The leading migrant caravan trying to make its way to the United States border is admitting defeat after asking the Mexican government to provide dozens of buses to speed up the group’s journey northward.
The setback comes days after caravan leaders asked for “safe and dignified” transport to Mexico City, a checkpoint along the way for a group that has been dwindling in size as members either apply for protected status in Mexico or drop out over fatigue exacerbated by the sweltering weather conditions they have been facing.
“The attempt to travel by bus failed,” caravan coordinator Walter Cuello told the Associated Press Wednesday night.
It has been a tumultuous journey so far for the leading caravan, which is now estimated to contain around 4,000 people – down from a peak of more than 7,000.
The caravan crossed into Mexico from Guatemala around Oct. 19 and, at the start of this week, appeared to be pushing northward at a faster pace with the help of free rides being offered to them in trucks and other vehicles.
But the arduous nature of the trek – walking day by day to new towns and cities and sleeping on the streets – has been eating away at the migrants’ morale from the outset. The request for bus travel for all also indicates an increased sense of urgency amongst the caravan’s members to make it to the U.S. border – despite thousands of American troops awaiting them there and a steady drumbeat of warnings from President Trump and U.S. officials to turn around.