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On foot through danger: The journey of Venezuelan migrants through the jungles of Darien

The Darien is a region located on the border between Colombia and Panama in Central America. It is a mountainous, jungle-like area covering around 16,000 km² and is considered one of the most diverse and ecologically rich regions in the world.

The Darien region is known for its biodiversity, with a wide variety of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. It is also home to several indigenous communities, such as the Emberá and Wounaan, who have lived in the area for centuries and still maintain their traditions and lifestyles.

The Darien has historically been a conflict zone due to its strategic location on the Isthmus of Panama. It has been a site of drug trafficking and smuggling, as well as an area of operations for armed groups and rebels. Due to its geographical isolation and the lack of roads connecting the region with the rest of Panama and Colombia, the region is difficult to access and has been used as a migratory route for migrants seeking to reach North America.

However, in recent years, there have been efforts to preserve the Darien region and promote its sustainable development. The region is considered a site of global ecological and cultural importance and there are initiatives to protect its biodiversity and encourage ecotourism and community-based tourism.

The Darién has become a dangerous and difficult place for Venezuelan migrants seeking to reach North America. The region is a mountainous, jungle-like area that straddles the border between Colombia and Panama, with no roads or bridges connecting the two countries. Because of this, Venezuelan migrants seeking to enter Panama often have to cross the Darién jungle on foot, in dangerous and extreme conditions.

The trek through the Darién is very difficult and risky. Migrants must cross rivers, swamps and mountainous terrain, face a lack of food, clean water and adequate sanitation, as well as being vulnerable to robbery, kidnapping, rape and extortion by illegal armed groups operating in the area.

Despite the risks, many Venezuelan migrants have chosen to take this route due to mobility restrictions and tighter border controls at other points along the Colombia-Panama border. In addition, some human smuggling groups and coyotes have begun to use the Darien route as a way to transport migrants across the border.

The Panamanian government has set up a temporary reception system in the town of La Peñita, near the Colombian border, to provide medical care, food and shelter to migrants who manage to cross the Darién jungle. However, the situation remains worrying due to the lack of resources and personnel to attend to all the migrants arriving.

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