The Caravan of Central American Mothers: A Lesson in Political Action

Ana spent the day with the XV Caravan of Central American Mothers of Disappeared Migrants in Huixtla, in southern Chiapas. The tracks of the train cross through the town, which is one of the stopping points for migrants traveling north. The women of the caravan come here with the hope that residents will provide hints about where they could find their disappeared family members.

Foto: @RubenFigueroaDH

Ana walks alongside the other women, with the photo of her son hanging around her neck and a banner in hand. They sing: “Join us, join us. This could be your son.” With a megaphone, the mothers invite people to pass by a central sports field to look at the photos of their children, in case they recognize someone some who passed through or eventually settled in Huixtla.  

The women of the caravan go from door to door, speaking with the few people who dared leave their houses, instead of escaping the fierce heat of the day. It is the first time that Ana has participated in the Honduran group of the Caravan of Central American Mothers of Disappeared Migrants. “It’s an experience I’m never going to forget,” she says.

Foto: @RubenFigueroaDH

The caravan started only a few days ago, but the act of traveling together has given the participants not only a sense of affection and camaraderie with one another. It has also brought them a new sense of political consciousness, one that allows them to speak openly about who is to blame. The caravan is a political school, in which people speak out about state violence.

“It’s an active resistance,” Ana said, holding up the photograph on which that phrase is printed.

Foto: @RubenFigueroaDH

At night, she will hold a candle and walk with the other mothers toward the Tapachula Cultural Station, a community center constructed in the city’s old train station. She will hold a candle for her disappeared son, and for all the others who have disappeared. 

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