Migrant caravan masses on Guatemala-Mexico border awaiting confrontation with Mexican police

Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to Central America and close his country's border with Mexico if a caravan of Honduran migrants marching toward the U.S. is not turned back.

In a string of tweets, Trump also said the border issue was more important to him than the new trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump also threatened to upend a pending trade deal with Mexico that took more than a year to negotiate and is created to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Reports from Guatemala say a group of Central American migrants have torn down a border gate and are rushing towards a border bridge into Mexico. The president announced plans in April to send thousands of National Guard troops to the border, where they could remain until his promised wall is constructed.

"They wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn't just happen", Mr. Trump said. He added that he was concerned by the USA president's threats, but "you have to keep fighting".

Central American migrants hiked from Honduras through muddy jungle and residential streets, some toting babies along with backpacks, Reuters images show.

Even by those standards his Thursday morning tweet storm - coming less than three weeks from midterm legislative elections where the Democrats may take the lower house from Trump's Republicans - was especially fierce.

The migrants say they organized for the long and hard journey on social media, but Washington suspects the group has been organized as a deliberate provocation.

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The migrant caravan is making its way through Guatemala, mostly on foot, with several of the quickest already at Mexico's southern border.

Last year, the U.S. gave Honduras some £138.92million ($181m) in aid to finance security, anti-drug trafficking and poverty reduction programmes, according to the Washington Office for Latin America.

On Thursday, Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala, Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno, met with migrants camped out on the border to try to discourage them from crossing illegally.

The migrants planned to wait for the rest of the caravan to arrive, then cross the border en masse in hopes of overwhelming the Mexican authorities, who have vowed to detain anyone without a visa.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing a smaller caravan by processing many who made a decision to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the USA border.

About 4,000 migrants have reportedly fled Central America to escape poverty and violence. López Obrador, the president-elect, will take over December 1.

And, much like Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico is itself a country of many migrants, raising the question of whether the political will exists for a confrontation.

On Thursday, Trump referred to the caravan as an "assault on our country", citing "criminal elements and drugs pouring in".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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