Examining the Migrant Horde- Pt 2—The Power Behind the Horde by Bill Reader
Today, we dive headfirst into the logistics of the migrant horde. If you missed my prior article on examining the improbable reporting on the speed of this group, you can find it here. On today’s docket, a discussion of how this group is organized, who is supporting it including what specific organizations and individuals have been named so far, and other logistical errata. Still to be discussed in a future article, the surprisingly tricky question of how many people, and what kind of people, make up the migrant horde.
I’m going to focus most of this article on examining certain key players. Barolo Fuentes, a Honduran socialist who was one of the frontmen for this caravan, and his friends in the LIBRE party; Pueblo sin Fronteras, a project of the Chicago-Based 501c La Familia Latina Unida; and a brief look at Venezuela, recently highlighted by Vice President Pence and currently in the spotlight as a possible funding source for all this.
We’ll begin with the man purported to have started it all— Bartolo Fuentes. First, the official story. My first introduction to him was an article published by The Daily Beast. It’s a characteristically ideologically stilted article. They report caravan #1 as being touched off by a false report that Fuentes would pay all expenses of people traveling North. I quote: “The anchors interviewed a woman who was supposedly part of the caravan. The woman talked about safety in numbers, called Fuentes the organizer and mentioned foreign assistance. The anchors, without any supporting evidence, then said that Fuentes would pay for the migrants’ food and transportation.” Fuentes himself took to the media to counter this false report. The theory runs that the safety in numbers alone, however, still offered an attractive alternative for long-standing holdouts, as Coyotes are very expensive.
Fuentes is described as a “Honduran Lawmaker” by Reuters and a “Social Activist” by NBC. I would call that an intentional mischaracterization. Let me add a couple of things from the Daily Beast article that explain that in more detail. First, his involvement in prior “caravans”: “When Fuentes first became aware of small groups dispersed throughout Honduras that were organizing among themselves to make the trek north, he decided to help out, just as he had done with a previous migrant caravan last April—and indeed throughout his life”. So, this wasn’t just nondescript social activism, but someone who has deliberately and repeatedly assisted specifically with illegal immigration. Now, let me sweeten the deal with the other interesting fact— ” … Bartolo sought refuge in Mexico himself after receiving threats. Central America’s right-wing death squads were notorious and his earlier participation in protests against the U.S.-backed Contras, who used his country as a staging ground in their CIA-backed war on Nicaragua’s Sandinistas, made him a potential target.”. I find that fascinating. Those “death squads” were often as not “revenge squads”. That he had a target on his back makes it likely a more apt description for Mr. Fuentes would be “Honduran Socialist”.
Initially, that was only a suspicion, as the English News media has been strangely incurious about him. So I did some further digging, armed with Google Translate. I first began to get a better idea of his early life in BBC Mundo, which states (translated): “In his youth he was a student leader and since the 1980s he has been known as a militant of the Honduran left . He is currently editor of Vida Laboral magazine and the Honduras Labor web site, which focuses on labor and human rights, in general.”. Vida Laboral means, roughly, Labor Life. All of that tessellates well with what we explored above.
La Tribuna picks up the story above in more detail, and describes him as having organized caravans since 1999. They note also that he is an “ex-deputy” in the National Congress of Honduras, for a group called Libertad y Refundación (Freedom and Refoundation) AKA LIBRE for short. The Honduran government is unicameral, but he was essentially the local equivalent of a senator/representative. Who is LIBRE? Why, they’re a Leftist Political Party in Honduras. They were founded in 2011 by the National Popular Resistance Front/ National People’s Resistance Front (FNRP). LIBRE was christened by Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran president who was deposed in a coup in 2009 (without much success, insofar as his wife ran for president in Honduras in 2013). This coup probably had to do with him running on a conservative platform, and then turning hard Left. Among other things he temporarily brought Honduras into ALBA—the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. Wiki summarizes the group thus: “Founded initially by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, it is associated with socialist and social democratic governments wishing to consolidate regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid.” That was in 2008. Then, in 2009, per the WSJ, Zelaya “tried to override the Honduran constitution to remain in office despite a term limit.”. Consequently, he was deposed by the military in 2009. The point of this digression being, the more apt short biography is that he’s an ex-representative of a hard left party of a would-be dictator, in the Honduran national legislature. An interesting note on the same subject—he was elected first in 2013, implying that he had come back to the country in the meanwhile, since his self-imposed exile in Mexico.
