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In the first 7 months of this year, 71,012 migrants crossed the dangerous Darién Gap (bordering Colombia) on their journey to the U.S., 63.28% (44,943) of them Venezuelans, according to figures from Panama’s National Migration Service (SNM) released on Tuesday.
This means that every week an average of 1,500 Venezuelans undergo such a journey trying to escape from the socialist regime of their country so far this year.
Illegal crossings at the Darién Gap: Up 57%
The accumulated number up to last July is 57.7% higher than the 45,029 illegal migrants registered in the same period of 2021, a year that closed with an unprecedented 133,726 of these travelers in transit through Panama, a country that serves as an entry point to Central America.
July has been the month with the highest flow so far in 2022, with a total of 22,582 irregular migrants arriving in the Panamanian province of Darién after crossing the jungle, of which 16,864 (74.6%) were Venezuelan. This averages a total of 562 Venezuelans making the crossing daily.
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Panama receives irregular travelers in migration reception stations located on its border with Colombia (south) and Costa Rica (north), where they take their biometric data and receive food and medical care. This operation, says the government, cost millions of dollars.
Migrants include Haitians and Cubans
Venezuelans are followed by Haitians and Cubans, with some 4,821 and 3,133, respectively, who entered Panama through the Darién Gap between January and last July.
According to Panamanian statistics for last July, Haitians remained in second place in that month with 983 of their nationals crossing the jungle, but in third place were citizens of Senegal (883) ahead of Cubans (574).
Three migrants: Venezuelans and Colombians drowned to death
The National Migration Service reported on Tuesday that three irregular migrants of Venezuelan and Colombian nationality died on Monday drowned while bathing in the Armila River, in the border area.
“Two adults and a minor of approximately 16 years of age, of Venezuelan and Colombian nationalities, unfortunately lost their lives. Residents of the community together with migrants managed to pull out the bodies of an adult and the minor (…) The third body was seen floating in the sea, but due to bad weather it could not be rescued”, indicated the Panamanian entity.
The deceased migrants will be buried in the community of Armila, the official information added.
Central America has for years been a route for people on the move from all over the world who are heading mainly to the United States, but at the same time its Northern Triangle – made up of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador – is the origin of thousands of migrants seeking the “American dream”.