EFE (via 14ymedio), Panama, 2 January 2024 — Panamanian authorities said on Monday that 2023 closed with 520,085 migrants having crossed the Darién jungle, of which 120,000 were minors, a record figure compared to the 248,283 migrants in 2022, who followed this dangerous route to North America in pursuit of better horizons.
Venezuelans, 328,667; Ecuadorians, 57,222; Haitians, 46,558; and Chinese, 25,344, “were the most recurring nationalities this year to cross” the jungle border with Colombia and arrive in Panama, the Panamanian Ministry of Public Security (MINSEG) reported on its social networks.
Similarly, the report provides figures that report a “significant decrease” in the entry of migrants through the dense Darién jungle in the months of October, November and December 2023, with 49,256, 37,231, and 24,626, respectively.
The report provides figures that show a “significant decrease” in the entry of migrants through the dense Darién jungle in the months of October, November and December
The new registration of transit of migrants by Darién to North America at the end of 2023 leaves behind that of previous years: in 2020 8,594 immigrants crossed the Dariíen jungle; in 2021, 133,726; and 2022, 248,283, according to MINSEG.
Thus, this year the record of more than 500,000 migrants in transit through the Darién, the jungle that connects the isthmus and South America, has been broken, a figure that doubles last year’s record and includes a marked increase in minors.
This 2023 “has been a year in which a record has been broken. More than 100,000 children and adolescents have passed through, 50% of whom are under 5 years old,” the gender-based expert of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Johana Tejada López, told EFE in mid-December.
Most of the families that migrate are from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador and Colombia, Tejada López explained in the Lajas Blanca shelter which, as in Bajo Chiquito, is the scene of numerous families with children and adolescents.
The UNICEF expert also warned of an increase in the arrival of minors separated from their parents during the crossing and of adolescents who were traveling “alone.”
The migrants arrive first in Bajo Chiquito after crossing the jungle, where the authorities record their data and they spend the night. The next day they take canoes (paid for by them) that take them on the Tuquesa River to one of the two existing hostels in Darién.
There are several organizations that offer humanitarian and medical aid as well as the Panamanian authorities, which provide food assistance in an operation in which they have invested about 70 million dollars in recent years
There, known by migrants as ’the UN,’ there are several organizations that offer humanitarian and medical aid as well as the Panamanian authorities, which provide food assistance in a single operation on the continent in which the Government has invested about 70 million dollars in recent years, according to official data.
From the Darién, the migrants must board a bus – at their own expense – to neighboring Costa Rica.
The restrictions announced by several of the transited countries, such as the deportations of irregular migrants with a criminal record by Panama, or by the United States, which has put in place more obstacles to accessing asylum, do not stop the migratory flow.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.