If you’ve been following the story closely, you can tell me the rest. On October 16th, as the group entered Guatamala, Fuentes was arrested and sent home. The La Tribuna article above notes that since then he has fled Honduras again, out of fear of persecution by the government. He’s hiding in El Salvador at the moment.
While undeniably Hard Leftist, past and present, and a Leftist with considerable status, at that, I couldn’t find evidence that he had done more in organizing the caravan than literally providing general organizational advice to the caravan. For his part, he continues to maintain the heavy lifting was done by a group of “compañeros”— best translated as comrades, in case you doubted, who were members of LIBRE from El Progresso.
This is consistent with what he told La Tribuna on October 16th, 2018, where he said originally 20 organizers from Tegucigalpa and Le Ceiba were involved. He said another 20 joined in Cofradía, and a lady was chosen as a coordinator there. He noted that he did know the original organizers personally—they were ” compañeros” from LIBRE, who he described as “fighters”.
All of this suggests that the original organization of the caravan was indeed put together in Honduras—specifically, by people from LIBRE. The question is, did it stay that way?
To begin to answer that question, we turn our attention to Pueblo Sin Fronteras. To understand that group, first we need to get to know another group— La Familia Latina Unida, an extension of the pro-illegal immigration advocacy 501c out of Chicago, Centro Sin Fronteras. La Familia Latina Unida, in turn, is the organization that runs Pueblo Sin Fronteras. So, to be clear, Centro Sin Fronteras begat La Familia Latina Unida, which begat Pueblo Sin Fronteras. Pueblos Sin Fronteras may not be familiar to you, but their handiwork is—they organized the last caravan which came to the US in April, though that caravan mostly dissolved before it actually reached the border. According to Influence Watch, Centro Sin Fronteras was founded by Emma Lozano, a Chicago pastor and sister of left-wing community organizer Rudy Lozano, in 1987. As to their mission, Centro Sin Fronteras describes themselves thus: “Sin Fronteras led the struggle to end school overcrowding, for adequate housing and health but soon found itself in the middle of the fight for legalization”. The last of these has been an ongoing focus of the group, or really, the cluster of groups. And boiling it down as simply as possible, this group of left-wing 501cs have been involved in prior caravans, and have experience at organizing them.
By the way, I’d like to spotlight one other person some of you with a long memory may remember—the current president and founder of La Familia Latina Unida, Elvira Arellano. Herself an illegal immigrant, she was deported once in 1997, came back, and evaded arrest until 2002, when she was picked up again. She stalled for time in serial appeals, got three stays of deportation, and when all else failed eventually “took refuge in a Chicago Church”, per NBC. Which church? Why Adalberto United Methodist Church, described by the Chicago Tribune as the “sister church” of Lincoln United Methodist Church, where Lozano is/was pastor. They note “Though churches can’t guarantee protection, they are generally off limits to law enforcement raids”. Interesting and fortuitous, then, for an immigration group to be run by a politically minded pastor. Arellano lived there for about a year, to the acclaim of left-wing media, but was deported again in 2007 when she left to be part of a protest. She came back in 2014 with “a group of asylum seekers” (as the Chicago Tribune puts it), and was caught by ICE. Since then she seems to have been running on serial reprieves from deportation, backed up by Saul, her now 18-year-old anchor “baby”. More or less the person you’d expect to be running this group, really.
