Panama foresees a new record of migrants crossing the Darién

Panamanian authorities announced Friday that the number of migrants en route to the United States crossing the inhospitable Darien jungle in July, on the border with Colombia, is about to pulverize records for all of 2022.

"Today we add 227,000 migrants who have passed through our territory, this month (July) we will exceed the historic date of the year 2022, when there were 248,000 migrants" who passed through the Darién, the Panamanian Minister of Security, Juan Manuel Pino, told journalists.

The Darien jungle has become, despite the enormous dangers, a corridor for migration from South America trying to reach the United States through Central America.

Record number of 2022 about to be surpassed

According to statistics from the National Migration Service of Panama, more than 248,000 people made this journey in 2022, which was a record number.

Now, according to Pino, that historical record is about to be broken, with more than five months to go until the end of the year.

At this rate, "we calculate a figure of 400,000" migrants who will have passed through the Darién in 2023, Pino said.

"These people, what they want is ninety-nine percent to continue moving north, that is their mission," added the official.

More than 100,000 Venezuelans have already crossed

According to official data, as of June 30, more than 100,000 Venezuelans have crossed the Darién this year, almost half of the total number of people who have traveled this route.

The number of Haitians (close to 33,00), Ecuadorians (more than 25,000) and Chinese (more than 8,500) also stands out. Of the total, one fifth were minors.

Migrants cross the natural border of the Darién, 266 km long and 575,000 hectares in area, despite being plagued with dangers such as wild animals and mighty rivers.

In addition, they face criminal organizations that rob them or demand payment to guide them on their journey. Panamanian authorities suspect that migrant smuggling through the Darién is managed by the “Clan del Golfo”, a Colombian drug cartel.

In the last year, several armed confrontations have been reported in the Panamanian jungle between the police and criminal gangs that seek to extort migrants.

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