QCOSTARICA — Making 200 buses available to migrants to transport them from Costa Rica’s side of the border with Panama to the Nicaragua border so they can continue on their way to the United States, is the agreement signed on Friday by President Rodrigo Chaves and his Panamanian counterpart, Laurentino Cortizo.
With this measure, people who cross the jungle of Panama’s Darién region will be put on buses that will leave directly from the Centro de Atención Temporal para Personas Migrantes (CATEM) – Temporary Care Center for Migrants – located in the southern border area of Costa Rica, to be taken to the border with Nicaragua.
It was not specified when the land transfers would start.
The cost of the trip is to be US$40. Migrants without the financial means to pay for it will be supported with public funds.
In addition, Chaves and Cortizo called a meeting of heads of state in the region to address the migration crisis on October 22.
“We consider that it is essential that all countries participate; those of origin, transit and destination. The actions emanating from this meeting must have palpable and immediate results,” Cortizo said.
The buses and their drivers would be clearly identified and vetted and would count with an insurance policy against eventualities that could arise during the transfer.
Authorities also made a call on migrants to desist from crossing the Darien Gap, describing it as “a jungle of death.”
So far this year, more than 400,000 irregular migrants have crossed Darién, the majority being Venezuelans, according to official figures, exceeding last year’s historical record with 248,000 transients and 133,000 in 2021.