Thousands stranded as boat captain arrested in Darien Gap

Migration through the hazardous rainforest border crossing between Colombia and Panama has halted after the Colombian navy arrested two boat captains for trafficking migrants. This has left over 3,000 migrants stranded in remote Caribbean towns, raising concerns about a potential public health crisis. Necoclí, a usual stopover for migrants heading north, is now hosting up to 1,000 stranded individuals, stretching its limited resources.

The arrests followed the Colombian coast guard’s interception of two boats carrying around 150 passengers without proper documentation. This suspension of ferry services has sparked uncertainty among migrants and operators, with fears of a broader crackdown by authorities. The situation underscores the mounting pressure on regional governments, including Colombia, from the United States to curb migration.

The Darién Gap, a lawless jungle strip, is a perilous route for migrants, where they face the threat of robbery and assault. Despite the dangers and recent deaths, the route remains attractive to those fleeing violence and economic hardship. However, the sudden halt in boat transport has left thousands stranded, with many living in dire conditions on the beach or streets, highlighting the desperate plight of migrants seeking a better life.

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