Venezuela helps two girls overcome the dangers of Darien

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Caracas.- Joe, from Barcelona, ​​Ansoateguidecided like many other Venezuelans to take a trip through Darien Jungle, a division between Colombia and Panama, to reach the United States, fleeing the economic crisis in their country. During his journey, he helped two girls continue their journey.

the 23-year-old told the whistle who decided to start his journey on September 8 only with 400 dollars in his pocket, but before he left his country some officers of the National Guard took 30 dollars to let him continue his journey. Once in Colombia, he spent 40 dollars to be able to reach some cockleswhere he seeks to begin his journey to the jungle.

Joe was dedicated to work as a delivery boy, but he no longer felt safe in his country. He assures that he did not have a good quality of life and due to economic difficulties he was unable to study at the university level.

“I had to work to be able to bring home my daily bread (…) This was not what I wanted for my life, it is not what I want to build for my future, so I decided to leave, to fulfill my American dream»said.

Map of the route through the Darien Jungle. kind photo

entrance to the jungle

From Necoclí, the Venezuelan had to pay a ticket of 160,000 pesos and a collaboration of 3,000 pesos ($36 total) to be allowed to take a boat to Capurgana, where the entrance to the Darien Jungle is. After disembarking, he travels for free on a motorbike to a lodge where the jungle guides are.

“They charge between $100 to $180 per person, this is an exaggerated amount, but since many people go without knowing what they are paying. I was advised so I waited and spoke to one of the hostel managers and paid him 40 dollarssaid the young man.

The first thing is to pass six mountainsKnown as Ascension to heavena trip that Joe says can take up to five hours, but those walking at a moderate pace can take up to 10 hours of travel.

On one of the climbs, the group encountered an irregular gang nicknamed the Parakos, who charged each migrant $10 to let them continue their journey. «

“We were told: “We don’t care if you’re Venezuelan or from another country. This is our area and we can easily dig a hole and bury them.. everyone started to pay $10but since my friend Carlos and I arrived last, we were let through without paying,” he said.

The young man arrived at the first camp, where he had the opportunity to clean up. From there you have to pay other guides who claim to be part of Panamanian Indians, to continue the tour through the Darién Jungle. In Joe’s case, he paid 55 dollars to reach the second camp.

“We took a bath in the river and then walked along the same river until we reached a lake about 50 meters away. We got into some canoes and were taken to another place called Armilla Beach. From there we had to move on without guidance, alone with God“, says the Venezuelan.

Zhou says that from that point on, they were able to help several people pass some sections. “There were rivers where the current was too strong and we had to use ropes. With one group we helped another group of migrants to cross so that no one drowned. I helped a Haitian woman and carried her daughter, the river was carrying the lady,” he says.

pray to god for food

Joe decided to take the La Bandera trail, which he said was marked with blue bags all along the way. Although he met another group of migrants, he decided to continue because he no longer had food or water, so he could not afford to waste time in the jungle. “We asked the people we saw, but they told us they didn’t have any.

“We came across a lot of flags from different countries, that’s why this trail is called that. There were bibles, posters with images of the Mother of God, many religious have passed there. At this stop, Carlos and I we knelt to ask much of God to guide us and help us get something to eat and water to drink,” says the Venezuelan.

While descending La Bandera, Joe came across an Ecuadorian couple who were unable to get their little girl Victoria down, so they asked for their help. “Hungry and covered in mud, I decided to take the girl to the foot of the mountain (…) When I arrived, her parents had not yet arrived, so we continued walking with the girl to a camp where we rested because it was night.”

After three hours, the girl’s parents arrived at the camp, and to thank the young Venezuelan for their help, they gave them pasta with tuna. In turn, Haitian migrants and other Venezuelans also gave them instant soups and borrowed a tent and a stove.

an endless river

At daybreak he continued his journey until he came to an endless river. They had to follow the river to reach another camp. “This river is too long, we walked for hours and hours, we couldn’t take it anymore, our legs.”

From there started Joe, Carlos and two other Venezuelans they met along the way meanderswithout finding the Grandpa’s camp. «We went down the river, appeared on the other side, then entered the swamp and appeared in the same place (…) We had to camp on the bank of the river, we tried to start a fire with wood, but everything was wet. The four of us slept like sardines in a can in that tent,” Joe said.

The next morning they continued their journey and met another group of Venezuelans who shared their food with them. Then they found a river, where with the help of a rope they crossed the waters at a distance of 30 to 40 meters.

“We asked God a lot to guide us and light the way, thanks to him we were able to move forward (…) We came across an arrow that marked the El Abuelo camp and we all shouted with excitement,” says a native of Ansoategui.

way out of the jungle

Arriving at the El Abuelo camp, Joe witnesses many migrants looking for any way to survive because they no longer have money to continue their journey. He assures that once there the Indians demand 25 dollars of a man to canoe them to the last camp in the jungle.

“You have to pay, but the other option is to do community service for the Indians to earn the ticket. However, this is almost impossible because there are many people who are collapsed,” he says.

At the last camp, Zhou and his companions were forced to do community service to use another canoe to take them to the end, where they would hit the road and finally try to reach the United Nations (UN) camp. in Panama..

“They put us in a security van. While at the UN they checked our bags, they asked for our data and nationality. They gave us food and let us shower (…) From there you buy the ticket, which costs 40 dollars, to go to the border with Costa Rica, that’s how you get out of the jungle.”

Joe manages to make it to the border with Costa Rica, another country he is keen to cross to reach his final destination. But that is another story to tell.

Daniela Carrascomigration

Daniela Carrascomigration