Centro Sin Fronteras is currently running on the back of grants from the Public Welfare Foundation, and the Wieboldt Foundation—certainly Left-Wing funding organizations, though surprisingly, not directly tied to George Soros. That said, Centro Sin Fronteras, you will perhaps be interested to hear, has been a beneficiary of the National Immigration Forum, which in turn receives donations from the Open Society Foundation, which of course is George Soros’ baby. The last donation was modest and back in 2010, though. I mention it to highlight what Trump has highlighted, and what a lot of those on the Right who have paid attention have known forever— in liberal charitable donation wankery, all roads eventually lead to Soros. The group apparently hasn’t been amazingly good about regularity in tax filings recently, so it’s hard to say how they’re doing of late.
That said, so far three Pueblo sin Fronteras activists have been publicized in connection with the caravan. It’s worth spending a moment to get acquainted with each, from both a funding and organizational perspective. One is Denis Omar Contreras. He’s described by The Washington Post as a Honduran-born “caravan leader”, and representative of Pueblo Sin Fronteras. In the Spanish language press at Nomada and Instituto Humanitas Unisinos you get a touch more detail. He (translated)” wears a green vest to identify himself as a leader and member of the organization Pueblo sin Fronteras”. PSF doesn’t list that as an official costume, so I’m not sure if they mean it indicates both, or just that he’s a leader. Green vests aren’t notable on leaders in recent shots, but one is seen on a person herding people into a truck in a video from my last post. This person doesn’t match the description of Denis Omar Contreras—who is noted in Spanish language media sources above to be wearing sandals for the trip. They note also that he’s currently based out of Tijuana and has been deported from the US seven times in three years, with rumors circulating that he’s a Cayote. He’s seen at times passing down the orders of the “people in charge of the caravan” (La Jornada, translated), and is noted to have been urging people onward to the town of Huixtla, by Nomada. Overall he seems to have a leading role, though not quite the top of the hierarchy. Those would likely be people called “coordinators”, the first of which we saw picked when the caravan was just 40 strong. La Journada intentionally hangs a question mark over who is at the top, referring to the people speaking at a presser for the migrants as (translated) “representatives of the unidentified group”. If I had to put down money, I’d say “comrades” from LIBRE. When the group arrived in Huixtla, Mexico, the “coordinator” terminology was still being used for the higher ups, according to this article from WaPo, implying the basic structure has stayed the same.
Another is Irineo Mujica. He helped organize the April caravan. According to AZCentral, he was also part of this caravan, until he became famous—and incidentally got arrested— over slashing tires on an immigration agency vehicle. The English language press once again downplays his role. Per Nomada, Irineo “spoke in a megaphone and begged the Mexican people to keep helping them./ ‘This exodus was not organized by anyone. It is an answer to the situation. The culprits of this movement are hunger and death.’ “. Apparently hunger and death lurked in the guise of 40-odd Hondurans and an ex-government representative. Actually, given their uniform socialist leanings, there’s some truth to that.
Meanwhile, Alex Mensing, also from Pueblo Sin Fronteras, has this—er—defense of Irineo’s presence: “He was there to help coordinate humanitarian assistance in the city of Tapachula after the caravan ballooned in size and approached Mexico, Mensing said”. Which is to say, they don’t take credit for setting the fire, but they’re adding wood to keep it burning it at this point. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that typically the person shouting into a megaphone at a crowd is one of its leaders. Especially since the WaPo describes megaphones being a pretty typical part of the caravan leader outfit. Between the two, it sounds like Pueblo Sin Fronteras has a more substantial hand in things now, even if (and it’s an unproven “if”, barring a more complete evaluation of the “comrades” initially responsible for this) they didn’t initially. The WaPo report above even describes them as having “taken on a coordinating role” (emphasis mine) at present. Whether that means they now have some hand in the overall direction of the group, though, I can’t say.
By the way, Alex Mensing turns out to be another person with a bit of a history. As reported by The Daily Caller, he was working on behalf of CARA to support April’s caravan. CARA itself contains two groups funded by—you guessed it—Open Society Foundations. His current role is, shall we say, unclear (The cited article, at American Thinker, incidentally, is an excellent exploration of the network of funding and connections that supports illegal immigration advocacy, though I would say it lacks any smoking guns for this caravan).
