*Normally I don’t like to do more than one guest post in a row — as you know — but I’m running this series for several reasons. Some of them are mundane. I’m on the final push at refinishing the library system, and frankly ready to be done with it. Also so tired, I fall asleep when I sit down. My house hasn’t been cleaned in a month and looks like a construction zone (I’m cleaning today) and we have practice grandchildren visiting tonight. But more importantly, now Bill is done with the editorial part of his articles, and does a deep dive into what I call “the data of the horde.” I think someone should do that and it should be out in the public, before the inevitable confrontation at the border and the hasty attempts at out-pallywooding Pallywood by our media. And so, I’m running this and another tomorrow. After that I’ll be back. – SAH*
Examining the Migrant Horde- Pt 1—Planes, Trains or Automobiles? by Bill Reader
There’s a lot of discussion going on about the logistics of the migrant horde on its way up from Latin America. There are tons of unanswered questions about this group, and hopefully by the end of this series of articles I can at least begin to provide some answers. This is not intended as a be-all, end-all set of articles. This is intended as a good starting point. It is my fervent hope that this inspires continuing efforts by diligent journalists on the ground.
There are several things that are worth discussing with this group. First, how are they traveling? Is it really all by foot?
Second, what kind of logistical support do they have? How are they organized, and who by? Are they funded externally, and if so, by what organizations? Recall that feeding this many people is a non-trivial task.
Third, how big is the group, and who is it composed of? We’re hearing a lot of competing stories on this subject. For the people purporting to know, one way or another, how do they know? What is their intent—are they trying to immigrate, are they refugees, or what?
In this series of articles, I hope to examine all these questions.
Let’s start with how they’re traveling. While it’s undeniable that the group is spending some period of time walking, an examination of their travel itinerary reveals that almost by definition, they haven’t been walking all the time. And now that some major news sources are actually reporting the speed the caravan is supposed to be going, incidentally, things are only getting more implausible.
Some people in the NYT are dumb enough to write the following in the Article “Debunking 5 Viral Images of the Migrant Caravan”—”Claim: Caravan members are boarding buses and trains instead of walking” which they follow with “Verdict: Mislabeled/unproven”. Technically speaking, that is true for the specific images they chose. These images are mislabeled. Note that they rather specifically dodge around the question of whether these people are taking vehicles of any kind. But their definition of the claim is not only not unproven, it is acknowledged in multiple MSM news sources, and further demonstrated in photographs on MSM sources. And lest we forget, buses aren’t the only vehicle people can ride on, as I will also highlight.
I will quote the following articles. Emphasis is mine:
-“Many hitched rides from hundreds of cars, trucks and public transportation.” –Reuters
-“The caravan, fairly compact in recent days, has dispersed a bit, with different bands of people seen walking together in a line, some boarding buses or trying to hitch rides” – CBS
-“A caravan estimated at more than 7,000 Central Americans, on foot and in vehicles, has been making its way north, intending to travel through Mexico to the U.S. border.” – Murcury News
-“Motorists in pickups and other vehicles have been offering the migrants rides, often in overloaded truck beds”— USNews
-“Thousands of Central American migrants are walking, taking buses and wading through rivers”—PBS
Moreover, here is a photoessay published on NBC. I draw your attention to the following images and their associated captions:
-Image 2/36- Shows a woman sleeping on a bus. Caption: “A woman sleeps with her baby as they travel on a bus toward the United States. The migrant caravan moves in groups either on foot or by vehicle.”
-Image 7/36- People on the back of a truck. Caption “Locals drove Hondurans part of the way.”
-Image 8/36- People getting off a truck. Caption: “A Honduran child cries as he gets off a truck during a new leg of the journey.”
-Image 9/36- Hands sticking through a truck’s side. Caption: “Migrants sit in a truck”
-Image 14/36- People getting on a truck. Caption: “Honduran migrants get on a truck to Guatemala City.”
This isn’t “unverified”, NYT. This is demonstrable fact. Some of the migrants have been riding on busses, and in addition to that, they’re also hitching rides on passing vehicles as noted in multiple articles and photos.
But there’s more to this. “Okay”, you may say, “So they’re spending some time on vehicles. But that doesn’t make that big a difference to the overall speed of the group.” Well, that can’t actually be the case. See, I decided to examine how fast this group has been moving. Now, while I appreciate that this caravan is sizeable, and people are playing fast and loose with when they actually technically arrive and leave at various cities, per the following news sources, enough people were in each given place at each given time to say that the caravan had arrived there. We can even get an estimate of how far ahead the fastest groups were.
