08:39 GMT +316 November 2018
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    Trump Commends Border Wall Climbers for Being ‘In Extremely Good Shape’

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    The group of asylum seekers from Central America who rode together to the US border received a rare compliment from the US president on Monday when he praised their physical prowess.

    "Where they are, even though it's not a particularly good wall and even though a small percentage can climb to the top — they have to be in extremely good shape. But a small percentage can climb that wall," US President Donald Trump said Monday of the asylum seekers, who come from countries where US-backed coups have contributed to widespread, violent reverberations.

    ​About 1,000 or more members of the so-called "caravan" set out from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador several weeks ago, moving north to seek asylum from terrible violence that the US had more than a small role in enabling. Their numbers have fallen to around 100, likely as a result of having found refuge in Mexico.

    "They've been moving all through Mexico — people don't realize what a big country Mexico is," the president said.

    ​The migrants' caravan is an annual journey made by individuals and families fleeing gang violence and militant governments in Central America.

    ​The US State Department has been blasted by Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, for its blunders in Honduras.

    "If we add together the high-powered lobbyists from the Clinton camp, Republican members of Congress and conservatives within the State Department, the coup government has a lot of support from Washington," Weisbrot wrote in 2009 for the Los Angeles Times.

    Since the 2009 military coup which overthrew Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, homicide rates hit global highs in 2010 and 2011, Weisbrot wrote in 2014.

    Further, in post-coup Honduras, "The violence and insecurity were exacerbated by a generalized institutional collapse. Drug-related violence has worsened amid allegations of rampant corruption in Honduras' police and government. While the gangs are responsible for much of the violence, Honduran security forces have engaged in a wave of killings and other human rights crimes with impunity," according to Weisbrot, who is also president of Just Foreign Policy.

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    migrants, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Central America
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