QCOSTARICA — Costa Rica’s President Rodrigo Chaves is planning to head to Panama’s Darien Gap in early October to try to tackle the migrant crisis there, the two countries announced on Saturday.
Costa Rica’s Minister of Public Security Mario Zamora and his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Pino, met on Saturday and visited communities in the dangerous stretch of jungle, where thousands of migrants pass each day, on their trek through Central America, to continue towards the United States.
Chaves is expected to visit the jungle province of Darién, on the border with Colombia, on October 7, together with his Panamanian counterpart Laurentino Cortizo.
Both countries hope to have finalized by then a plan that seeks to reduce the impact of growing migration in communities on the Costa Rican-Panamanian border.
Some 390,000 people have crossed to Panama from Colombia, traversing the Darien Gap, between January and September of this year.
Most of them are Venezuelans, with others from Ecuador, Haiti, and other countries, according to government reports.
Panama and Costa Rica continue applying a controlled flow strategy, which implies that migrants must take buses at their borders, which must be paid for by the travelers themselves.
It’s a 350 kilometer journey through the Inter-American route, which takes nine hours, from the Panama border to Peñas Blancas border with Nicaragua.
Daily, 50 buses leave Paso Canoas headed to the Nicaraguan border. The bus ticket costs US$30 dollars per person, whether adult, child or baby, a rate that many migrants cannot pay.
In the last few days, 26 migrants (24 of them Venezuelan) were detained for the disturbances in Paso Canoas. According to authorities, the detained will be processed for deportation.
Moving forward. Central American governments are managing the growing migratory flow as best they can, while the United States warns that travelers who arrive “irregularly will be processed and quickly returned to their country of origin.”