According to official data, as of September 30, about 151,572 migrants had entered the Darién jungle, most of them of Venezuelan nationality. Victims of smugglers, of criminal gangs, they flee from the structural violence that expels them and that makes the right to migrate not an option, but a necessity.

We are concerned that, according to data from national and international organizations, the number of people entering the country through this dangerous route exceeds 2,000 people a day, overwhelming the response capacity of the immigration stations and forcing many to leave them and walk to the capital. On their route, many have found a supportive welcome of the communities of El Zapallal through the efforts of the local Catholic Church. However, this extraordinary response is also insufficient and unsustainable in the long term as it does not have the minimum infrastructure or resources.

We recognize the efforts of the government, international organizations and the community of El Zapallal to respond to a human drama that hits our conscience and demands a response of solidarity at the regional level. But we also believe that the response cannot only be palliative, but must aim to deconstruct the structures of death that force millions of human beings to flee their countries in search of a better future, risking their lives and often those of their loved ones. . We cannot forget either the communities and groups that in Chiriquí join efforts to also respond to this reality.

We call on the national government to redouble efforts to find a sustainable and joint solution with the other countries in the region. We urge you to exhaust the available channels so that we can face this drama in synergy with all the necessary social actors and from each to a humanitarian intervention, both in the host communities and with people in forced mobility. We must promote that the option to migrate is the result of an informed decision and not a desperate product of necessity.

As organizations based on the Christian faith and as civil society organizations, we have responded and make ourselves available from our limits, taking into consideration the words of Pope Francis: “Beyond the political and legal aspects of irregular situations, we must never lose sight of the human face of migration and the fact that, across the geographical divisions of borders, we are part of a single human family.

Panamá, Octubre 7, 2022