According to a senior authority, the number of migrants traveling through Panama on their way to the United States is steadily increasing and far surpassing the record numbers set in 2022.
“Today we add 227,000 migrants who have passed through our territory, and this month we are going to exceed the history-making 2022, when there were 248,000 migrants,” Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino told reporters.
At a border post in the muddy jungle known as the Darien Gap, which separates Colombia and Panama, migrants who are traveling to the United States on foot have their passages counted.
With more over five months remaining in the year, according to Pino, the record number of migrants from 2022 has almost been reached this year.
According to him, 400,000 migrants may enter Panama this year if current trends continue.
More over 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the Darien this year, according to official data up to June 30; this represents nearly half of all migrants who made the journey.
Chinese (more than 8,500), Ecuadorians (over 25,000), and Haitians (almost 33,000) are far behind.
Authorities believe that the Gulf Clan, a Colombian drug cartel, is in charge of trafficking people via the Darien.
Police and criminal gangs trying to extort money from migrants have engaged in a number of gun clashes in the Panamanian jungle in the past year, according to reports.