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article image800 US-bound migrants in jungle on Panama-Colombia border

By AFP     Aug 5, 2016 in World

Around 800 US-bound migrants, most of them from Haiti, Africa, Asia and Cuba, are currently in dense jungle on the Panama-Colombia border, Panama's president said Friday, describing it as "another migration crisis."

The migrants are in the Darien Gap, a swampy forested area teeming with snakes that lies across the border, Juan Carlos Varela told reporters before heading to the region.

No roads cross the southern border, and passage by foot is dangerous and uncertain.

Varela said that the land border was closed but admitted that migrants were crossing it to get past authorities.

He said the number of border patrol officers there had been reinforced but stressed: "This is not Panama's problem, but a global problem."

Many of the migrants were Haitians, he said, who had gone to Brazil after a 2010 earthquake devastated their country. Brazil's current deep recession has motivated them to try to get to the United States through Central America.

Varela said he had talked the issue over with Luis Guillermo Solis, president of Costa Rica.

That northern neighbor was facing its own migration problems with the inflow, hosting around 2,500 migrants unable to get past the next border, into Nicaragua, where security to catch visitors without visas has been greatly increased since late last year.

Colombia, the South American country many migrants use to enter Panama, has adopted emergency measures against illegal migration and is currently looking to deport hundreds of stranded Cubans.

More about Migration, centram, Panama, Haiti, Cuba
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