I use Google Maps on my iPhone a lot when I travel. It lets me figure out how far I have to go, and how long it’s going to take me to get there. Not only that, but it can estimate travel times and distances for a variety of modes of transport—car, public transport, taxi, driving, or walking.
I got to thinking about this in terms of the infamous Caravan of so-called “asylum seekers”. This is the group of mostly young men which has come from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, and other towns in Honduras and Guatemala. After many adventures, they’ve finally made it to Tijuana, the Mexican city just across the US-Mexican border from San Diego. And they are so moved to have finally arrived that they’ve broken out in spontaneous exhibitions of happiness, including dancing, singing, rioting, and throwing rocks at the Border Guards … heck, they’re so happy to be near the Border that large groups of them have started crying tears of joy.
So I took out my trusty iPhone to see just how far it is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to San Diego, California. Here is the Google Maps estimate of how long it would have taken the Caravan to walk from Tegucigalpa to San Diego … forty days. 4,660 kilometers. YIKES!
But looking at that map I got to thinking … if I were walking from Nicaragua to the US, isn’t there a shorter way to get to the Promised Land? A bit of thought landed me on Brownsville, Texas as being the nearest US Port of Entry to Honduras. Here’s that voyage:
That walking trip to Brownsville, twenty-one days, 2,520 kilometers, is just about half of the length of the journey to San Diego. It’s also a much easier trip, especially for the few kids and older people that made the voyage, because it runs along the Gulf of Mexico instead of going through the heat, mountains, drought, and deserts of Central and Northwestern Mexico.
So here’s the question …
Why San Diego? Why would a bunch of people, of whom an estimated ten percent are women and children, decide to walk twice as far over much more difficult terrain just to end up in the same situation?
Kinda seems like some people other than the good folks taking the hike were calling the shots and choosing the itinerary for political reasons … but maybe that’s just my well-earned paranoia regarding “spontaneous” forty-day marches across two countries.
Best regards to all,