Panama apprehends Colombian citizens transporting Chinese migrants
Panamanian authorities have accused countries in South America, especially neighboring Colombia, of turning their backs on the migration problem
September 5, 2023 9:29am
Updated: September 5, 2023 9:29am
Panamanian authorities have apprehended two Colombian citizens who were transporting 18 Chinese migrants on a boat in the waters of the Caribbean coast of the Central American country, near its border, official sources reported on Monday.
Agents from the National Migration Service (Senafront) intercepted the boat 10 nautical miles off the coast of the Guayabo de Darien community.
This Panamanian province has received over 330,000 irregular migrants, mostly of Chinese nationality, who have crossed the perilous Darien jungle on the border with Colombia this year in one of the most severe migration crises the continent has faced.
The two Colombian citizens have been referred to the relevant authorities, accused of the crime of human trafficking involving 18 Chinese migrants, according to an official source confirmed to EFE.
Panama, a country that abolished its military in 1990 after the U.S. invasion to capture dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega (1934-2017), has announced that it will unveil new security measures in the Darien region this week.
In this area, Panamanian authorities receive migrants, take their biometric data, and provide them with health and food assistance.
Panamanian authorities have accused countries in South America, especially neighboring Colombia, of turning their backs on the migration problem. Panama has invested nearly 70 million dollars in recent years to manage this crisis, according to official data.
Last Friday, Panama and Costa Rica announced that they will present a united front to the international community to promote their idea of "better management" of migration flows, aiming to prevent spikes like the ongoing situation in Darien, where over 5,000 travelers arrive daily.
The surging stream of migrants has overwhelmed the capabilities of humanitarian organizations at border points in Panama, neighboring Costa Rica, and the rest of Central America.
About 1,500 Central Americans also leave daily for the United States, according to Iván Aguilar, Humanitarian and Resilience Manager of the global NGO Oxfam in the region, in a statement to EFE.