Hundreds of Venezuelans feel bittersweet as they arrive Saturday in Eagle Pass, an American town on the border with Mexico, after weeks of traveling on dangerous roads and through a thick forest of barbed wire.
We are safe? asks Karlen Ramírez, in tears after crossing the Rio Grande, which separates the United States from Mexico, fleeing, like hundreds of compatriots, from Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela.
In Eagle Pass, Texas, a town of 30,000 inhabitants that has become one of the main crossing points into the United States, American authorities have created a barbed wire wall that snakes near a golf course.
It represents the last obstacle in the painful journey undertaken by thousands of migrants who have fled their country for economic, social or political reasons, in search of
I was scared when I saw this. says Luis Durán, who oscillates between smiles and tears since he managed to cross the barbed wire thanks to a gap through which more than 500 migrants, most of them Venezuelans, entered on Saturday.
Flee from violence
They robbed us in other countries, they mistreated us explains the 37-year-old man, who limps and injured his ankle after having to jump from the roof of a train in which he was crossing part of Mexico with his family.
Over there. Point to the river.
Armed men tried to kidnap my niece she says through tears, hugging a 7-year-old girl who walks with her gaze fixed on the horizon.
But Venezuela is worse. We are afraid to stay there.
Now we are more relaxed. Now that we are here everything will be better. adds her sister Lexibel Durán, 28, mother of three daughters, before being approached by border guards.
1.8 million tickets in less than a year
The United States Border Patrol officially recorded 1.8 million migrant crossings at its southern border between October 2022 and August 2023, not including legal points of entry.
The Biden administration, under pressure from the Republican opposition that accuses it of having transformed the southern border into a sieve, is trying to reduce illegal immigration while opening more legal channels.
The United States announced that it would implement a refugee aid program. The Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, Alejandro Mayorkas, was scheduled to meet on Saturday with the Honduran President, Xiomara Castro, in the border city of McAllen, in Texas.
Meanwhile, on the ground, the authorities continue with their deterrent strategy.
The US Border Patrol officially recorded 1.8 million migrant crossings across its southern border between October 2022 and August 2023. (File photo)
A US military convoy will bring more armed guards and barbed wire on Saturday to plug the gaps.
Scraps of clothing hang from the fence, a sign of the ferocity of the barbed wire.
But nothing weakens the determination of the migrants, many of whom have traveled thousands of kilometers on foot and have faced the terrible Darién jungle, on the border between Colombia and Panama.
They dig holes in the sand or move the barbed wire with their hands to make their way under the gaze of the American national guard soldiers, who only intervene when the migrants have crossed this iron labyrinth to take them to the nearest border posts. .
That’s nothing says Dileidys Urdaneta, a 17-year-old Venezuelan, pointing to the barbed wire.
Because what we live, what we suffer, is much worse. And what we left behind is without comparison.
This teenager who arrived in Eagle Pass with only her identification documents, a dead phone and the clothes she was wearing says she is confident in the fact that
From now on everything will be fine.
Migration causes damage
irreversible to the Darien jungle, known as Panama
The record number of migrants crossing the Darién jungle, on the border between Colombia and Panama, is causing
irreversible environmental damage the Panamanian government said on Saturday.
A group of Venezuelan migrants arrives in Bajo Chiquito after a long and arduous walk of dozens of kilometers in the jungle. (File photo)
Irreversible environmental damage will persist for a long time before we return to normal. There is damage and every week, every day it gets worse. Panamanian Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino told the press when visiting Darién with his Costa Rican counterpart, Mario Zamora.
We have to be careful with this, because it will affect future generations, who will suffer the consequences of human trafficking. Mr. Pino added.
This natural border, which separates South America and Central America, has become the transit point for thousands of migrants who want to reach the United States through the isthmus and through Mexico.
Some 390,000 immigrants have entered Panama through this jungle this year, much more than all of last year (248,000), according to official figures.
As AFP confirmed, migrants leave a trail of waste in the jungle: boots, socks, plastic bottles, pants, bras, cups, toothbrushes and diapers. Garbage also litters the banks of the Tuquesa River.
Some 390,000 immigrants have entered Panama through this jungle this year, much more than all of last year (248,000), according to official figures. (File photo)
From Bajo Chiquito, migrants board canoes that, for $25 per person, will take them three hours up the Tuquesa River to Lajas Blancas. From there they will continue their trip by bus to the border with Costa Rica.
The majority are Venezuelans, but there are also Ecuadorians, Haitians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Afghans and people from African countries. Immigrants are also exposed to criminal gangs that rob, kidnap and rape.