Venezuelans top Haitians as main crossers in Darien, Panama

February 1, 2022 GMT

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Venezuelan migrants replaced Haitians in January as the main group using the notoriously dangerous Darien Gap to cross from South America into Panama, officials reported Tuesday.

In 2021, Haitians represented almost 80% of the approximately 130,000 migrants who used the jungle crossing. The inhospitable stretch of land that separates Colombia and Panama is filled with wild animals and dotted with criminals.

But in January, more than half of the 4,702 migrants who crossed into Darien were Venezuelan, security and foreign relations officials said.

The monthly figure represents a decline from flows in January 2021. Oriel Ortega, director of Panama’s national border service, said the once-teeming Lajas Blancas migrant camp near Darien is now empty.