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  • Jorge Choy-Gómez

A normal day

6 0'clock in the morning and I am the first Mexican to approach one of three groups of rafters. They sweep and clean, accommodate chairs, smoke and drink coffee. Cross to the other side cost 25 pesos or 10 quetzales, they tell me. I only see an army man, he hides when he sees my camera and prefers to leave. There is no federal police and there is no INM in this part of the river, which is 200-300 meters from the international bridge. The rafters tell me it is a normal day, there are not many people, there is no movement.

There's not much movement on the other side and few people begin to cross. The elections in Guatemala are important and by now they already finish, but people keep moving as they always will.

Little by little they begin to cross from one side to the other. Most of them are people who work in Tecún Umán, Guatemala or Ciudad Hidalgo, on the Mexican side. Who is a migrant? How do I distinguish them? Is it because of the backpacks? I don't want to ask them, but the National Guard that already operates in other parts of the Chiapas-Guatemala border will.

Murals sponsored by UNHCR and IOM to report rights on the Mexican side. There are also on the other side of the river in the Tecún Umán central park. Do they work? I don't know. Nor do the boatmen I ask, "but they look pretty," they tell me. We will have to ask migrants.

The Paso Limón (Lemon Pass) y el Paso del Coyote are the unofficial entries. In 2005, when the Hurricane destroyed the Suchiate river bank, region's economy suffered severe damages, a year later the city council rebuilt these steps and enabled ramps for the passage of goods. Vegetables, fruits, and people come to Mexico. Sugar, coffee and groceries go to Guatemala.

The park of Ciudad Hidalgo works as a shelter. 50 or so people sleep every night. Boys, girls, women and adult men sleep on the floor, exposed. "They are not cold. It's never cold here," a policeman tells me. 33 Celsius degrees and 82% average humidity per year could prove it right. Again, we have to ask migrants.

In Ciudad Hidalgo begins one of the roads. It is not the only one, but it is one of the most famous. Two kilometers later checkpoints begin but the obstacles begin much earlier. How do they overcome them? We will have to ask the migrants, always.

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