From this we gather that PSF is probably lending some degree of expertise to the group, and has a spokesperson who seems to have helped arrange funding through NGOs for prior caravans, though he has no proven role in funding at present. That stated—note that PSF has started a CrowdRaise account, currently at $5,000, to provide things for the caravan. These include money for shelter for caravan members, organizers, and volunteers; gear and “logistics”; “know-your-rights and legal process orientation”; “limited emergency food”; “struggles against detention and deportation”, and—well—”materials for banners, paint, canvas, etc.”. From which we can, I assume, expect the group to show up at the border with signs, because lord knows, there’s nothing like a few square feet of cardboard to make me question my own national sovereignty.
Curious, given the involvement of the group, about what they might have contributed to the structure, I hunted for information on how caravans are organized. I will say at the outset that I’m still not sure, but there are hints. Protocol Magazine describes how these groups have previously been set up. “Groups are created by Pueblo Sin Fronteras; each composed of about 15 individuals under one leader. Five groups are then organized into a sector. This is how the caravan is structured and maintains order as the group moves northward.” Sectors would likely be under the jurisdiction of coordinators or the equivalent— the upper ranks of the caravan. It’s a flexible structure, and it would be unsurprising to find that something similar is being used at present, considering the group has added up to 3,000 people at a stroke, and here I’m thinking back to the crossing from Guatemala to Mexico. Note that Fuentes, by his own admission to La Tribuna, was involved in the April caravan and would have seen PSF’s organization firsthand, so it’s plausible that he’d copy it even if PSF wasn’t involved at the start. Supposing that’s the case, it’s interesting that the 40 original organizers were massive overkill for the supposed original group of 160, especially when you consider that the first two groups to meet up sound to be nothing but organizers. In theory they started with organizational capacity for about 600 people, plus the 40 organizers themselves. That suggests they expected at least some growth. At their peak of 7,000 in a single group, they’d have needed a theoretical 460 odd leaders. The Nomada article, however, makes me suspect it’s far fewer in practice. The river crossing purportedly interrupted the organization of the caravan, causing just five young men to step up to organize what was, at minimum, estimated to be 2,000. How many were—and now are—the original organizers is unknown. Contreras is confirmed to be one of the leaders who made it across to the Mexican side. WaPo suggests experienced illegal immigrants—like Pablo Flores of Tela, Honduras—are filling out a lot of the other leadership roles.
The larger, and thornier issue, and one that is still rather ill-explained, to be frank, is where the money and provisions for the migrant caravan are coming from. The above information begins to peel that back. As the CrowdRaise page more or less acknowledges, moving several thousand people by any means, thousands of miles, is no trivial task. It’s a logistical nightmare, really. Armies, tasked with the same problem, have multiple support units, in multiple configurations, to supply and distribute the food, water, and other basic necessities to people in the field. The MSM is mostly portraying people as leaving spontaneously, on a shoestring budget. Fox talks of “many people joining spontaneously while carrying just a few belongings”. AP has a concrete but slightly comical example: “Carlos Leonidas Garcia Urbina, a 28-year-old from Tocoa, Honduras, said he was cutting the grass in his father’s yard when he heard about the caravan, dropped the shears on the ground and ran to join with just 500 lempiras ($20) in his pocket”. [Let me interject as someone who grew up in a Latin country…. cutting the grass? Yeah, doesn’t happen, unless it’s a vast public building. Well, it might in Portugal now the EU has emulsified it. BUT culturally? Ah, no.- SAH]
Initially, the MSM was also trying to sell us on the idea that they weren’t getting any kind of support. Some sources are still acting as if that’s the case. That’s obviously impossible. You can’t not provision and not be supported on the road as you cross the better part of a continent. Of the remainder, most have switched to saying they’re getting spontaneous support, from people noted by CBS to be handing out sandals, or people noted by WaPo to be handing out sandwiches and bags of water. USA Today includes a couple of other groups, though, reporting that “local residents, church groups, and municipal officials in towns where the caravan stops are feeding the migrants”. Which hints that this is a little more than just “spontaneous” support. Even so, that’s a pretty unreliable supply method. Admittedly, that would explain why people are reportedly getting severely dehydrated.
