The border between Panama and Costa Rica has become almost non-existent, allowing an unrestricted flow of migrants on their way to the United States. However, this apparent ease of passage does not diminish the dangers and traumas that migrants face. The journey through the Darien jungle, with its rapes, robberies and deaths, becomes a nightmare for those who have already suffered abuse on their migratory journey.
In the international town of Paso Canoas, the lack of passport control and barriers facilitates the transit of migrants. They arrive by bus on the Panamanian side and, after walking a few meters, they can get on another vehicle that will take them north, towards Nicaragua. Despite this apparent ease, migrants have been victims of abuse and mistreatment throughout their journey, facing mafias, restrictive government policies, and crime.
The Darien jungle becomes an insurmountable obstacle for those who try to hinder the advance of migrants. This natural border between Colombia and Panama is the scene of robberies, rapes and murders. The stories of abuse and violence are heartbreaking, such as that of a Colombian woman who recounts having been raped along with three other women, including a 14-year-old girl, during her journey through the jungle.
Despite the atrocities they have suffered, fear of reprisals and a lack of trust in local authorities prevent them from denouncing their attackers.
The warnings and testimonies of migrants multiply, especially those of Venezuelans, who urge their compatriots not to take their children on this dangerous journey.
Stories of childhood tragedies, such as the death of a girl who lost her grip on her mother’s sling and hit a stone to her death, are heartbreaking. In addition to natural hazards, migrants are also victims of robbery, kidnapping, and rape along the way.
The journey of migrants through the Darien jungle is an odyssey full of danger and suffering. Despite the lack of control at the border between Panama and Costa Rica, the reality of migrants is heartbreaking, facing abuse and violence along their way to the United States. The abolition of Title 42, a regulation that allowed rapid deportations due to the pandemic, is expected to further increase the flow of immigration to the United States. It is urgent to address this humanitarian crisis and find solutions to protect the lives and rights of migrants, providing them with safe and legal alternatives to seek a better life.