800 US-bound migrants in jungle on Panama-Colombia border
AFP NewsAugust 5, 2016
Around 800 US-bound migrants, most of them from Haiti, Africa, Asia and
Cuba, are currently in dense jungle on the Panama-Colombia border,
Panama’s president said Friday, describing it as “another migration crisis.”
The migrants are in the Darien Gap, a swampy forested area teeming with
snakes that lies across the border, Juan Carlos Varela told reporters
before heading to the region.
No roads cross the southern border, and passage by foot is dangerous and
Varela said that the land border was closed but admitted that migrants
were crossing it to get past authorities.
He said the number of border patrol officers there had been reinforced
but stressed: “This is not Panama’s problem, but a global problem.”
Many of the migrants were Haitians, he said, who had gone to Brazil
after a 2010 earthquake devastated their country. Brazil’s current deep
recession has motivated them to try to get to the United States through
Varela said he had talked the issue over with Luis Guillermo Solis,
president of Costa Rica.
That northern neighbor was facing its own migration problems with the
inflow, hosting around 2,500 migrants unable to get past the next
border, into Nicaragua, where security to catch visitors without visas
has been greatly increased since late last year.
Colombia, the South American country many migrants use to enter Panama,
has adopted emergency measures against illegal migration and is
currently looking to deport hundreds of stranded Cubans.
Source: 800 US-bound migrants in jungle on Panama-Colombia border –