But let’s explore this for a moment. How much support is actually from random Mexican people, and how much is from larger organizations? Well, a different WaPo article makes things that were murky a little clearer, and removes some of the magic much of the MSM is trying to inject into this: ” The coordinators have not mapped an exact route all the way to the border, Flores explains. The stops will be determined by what towns agree to help when they call ahead to ask. At times, they poll the travelers, who decide with a show of hands what path to take. They know their next two stops — Pijijiapan and Tonala — where officials and churches have pledged to set up medical stations and provide food and shelter.”. This would make sense, essentially charting a path from oasis to oasis. The organization of “humanitarian assistance” PSF referred to above probably also explains how Red Cross got on site so fast. Some of this is also coming from Mexican towns, as USA Today said. Says the WaPo: ” Emmanuel Noriega Molina, who runs Mapastepec’s finances, says the municipality and the state of Chiapas are paying for the supplies,” with the help of the churches and Red Cross. Which adds an interesting wrinkle—this isn’t even just a decision on the part of local mayors. Some of this funding is actually coming from Mexico at the state level. Spontaneous assistance, indeed.
That’s not the only issue. We haven’t covered everything. For one thing, there’s the aforementioned fundraising drive. For another thing, there’s this video from Representative Matt Gaetz showing migrants being given cash. He described it as being in Honduras because it was referred to him by a Honduran official, though it’s now been confirmed it happened in Guatemala. The WaPo claims to have debunked it, but only someone extremely sympathetic to the Left would actually buy their debunking as a true debunking. For a start, they don’t actually contest that someone was indeed distributing cash to the horde. Actually, they confirm it. “Through a little digital detective work, we found that the video was shot when the caravan was passing through Chiquimula, Guatemala”. Their big triumphant claim is that there’s no evidence that it’s secretly being funded by the Dems or Dem interests. Or, then again, any evidence of where the money is from at all. Which, to be honest with you, essentially means WaPo and the NYTimes, (which also is claiming this is debunked because “the origin [of the video] is unknown”) are calling this debunked because, well, they won’t do their jobs and figure out where the money is coming from.
Hot on the heels of the above, there’s was the following statement from Mike Pence that “the president of Honduras told me this was organized by leftist groups in Honduras and financed by Venezuela”. Initially, I was taken aback by that, and a little skeptical. After doing the above research? I’m more inclined to credit it. For a start, I know that it was started by leftist groups. LIBRE were the people who touched all this off and the organizational structure still reflects what they initially set up. LIBRE is the party formed by a man who was cozying Honduras up to other socialist governments in the area, including Venezuela, before he was forcibly deposed. Could he have called in a favor? It’s not out of the question. Venezuela has an interest in it, because it gives them an angle—”See what American imperialism did to Honduras? Everybody is leaving.”. Really, the biggest down-check at this point is that Venezuela is in the process of collapsing, but funding for this caravan would probably “only” run into the thousands or low millions, especially with them adding the profoundly infuriating largess of Mexico to supplement that.
And most recently, there’s Beto O’Rourke, as reported by project Veritas and discussed here by PJ Media. I must admit, I enjoy in my partisan heart that this simultaneously reveals a Democratic organization providing support for the caravan—which you’ll recall, a few paragraphs ago, we were strongly assured they weren’t doing—and that it’s happening the context of doing outright illegal things with campaign funds. Unclear here is whether they were just buying things to send down there—which is what they discuss—or whether some actual hard cash made it down that way. It also raises the question: Are other Democrat campaigns besides Beto’s putting cash into it on the sly?
