Category Archives: Caravanista interviews

Interviews with Central Americans who came to Tijuana with the November 2018 caravan

Rudin Efrain Martinez

December 1, 2018

Calle Primera

Rudin Efrain Martinez 2

I am thirty years old, from Danli del Paraiso. I have a grade school education. My parents are still in Honduras, as well as three older siblings and five younger, three brothers and five sisters. My father worked all the time, doing all types of work. I didn’t see him much.

I did all types of farm work for different farmers. I worked for three years cutting cane. I couldn’t make enough to get by. I couldn’t help my family. I had to do more.

I had no real problems with gangs or crime. I had no trouble with the government, but the government did not help me. The government should help the poor, but they did nothing. When the caravan started, I saw the news written about it. I also it on television. It started in Guatemala. I said to my friend, “Let’s join.” The caravan just started up on its own. A few people started and the word spread. I made up my mind the first day I heard about it. There’s work there. This is how it happened. People just immediately decided to go.

Along the road I was hungry and thirsty. My feet were damaged and they hurt. I had no money. In Guatemala we were treated very well. We were treated well in Mexico also. The Mexican people have been good. Right now I’m just looking around, trying to figure out how to cross, what to do next.

The danger I face if I return to Honduras is dying of hunger. I couldn’t continue to study. I had to find work in the fields, but there’s little work.

In the United States, I could work as a painter. I would do any type of work I could get.

Cristian Castillo Cerrato

December 1, 2018

Calle Primero, Tijuana

Cristian Castillo Cerrato 2

I am twenty years old, from the city of Danli, El Paraiso in Honduras. I worked in the ranches and fields. I chopped cane, cut coffee, watered coffee and maiz, tended beans. I cleaned. I did all tasks that you can do on a farm. I also worked construction.

When I was sixteen, I completed a diploma in building. But I could not find work in building.

I have not worked recently because I have been threatened by criminal gangs. The gang member threatened me with a gun in midday. They threatened me because of my father. I ran away and went to the police. The pandilleros will throw you in the well. Nobody ever leaves the well. They want to kill me because I went to the police. The police might give some help, but it comes to nothing. They’re all controlled by the people who have money. It’s the gangsters who have the money.

My parents don’t care that I’m here. My parents don’t help me. They left me in the streets. I had to work, so I worked. I worked for the gangs for two years. I got up at 2:00 a.m. and loaded the boats. The boats left at 5:00 a.m. They were smugglers. I worked until 5:00 p.m. They paid me 400 lempira [about $16.40 USD] per week. I started doing tasks for the gangs at twelve because I had no money. My aunts and uncles didn’t care. They treated me like a dog.

I had been planning to go to the United States for about a year, getting things together. Little by little preparing. In San Pedro I heard the news of the caravan from a friend. I came here with him.

[Interviewer asked him if there were organizers, if anybody recruited him or was in charge of the trip.]

Nobody recruited me. I just heard about the caravan. I didn’t think about what would happen. I just went. When I got here, I was just happy.

I got a loan for my trip. My uncle pawned something and gave me 500 lempira. From Honduras, I walked for at least twenty days. For ten nights, we walked all night. I’m not clear on the numbers. I was worried all the time, mostly about the people back home who wanted to kill me. Along the way, I was thirsty and hungry. I needed a place to sleep. Mexico is pretty but still I dream of going up there [to the United States]. A relative of a friend lives up there. He might help me. I can’t tell you his name. But he has no money.

I have not talked to an immigration lawyer or anybody about what I need in order to cross. If I get across I want to raise myself up through work and study, first studying English, then architecture. I don’t know what to do now, what my next step should be. I know I can’t go back. They will kill me.

The president of Honduras does not help us. He takes all the money sent to him for aid. Nothing gets to the people. There is no work of any kind. They don’t pay the workers. Many who try to work are physically abused.

More than anything now, I feel trauma.

Bayron Enrique

December 1, 2018

I am sixteen years old, from Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. There I experienced lots of crime. Gang members killed my brother. He was twenty-four years old and they killed him because he didn’t pay the extortion. They were going to kill me if I wouldn’t pay. We had a food stand where we sold chicken and potatoes. He was my only sibling. The gangs harassed us for two years. They took all we had. We couldn’t even be safe in our own homes. I’ve left but my mother is still there.

I completed grade school and then went to work.

Life was terrible for me, and in July 2018 my friends and I decided we had to leave. We couldn’t stay there. There are seven of us. When the opportunity came, we all left together. None of us ever got into trouble. We have all decided we want to stay in Mexico. We will try to get the papers that will allow us to work here. I like Tijuana. It’s pretty.

Bayron Enrique

Joel Hernandez Jimenez

November 30, 2018Joel Hernandez Jimenez

The first time I went to the US was in 2000, when I was 18. I was deported to Mexico, and then went back in to Gruenau, Texas. I was deported again and returned in 2010. I worked until December 2015. Then I traveled to Miami and flew from Miami to Honduras to see my father. Traveling to Honduras was my own choice then. My father was sick and I wanted to see him one last time. He died one month and two weeks after I returned. He died on January 22, 2016.

I wanted to work in Honduras but the situation was very difficult. I had a house and a car, but I was threatened when I tried to work. The gangs were extortionists, pandillas. They demanded a percent of my sales. I had a shop where I sold shoes and clothes.

