Harold Duarte

December 15, 2018

El Berretal

[This sign was in front of El Barretal the day before I interviewed Harold. He asked that I not use his photo. Since he has this security concern, I also changed his name to Harold Duarte. This is not his real name.]

I am from Honduras, from the city of Choluteca. I have four children. I’m married. I don’t have my family with me. With the system there, I could not help my family. We heard about the caravan and four friends came to my house. We concluded that that there was an opportunity to come to the United States. In our region there is no work, everything is scarce, there is no security in our country. With our government, the political situation, it is not possible to work. There is unemployment. I have a comrade who wanted to study. I don’t have the capacity to study. If I could, I would take out my family. Looking forward, it’s fifty percent toward life, fifty percent toward death. They kidnap us, they kill us. A brother went away and has still has not come back to our country. So I want to get my family out. If you go with the caravan, you won’t get kidnapped. We will get shelter. Thank God I arrived in Mexico and I wasn’t kidnapped. They didn’t attack my family. Thanks be to God that here in Mexico nobody did anything to us.

             I talked with my wife and she agreed that I should try. We had a little business where we made about a thousand lempira [about $41 USD] a month, but when you count what we had to pay in taxes, for the lights, about five hundred pesos for light, for water, we didn’t have a system of living with which we could survive. My wife was supportive. I would have a future in the United States. My daughter agreed with me. In Honduras it was very dangerous. She is in the first grade but in a dangerous area.

            I had 1,500 lempira for my trip, for which I got a thousand pesos. I was on the road for thirty days, walking with the caravan, sleeping in parks. We rested in Veracruz. Thank God in Veracruz we received some help and we could move forward.

            I don’t like it here in the shelter because we always have our hand out. You’re a migrant from another country and you don’t have anything to do with me. But look here. This shelter has a roof. There is something to eat, and a roof. We were sleeping on the streets, walking, walking. It’s not possible to walk all the way from Guatemala without some help. They gave us tortillas, stale bread. I as a Honduran am grateful to the Americans.

            I don’t know if I am going to ask for asylum in the United States, because I have never been to the United States of North America. This is the first time I traveled since I did my military service, but if they give me an opportunity, I will bring my family forward.

            [I pointed out that the law allowed asylum for political reasons. Did he fear political persecution?] When I was there I said things about the government, about our president there, and I talked to a friend about and he told me to be careful. I am afraid they listened to me, the political parties. Therefore I can’t go back to my country. We have always had the poor, but all these benefits we give to the government, and the people never got anything from them. If they did what they should there would not be poor people.

            I only finished primary education. It’s difficult to go to school in my country.

            My sister is already on the other side, but she does not have her residence card. She has only immigrant status. She doesn’t yet have a work permit. If I can’t go forward, I may work here in Mexico.

            Thank you for the interview. I am grateful that an American came to listen to us.

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