The Darien Gap is the only land route to go from Colombia to Panama, from South to Central America, and it is the only way that thousands of migrants have to continue their journey north. The Darién is an impassable jungle, plagued by natural dangers, traffickers and criminals. Those who have passed through there report robberies and even sexual abuse. Although the flow of migrants decreased due to the pandemic, the transit was activated again in the first months of the year.
Cubans, Haitians, Venezuelans, Africans and even Asians transit through Colombia to the border with Panama to continue their journey to the United States. More than 17,000 have done so in the first months of 2021.
The transit causes a humanitarian emergency in Panama to where Médecins Sans Frontières arrived, which reported the situation of the migrants at the reception stations. One of the most worrying data is that which has to do with sexual violence. In just 15 days they attended to 12 recent cases of abuse, that is, committed in the last three days.
To expand on the situation of migrants and the role of the Panamanian and Colombian governments in responding to the exodus, we spoke with Sergio Martín, head of the Mission of Doctors Without Borders for Mexico and the Darien project.