Sources for the bona-fides of the dates of arrival are provided, though at this point it’s more or less a matter of record. First things first. The caravan started in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Sources vary slightly on the exact day they set off, with Fox and USA Today saying the 12th, and Daily Mail saying the 13th. By October 23rd, according to USA Today, they were interviewing people passing through Huixtla, Mexico. We also know that the caravan didn’t take the very shortest route per GoogleMaps, because some of the places noted in the NBC photo-essay—Quezaltepeque, Guatamala, and Chiquimula, Guatemala—are on a slightly more southern route. All told the distance traveled in 12 days—and that’s being generous, counting from the 12th, counting the full day of both the 12th and the 23rd as travel days, and ignoring that the caravan seems to have stalled out for almost a full day when it hit the border starting on the 18th— was 471 miles. That’s a pace of nearly 40 miles a day.
For comparison, I decided to research about how fast a trained infantry unit—notable for not carrying 5 year olds—can go in a day. This discussion on Quora puts a foot march at a 12-20 miles a day on the low end for infantry, with some elite units being able to move about 50 miles a day in full combat gear on good roads. This correlates well with a separate discussion here, which states: “The average soldier should be able to walk at a speed of 6.5kph for 20km carrying 32kg (LBE, pack & rifle)…”. 20 km is about 12 miles, and the same source states that “Humans can easily walk over 20 miles per day without tiring, even when carrying moderate loads and without much conditioning.” Remember, that’s half the speed this group is going by even the most conservative estimates. This simple estimate is consistent with the average speed worked out by the Daily Mail. That essentially random, lower-class Latin Americans, including women and children, would march about the double the distance that humans can easily accommodate, and indeed faster than the average trained infantry unit day-over-day, is suspicious as is, and points to the influence of vehicles being significant. However, it’s not absolute proof.
Still, I can point out one leg of the journey in particular which would have been, in all probability, impossible without assistance from vehicles. For this, let’s consider a few of the well documented stops on that road—specifically, the point where the caravan traveled through the closely-approximated cities of Quezaltepeque, Guatemala, and Chiquimula, Guatemala, through Guatemala city, and on to border town of Tecun Uman. There’s good documentation of migrants being in Quezaltepeque on the 16th. It can be found here: “Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., are pictured inside a pick up in Quezaltepeque, Guatemala October 16, 2018.” Also here: “Honduran immigrants travel north near Quezaltepeque, Guatemala, on 16 October.” These appeared to be some of the people at the front. Photos of the most substantial part of the group going through nearby Chiquimula appear on the 17th, per CBS (image 3/56), and here is a different picture of it from NBC (image 13/36). And also at both links, note separate pictures of people departing Guatemala city on the 18th, both on foot, and by vehicle. Meanwhile, on the 18th, the first people had arrived at the Suchiate River in Tecun Uman, according to PBS: ” On Thursday, hundreds had walked to the river’s edge where they sang the national anthems of Honduras and Guatemala,”. Remember that, readers. I’ll come back to that. But spoiler alert, these aren’t exactly poor Ellis Island arrivals looking to become good Americans. And of course, on the 19th, enough had made it to Tecun Uman as noted by the WSJ, as noted by Time, and so on— to push down the fence by force.
From this we can infer a couple of things—the leading edge of the caravan was maybe a day ahead—that is, both between the 16th and the 17th in the nearby towns of Quezaltepeque and Chiquimula (the two are about 19 miles apart), we can find early photos of small groups about a day before the main group came through. The pattern is repeated again with small groups arriving at Tecun Uman on the border on the 18th, and a critical mass capable of knocking down the border fence being present on the 19th.
Second, we have separate photos and independent sources confirming the presence of the meat of the migrant horde in Chiquimala on the 17th, Guatamala City on the 18th, and Tecun Uman on the 19th. The distance from Chiquimala to Tecun Uman, passing through Guatamala, is 255-272 miles (depending on whether you ask GoogleMaps for walking or driving directions), meaning the main part of the group went an astonishing distance of almost 90 miles a day over these 3 days, and again, that’s by the most conservative estimates. That’s much faster than an elite military unit, much faster than any group could conceivably walk for such a sustained period. If they did not eat, sleep, or stop for any reason, and traveled midnight to midnight, that puts their average speed at 3.75 miles per hour. That is traveling at just shy of what our source above refers to as “forced march speed”, 4 mph. And again, that’s assuming they did it for 3 days, continuously, midnight to midnight, which we know for a fact they did not. For one thing, that NBC photoessay above shows them bedding down in a gymnasium on the 17th.
So either A) not only are they spending time traveling by vehicle, but vehicles of one form or another have played a substantial role, not for one or two small groups, but for the meat of party. This would explain how they are cover distances that quickly during this period, because the alternative is that B) this group of people, which is always pictured as walking in videos, is breaking into a run when the camera is off and somehow maintaining that pace for distances and times that would challenge army rangers. It is almost double the speed of an elite military unit. And you are supposed to believe, I reiterate, that they did this repeatedly, day in, and day out.
