More migrants, mostly Haitian, are risking
everything to cross the dangerous Darién Gap in
Colombia on their way to the U.S.
The Darién Gap – a roadless, and lawless stretch of jungle linking South America to the north – was considered so dangerous that only a few thousand people were daring enough to try to cross it.
But the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic in South America was such that in the first nine months of this year, Panamanian officials say, an estimated
95,000 migrants, most of whom are Haitian, attempted to pass through this jungle on their way to the U.S
They made the journey in shorts and flip-flops, with their possessions stuffed in plastic bags, their babies in arms and their children by the hand. It’s uncertain how many made it – and how many didn’t. And yet tens of thousands more are gathered in Colombia, eager for their turn to try.
Experts said, The migrants’ willingness to try to breach the notorious land bridge connecting Colombia and Panama presents a looming humanitarian disaster among those making the trek.
They further revealed that this is a potential immigration challenge for President Biden in the months to come.
“We very well could be on the precipice of a historic displacement of people in the Americas toward the United States,” said Dan Restrepo, the former national security adviser for Latin America under President Barack Obama.
“When one of the most impenetrable stretches of jungle in the world is no longer stopping people, it underscores that political borders, however enforced, won’t either.”
Now, Necoclí, a small Colombian tourist town just at the mouth of the passage, has become a staging ground for migrants hoping to cross. Thousands of families bide their time in hostels, or in tents along the beach.
Hungry and running out of money, all of them are waiting for their turn to be ferried by boat to the edge of the forest.
Photos of migrates in Darién Gap jungle: