San Cristobal de las Casas – The 68 Guatemalan refugee families that entered southeastern Mexico in August need humanitarian aid to survive because they have run out of provisions, a representative said.
The families have spent the past three months at a camp in Tenosique, a city in Mexico's Tabasco state, waiting for the Guatemalan government to provide them with land after being removed from the Sierra del Lacandona Nature Preserve, the group's representative, Aroldo Morales Lopez, said.
The Central American refugees went to Mexico after being forced to leave the Nueva Esperanza community on Aug. 23.
The refugees had lived at Nueva Esperanza, located in Peten province, since 1999.
The families crossed the border "to avoid the aggression of the soldiers and police" who destroyed their homes and belongings, Morales Lopez said.
Guatemalan officials told the families they would have to agree to be resettled on the border with Belize, where they would have four hectares (9.8 acres) each, instead of in Peten, Morales Lopez said.
"But now that we already signed the document, they say they cannot because there is no place or money, that it is a time of crisis," Morales Lopez said.
The refugees are camped out about 300 meters (about 1,000 feet) from the border with Guatemala, the Rev. Tomas Gonzalez, who runs the La 72 migrants' shelter in Tenosique, said.
A stream near the camp dried up, leaving the refugees without water, Gonzalez said.
The families have received "very little assistance" from Mexican officials and the Guatemalan government only sent food twice, forcing them to survive off donations from non-governmental groups in Mexico, Gonzalez said.