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  • A Tapachula, carrefour des exilés


    "Getting to Tapachula is seeing the end of the tunnel. The border city of southern Mexico is providing relief to hundreds of thousands of refugees en route to the United States. Many come from Latin America, but also, since Europe barricades, from Africa or Asia. And, with Donald Trump and his wall project, what should be a stopover turns into the end of the journey for many." - Maryline Baumard -

    The sounds of Nepalese, English or Eritrean were mixing with Spanish in Mexican Tapachula's cheap hotels and migrant shelters, which used to be filled with Central Americans recently crossed from neighboring Guatemala. There I met Cameroonians from the Anglophone minority who fleeing prosecution in their country crossed to Nigeria, flew to visa-free Ecuador and started a journey that lasted months on foot towards the Mexican town. They described the difficulties to cross an entire continent on a language they didn't understand. The smugglers, assaults and robberies, as well as the stories of those who didn't make it. The good shelters in Costa Rica and the unbelievable difficulties across the Darien Gap -a 60 mile rainforest stretch between Colombia and Panama- which is controlled by drug traffickers and armed groups.

    There were also Cubans who left their island on a sailboat and spent 20 days on the sea, 5 without food, before reaching Honduras. Nepalese who traveled for 9 months. Their stories were harrowing, and their situation in the humble bordering town very precarious. They all seemed to have a blind determination to reach American soil -no matter the challenges- and felt that the worst of their journey was already behind. These transcontinental migrants have opened a dramatic new chapter in the long story of immigration to the US, making journeys of unimaginable difficulty up trough South and Central America, dreaming of setting foot one day in the United States.

    Shot on assignment for Le Monde's "M le Magazine du Monde" on February 2018