I got married in 2017. Then I went to the American Embassy in Honduras to ask for a visa. I was denied because of my deportations. My wife and child are already in the US. The child is two years old, her child by a previous partner. My wife is wearing an ankle tracker and has a hearing coming up in Chicago in two or three months. She is staying with her sister in Columbus, Ohio, and working there. They have to rent a car to go to her court hearing. It’s expensive.

I tried to enter again at Piedras Negras, Texas in August and was deported again in September. I have never had any problem with the law except with immigration. All I want to do is help my family. Everything is for my daughter. I have American friends. They would like to help me, but they say there is nothing they can do.

Today is my birthday. Look here on my passport. I was born on November 30, 1979.

I have been a victim in Mexico. I was attacked in Nuevo Leon. Here is the police report. This page shows the surgeon’s report. Here is my own testimony. I showed this at the United States border, but they weren’t interested. There were four of us in the group when I was attacked. One was a Mexican. We were waiting for a train. One of the criminals had a firearm. I had eight injuries. They took everything. Luckily I had my Honduran identification certificate, so I was able to get a new passport.

In Honduras, everyone is afraid.

The first time I came to the United States, I wanted to help my family. I had no fear then. At the time of my first deportation, I was with a group of Mexicans, from Nuevo Laredo. If I said I was Honduran they would separate me from them, so I said I was Mexican. We went to Querétaro.

I stayed for two days, then crossed again, near San Antonio and Three Rivers. I went to Gorges and worked for a farmer for six months. Then I went to San Antonio, then Houston. In Houston, I worked in a Chinese restaurant. I worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, and they paid me $1,500 a month. They gave me a place to live and I was able to send home $1,100 a month. I had nothing. I had no choices. I worked there for fifteen months.

I’m not happy in my country. I will be happy to be with my family. I can’t see going back. I want to live in the United States so I can have peace and tranquility. In the United States, people respect one another and they value education.

In Honduras, the president has marches in the street. I don’t really know who is behind the marches, but clearly they have ties with the government. His followers assault people. They will stop traffic. They break windows so they can enter people’s houses and rob them. I never saw anything in fifteen years in the United States like I did in the little time I was back in Honduras. In the United States, I was accustomed to getting up and five in the morning and going to work. In Honduras, I got up at five in the morning and do nothing. There was no work. Everything there was stress. My mind was occupied with worry and stress.

When I returned to the United States on June 10, 2010, I went to work right away.

When I returned to Honduras in 2015, I didn’t intend to return to the United States. I wanted to work there. All I had was fear and insecurity. If you make a little, the delinquents take that.

Ranchers came into the town with rifles, walk around and threaten us. Or they would sit inside their watch posts and track our movements. They were vigilantes, threatening us.

The Mexicans have helped us. They are our brothers. Still we feel insecure here. In the United States, you can walk home at night safely or go to a restaurant. Now I find myself here in Mexico. I have no idea how I will get in. The last time I crossed in Piedras Negras, the judge gave me twenty-five days before my deportation. I didn’t have an ankle monitor. On the last day, I didn’t go back to the judge. I just returned to Mexico on my own.

Since I have been in Tijuana I talked to an immigration lawyer, but I didn’t understand her.

I think my wife will get a permit to stay. I am still in touch with her. She has a lawyer, and her sister got her work. This is a struggle for her. It is a big trip from Honduras. It’s hard with one there [in the US] and the other here. The judge in Piedras Negras told me I that I would get six months for another illegal crossing.

We’re doing all this for our daughter. We talked about going to Costa Rica or Spain, but decided on the United States. When I went to the Embassy, they told me I should apply for a pardon for my previous deportation, and gave me the paperwork. It costs $585. The lawyer told me I can’t enter illegally again. If I get the pardon and apply for the visa again, I think I can get it. My biggest problem is the 2000 deportation. I can’t go back to Honduras. There’s too much trauma. If there were a different president, I don’t know what it would be like.

I’ve never had any problem with the law, except for immigration.

Roberto De La Caridad Articasoto

November 30, 2018 at Calle Primera, Tijuana

 

The problem in Honduras is bad government. There’s so much crime and you get no help from the police. In effect there is no police force, no government. I had my own shop, where I sold roasted chicken. I was assaulted there three times. The thieves were organized. The regularly robbed both me and my business.

In the United States, I hope to get dignified work.

The problems in Honduras have been going on for four years. If you report a crime, the police don’t do anything.  They don’t investigate your complaints. The situation has been like this for four years. Before that, life there was the best. With the change of presidents, with Orlando Hernandez, everything changed. Now the government is only for the rich.

I have seven children. My only daughter is five months old. My sons are 21, 17, 14, 12 and twins at 10. If I don’t work, they don’t eat. My children are still in Honduras. I hope to get work and send them money.

The trip has been horrible, tiring. My feet hurt. They are damaged. I walked for eighteen days and spent eight days on trucks. Kind people along the way helped me out with food and water, places to sleep, and rides.

I have not talked to any attorneys here. I have had no help on how to cross the border or what to do when I cross. God gave me this opportunity, and if it is God’s will, I will succeed. What I hope for is the dignity of work. In a short time, I will have that, if it is God’s will.