Migrants crossing the Darien Gap, by Federico Ríos
Finalist of the 26th edition of the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award of Médicos del Mundo
This year, an unprecedented 200,000 people have crossed the rugged jungle between South and Central America known as the Darien Gap, almost twenty times the average of a few years ago. For decades, the Darien Gap was considered so dangerous that few dared to cross it. From 2010 to 2020, the annual average number of crossings was just under 11,000 according to Panamanian authorities.
Thousands of migrants, mostly Venezuelans, attempt to cross the Darien, a jungle pass between South and Central America, to reach the United States. They have left everything behind to travel in search of the American dream. Venezuela has become a dysfunctional country that generates a massive exodus of people seeking to feed their families. Since 2015, more than 7 million Venezuelans have left the country, according to the United Nations, mostly bound for other South American countries. The Venezuelan exodus is one of the largest in the world, roughly equal to those caused by the wars in Ukraine and Syria.
Darien Gap, Colombia, September 2022.