Here’s the bottom line—these people aren’t walking this whole way. It’s not just tenuous, or unlikely, it’s impossible. Among those parts of the MSM that are honest enough to admit they are using some kind of vehicle, the story is that they’re covering these distances by hitching rides between walking. I can’t prove that or disprove it. There are certainly a lot of images of people on the backs of trucks if you go looking for them. But in no image did I see more than maybe one or two hundred people on the back of vehicles. Did most of the portion of the group that used public transit use it during these time periods? Perhaps. Were buses provided for by other means? I can’t demonstrate that, either. But I can tell you that anyone selling you that these are people simply walking up from Latin America is staking claim that doesn’t conform at all to the evidence.
When I initially sat down to write this, the story was still in its infancy. Since then, well, things have come on a bit. On the 29th of October AP reported that the organizers of the horde, then passing through Tapanatepec, were demanding ” safe and dignified” transport to Mexico city, which demonstrates remarkable chutzpa considering these people are largely in the country of Mexico illegally. It was broken by Fox (video at the link, reposted on another site), but widely attributed to Daily Caller for picking up, and is now reported by a plurality of sites, that the “migrant” “caravan” was boarding charter buses in Oaxaca state. Two interesting sidebars there, though. First, I used another, essentially randomly selected site, because my search engine couldn’t show me the footage on Fox’s site. Second, geographic searches in Latin America have, over the course of following this story, proven to be a nightmare. When following this, you have to be clear that the group is Oaxaca state, not Oaxaca city. All that was as of the 30th of October.
On the 1st of November Fox reported they were in Juchitan, which based on the map they provide would be the town GoogleMaps refers to as Juchitan de Zaragoza. November 1st was also a day of up and down news for Americans. On the one hand, it seems to mark the date the organizers unexpectedly shifted for a Northern route towards McAllen, TX, though truthfully this seems to be the route many American commentators have expected for some time, as it’s the shortest. On the other hand, from the discussion you can tell that at least some in the crowd seem to have been planning to go to Tijuana. As we’ll discuss tomorrow, one of the prominent leaders of the caravan is based there. Also, given that California is a lot more likely to put up with this BS than Texas, it’s hard to avoid speculating, once again, that the point of this caravan is not to actually get in, but to use the group as pawns in the interest of influencing the midterms. The trip is about 800 miles if they take that route. The good news is that the caravan coordinators are also saying its attempts to appeal to Mexico for Buses “failed“, as of October 31st. It’s worth remembering—and I’ll talk about this in more detail—that the best information I can find suggests these coordinators may include members of Pueblo de Fronteras, which given the group has its headquarters in Chicago and is funded by multiple left-wing funding agencies according to InfluenceWatch, is absolutely under fair suspicion for attempts to influence the timing. Even the other major group that may have control of the caravan has reasons it might want to. The article at the link notes the following two paragraphs, which I cannot improve on:
” In the first week after the leading caravan got into Mexico, federal police sometimes enforced obscure safety rules, forcing them off paid mini-buses, citing insurance regulations, added the Associated Press. They also stopped some overloaded pickup trucks carrying migrants and forced them to get off.
But in recent days, officials from Mexico’s immigrant protection agency have organized rides for straggling women and children as a humanitarian effort. And police have routinely stood by as migrants piled aboard freight trucks.”
To which I will add only two other comments—while the story given here sounds plausible, isn’t it convenient that the women and children, depending on how far they get rides, could also be the first to arrive at the border, to be confronted by several Army divisions? I’m not alone in thinking this is the long game of this caravan. Sarah and I have talked at some length about this, and if it follows the history of communist organized protests everywhere (stay tuned!), we can expect a pregnant woman to be shot. We’re calling her Maria De La Cruz, at present, as a convenient placeholder name until she presents herself. Note also that this entire demand—ridiculous on the face of it—seems calculated to get rejected (lest we forget, people who just waltzed in after attacking Mexican cops are demanding things of Mexico), in order to obscure three things.
1- As demonstrated above, this group has been getting vehicular assistance or their prior rate of speed would be impossible, and this rejection doesn’t change that,
2- Given that we saw groups boarding buses, and we know that the appeal to Mexico is not what rendered them, that strongly implies that there is funding coming from somewhere, because bus drivers don’t get to just do whatever they like with their buses (And just to foreshadow, for all that Mexico and the coordinators play up rejection? It could still be Mexico.) and
3- unless those buses have also been stopped, this statement deliberately misleads about how the group is currently traveling. If they’re on buses, they could be at the border very easily before the elections. The 800 miles from their present position to McAllen is a relative breeze by bus. But this may also be a play to spread US resources, by sending the women and children North to McAllen to be a political setpiece while the military aged men continue onward.
It’s hard to tell because the way the caravan chooses its next location isn’t straightforward. Tune in tomorrow to find out why I say that. And in case you wonder why I would think such a thing at all, Protocol Magazine noted that when the April caravan halted in Mexico city rather than continuing to the American border, “Leaders cited the reason for this as concerns for the high numbers of children within the group, as the next stage would involve dangerous travel by freight train”. Which, indeed, pictures at the links in the update show some groups are already doing. Which begs the question, how do they intend to proceed this time?