBS AND FARM PRICES
Agarwal, a chartered accountant who is also a director in a state-run bank, said increasing lending for job-generating small businesses was a key focus, as was enhancing procurement of grain from farmers by government agencies at state-mandated prices so there are no distress sales.
The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark, but state agencies mainly buy limited quantities of staples such as rice and wheat at those prices, restricting benefits of higher prices to only around 7 percent of India’s 263 million farmers, according to various studies.
Following the state election setbacks, Modi’s government is expected to announce loan waivers worth billions of dollars to woo farmers, government sources told Reuters this week.
Agarwal said the party’s loss in Madhya Pradesh, known for multiplying agriculture production under three BJP governments, has reinforced its realization that higher output helps consumers by bringing down prices, but can badly hurt farmers.
“The focus has so far been on consumers, like importing onions when prices shot up,” Agarwal said. “Now we need to look at the producers, not just the consumers.”
He also said there was a case for fiscal stimulus, given that inflation fell to a 17-month low in November. Food inflation sank to a negative 2.61 percent from a negative 0.86 percent in October, according to official data released on Wednesday.