In the end, this group certainly is not as random or as disorganized as it seems. To summarize the above: We know for sure it was started by a group of far left “comrades” in Honduras. Lately, whether any of them were involved in it at the start, the far left group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, subsidiary of a 501c headquartered in Chicago, and currently headed by a radical illegal immigrant, has become involved in the logistics for the caravan. They have had at least two group leaders involved in the caravan, and of those at least one, so far as we know, is still with it. One report from an MSM source suggests they may have members among the current coordinators, who are in charge of the ultimate direction of the caravan. The group structure continues to reflect the leaders/coordinators hierarchy established by LIBRE early on more than PSF’s cadre-style approach, however, with leaders acting more like sheepdogs, lending credence to the idea that PSF didn’t set it up initially. Whether or not inspiration was taken from them early on, though—it could, after all, simply have fallen apart later at the river crossing— there were an awful lot of leaders and relatively few followers in the initial composition, implying that there was an expectation even then that the horde would grow.
On the money side, it seems likely that the group is taking all the free support from Mexico it can get. That support is, unfortunately, substantial, and seems to extend up to the state level. Which tells you something about how Mexicans think of the US—and Americans ought to bear that in mind when discussing issues surrounding illegals. Experienced organizers like PSF are probably also helping get organizations like Red Cross involved. Also, the Catholic church, which it seems to me has clearly lost its way between this and Pope Marx I, is providing aid. But given the fact that the migrants were seen being handed money, and no MSM source I could find was able to either refute that (and in fact seemed to confirm it), nor explain where the money was coming from, there’s more to it than that, and multiple hypotheses for where it’s coming from are very much on the table. We can add that the group got provided with buses chartered by… *collective media crickets*, and we still don’t know, well, first and foremost, if any of them are using them right now. It seems that some money and provisioning is coming both from crowdfunding and, apparently, misuse of campaign contributions by Beto O’Rourke’s campaign. It will be interesting to see whether other Democrats have been similarly bad with their money. Project Veritas has shown a great deal of capacity to surprise. Funding from Venezuela is as yet unproven, but given who organized the march and the person who founded LIBRE—as well as the fact that they had a prominent party member traveling with them, greatly increasing the chances the senior members thereof knew about it—I wouldn’t discount it at this point. Remember that the person initially interviewed, who said Fuentes would be funding the operation, also ” mentioned foreign assistance”. Other organizations, both NGOs like CARA and government-funded organizations, like USAID (as suggested by Gateway Pundit) have been suggested as funding sources. Regarding the latter, apart from one picture of a person with a bag—which in fairness, hasn’t really been shown to be provided for this march, and hasn’t been matched with photos of any other migrants holding one—I couldn’t find anything else linking them. This starts to get into territory where nobody knows anything—there’s not really any evidence, even circumstantial evidence, to go on.
Let me say in closing, regarding the above—this is the fundamental problem with investigative reporters not doing their damned jobs. The Left has learned that being incurious about a subject fails to provide inconvenient counter-evidence that they’d then have to hide—something they weren’t above doing with exonerating information regarding Kavanaugh. Moreover, it leads people to speculate, which invariably means there will be one or two misfires they can “debunk”. They do less work and get more effective propaganda. Easy as that. That may be why I was noticing a night-and-day difference between the level of biographical depth provided for key figures in the caravan between English and Spanish-language media. Put it this way, when Instapundit posted the story that the LA Times Spanish language section endorsed the latin candidates, rather than their Caucasian rivals who were endorsed in the English section? I can’t say I was really surprised. English and Spanish-speakers are getting two very different views of the same story, and the English language one is, ah, curated, shall we say. That places like NBC and the Daily Beast would prefer you not know these people are radical leftists is plainly evident, and small wonder given their political leanings. Even after all this, while we can certainly put paid to the spontaneity and non-ideological claims about the caravan organizers, and to the claims that US money isn’t helping fund this, the MSM continues to weave an unrealistic vision of the logistical complexity of the caravan. And some questions that journalists could be pursuing in that area, simply aren’t being answered.